Maintaining speed on the highway is a lost art

I have about a 50 mile commute to work. It’s about 90% 2-lane highway, and since most people are heading west when I head east, there’s hardly ever traffic.

What I like to do is stay in the right lane and set my cruise control to 65 (I have a digital speedometer, so getting the speed perfect is easy).

No matter what, every damn day, someone thwarts my attempt to just cruise. Like today. I caught up to someone who slowly dropped down to 55. No problem, I matched speed. Then, for no reason, they sped way up. Also no problem. I just went back to 65 and cruised.

Not 10 miles later I catch up again, and the process repeats. Eventually, I passed them, got some distance, then went back to 65. So what happens after a few miles? The idiot is on my bumper.

The above is a bit extreme, but it really does seem odd how people will regularly speed up, then slow down (often below 65) then speed up again.

Damn it, all I want is to stay at 65 in the right lane and get good fuel economy.

This is one of my more lame rants, but it really does get annoying!

I always wonder about the person approaching faster than me so I move over into the right lane. Eventually they catch up to me and decide to slow down and match my speed just to the left of me blocking me in as I catch up to the people in the right lane.

I feel your pain, both of you. I try to find shortcuts and less frequently used routes in town. On the intercourse I try to stay just a bit over the limit so I can get by all the “legal” types and have a clear road ahead. But the bunching up factor always has me catching up to clumps that have to be overtaken, so it’s a no-win world for me.

Cell phones! It’s usually someone talking or typing on a cell phone when I experience this. I noticed it more when I’m on the motorcyle, but I see it often enough, too, when I’m taking a long road truck in my pickup.

Bumper sticker:

I use cruise control
So it must be you

This is an everyday occurrence: I’m slowly gaining on someone in the right lane. Someone in the left lane is gaining on me, doing perhaps 5 mph faster than I’m driving. I let him pass, then change lanes so that I can get around the car ahead of me. Left-lane driver comes abeam of the car I’m trying to pass and then slows down next to it. :smack: Yesterday someone reduced his speed by 10 mph after I’d changed lanes, and crept slowly past the semi I was trying to pass. When he finally got around, he resumed his present speed and I was able to turn the cruise control back on.

People: If you’re going to pass, pass! Also, if people are passing you on the right, you’re in the wrong lane.


Agree with all the above!

I really hate being on my motorcycle and trying to pass a semi and the car in front won’t get the hell out of the way.

Ever see a semi blow a tire? It happens. Frequently (judging by all the pieces of tire on the side of the road). So when I pass a semi, I like to get it over with, not stuck feet from the tire’s sidewall waiting for the idiot in front to pass!

How oftentimes I struggle to merge over to the right lane, but can’t because of all the speeders passing me in it!

I set my cruise control to 55 where the speed limit is 55, and stay all the way to the right, and, as long as there isn’t a general traffic jam, I experience no traffic problems at all that way. It works really well.

I travel quite a bit and have to use rental cars. Once I was given a car with no cruise control and it happened to be a very windy day. I’m on I-10 and I swear one minute I’m going 60, the next 85. I told the car rental company, “Never again.”

Could be hills, as well. Some hills are not very discernable to the eye. I don’t have cruise control. There is a stretch of highway on my commute that looks flat, but isn’t. I have to pay attention, or my speed will drop off.

The speedsters are in the right lane because people in the left lane are driving 55! :stuck_out_tongue:

In California, I’d just go between them. Sadly, lane splitting isn’t allowed up here. :frowning:

That’s nice, but we’re talking about driving here…

How do you get in the left lane in the first place?

There’s driving, and there’s ‘driving’. :wink:

The mystery remains as to why so many drivers attempt to use other vehicles in lieu of cruise control.

Often while you’re doing the speed limit in a non-passing lane, someone will follow too closely behind you for miles, even when there’s ample room to pass. If you speed up, so will they. Try gradually slowing down to encourage them to pass, and you can find yourself doing 50 in a 65 mph zone before the neural synapse connections are made behind you and the other driver belatedly realizes “Hey, he’s going really slow. Better pass!”. :dubious:

I used to drive a stick shift with no cruise control. I found that I had to pay a lot more attention to what I was doing or I’d start to be influenced by traffic around me. If there was no traffic (not an uncommon occurrence on I-25 in southern New Mexico, where sometimes you can’t see another car in either direction) I often found myself slowing down by unconsciously easing off the gas.

Now I have an automatic with cruise and the only time I don’t use cruise is in heavy traffic like rush hour or when there’s so much traffic at different speeds on the interstate that it’s easier to just not use cruise for a while until it thins out.

I run into this crap all the time.

On a positive note, the WA state patrol is running adds telling people that if they are camped out in the left lane they are impeding traffic and breaking the law.

I really wish more States would educate the public on this!

I really think a lot of people just don’t know that if you’re in the left lane, you ought to be passing. If you’re not passing, then you ought to be in the right lane.

I was on the 10, stuck behind some hosehead driving 45 mph. Just before we reached the 405, a CHP pulled him over. The guy was obviously impeding traffic. This is the only time I’ve seen someone pulled over for driving too slow.

This got me thinking. State Police in NH tend only to sit on the side of the road as speed traps.

It would be much more beneficial to the public if they actually drove with the traffic and started handing out tickets for things other than speeding. Such as tailgating, blocking the left lane, inappropriate cell phone use, obscenely loud motorcycles, etc.


Here in WA, the State Patrol drive in traffic. Unfortunately, unlike the CHP, they tend to drive the speed limit. Since they are renowned for handing out speeding tickets, drivers drive below the speed limit. So they’re actually slowing things down.

Johnny L. A.:

Hear, hear. I’m all for abolishing speed limits altogether.