Traffic Courtesies that aren't Laws

While driving to an event this weekend, we had to merge onto a heavily-trafficked highway, and one car stayed in the right lane the entire time. My husband grumbled about “What kind of asshole stays in the right lane when he doesn’t need to merge, knowing how many people do need to merge?”

It’s entirely legal to stay in the right lane, though, just an ass move. Which makes me wonder what other driving practices are legal but discourteous. What do you all think? I want to make sure I’m not accidentally being the asshole!

I try to keep to the rightmost lane once I hit a light unless I am about to turn left, even if there are 3 lanes, because my Prius gets much better mileage if I don’t accelerate fast off the green. I always wonder if I am breaking a different courtesy by obstructing the right lane for people to turn right on red. However, that’s better than being in the left lane, or even in the middle lane when I am next to someone in the left lane who also is accelerating slowly.

The left lane is for passing. Staying in the left lane is an ass move.

To answer the OP, I think that if there is hardly any traffic near you then indeed it is discourteous to not move over to the left. If traffic is so heavy that cars are likely to start to pass you before you have a chance to move back to the right, that’s a different story, in which case I’d say it’s a judgement call. Whichever seems safer is probably best IMO. If no one else is on the highway then it is safer to be in the left hand lane at the merge point.

There’s a place with a light at the top of a hill, and during rush hour cars are slowly crawling up said hill. About a third of the way up, a road ends at this first road with a stop sign, with another line of traffic merging in to go up that same hill. There is no stop sign on the main road, so the traffic there is under no obligation to let anyone in. But the unspoken rule is that each car on the main road lets one car at the stop sign go.

Whenever some jackass on the main road won’t let a stopped car in, I’m incensed. Even though that jackass isn’t actually doing anything wrong.

There’s nothing an “ass move” about camping out in the right lane. If you’re going slower than the rest of traffic, you damned well better be in the rightmost lane! Camping out in the leftmost lane and not allowing cars to pass you is a bit of a dick move. Central lanes kind of anything goes, but should be moving faster than the rightmost lane.

What annoys the crap out of me is people passing me on my right. This may be because in other parts of the world where I’ve driven, it is considered almost unthinkable to do such a thing (or passing on the left in left-hand traffic countries). When I’m driving in the left lane, I’m passing the cars on the right or central lane. Suddenly, I see some guy shooting up my ass about 20 mph faster than me so, of course, my intention is to signal, get into the lane to the right of me, and let him on his merry way. As I’m about to do that, speeding guy himself gears up to turning into the space I intend to turn into and this briefly creates an ambiguous situation of who is going to yield to whom. This annoys the crap out of me.

In Germany, Austria, and Hungary, the “up the ass” car would remain in the leftmost lane, usually flashing their high beams signalling their request for you to move out of the way. (In the US, this type of high beam signalling is considered extremely aggressive, though. I didn’t get the sense it carried more than an “excuse me, I would like to get by” connotation on the Continent.) I rarely, if ever, remember the impatient car deciding “ah, fuck it, I’ll pass on the right.”

Now, I guess that lane culture doesn’t really exist here in the US, so I can’t get too aggravated about it, but it still does peeve me.

As for traffic courtesies, I sometimes feel I’m the only person left in the city who actually waves “thank you” every time someone lets me into their lane. As a matter of course, I’m very courteous and generous about allowing cars into my lane, but it strikes me that maybe 1 in 30 cars will give me the courteous wave. It’s not something I get irritated about, it’s just something I noticed. I seem to remember it being far more common when I was learning to drive about 25 years ago.

Funny, my husband annoys me because he won’t do this. He’ll stay in the left lane and get up really close to the car in front of him in hopes that the car will get the hint and move over a lane. It’s obnoxious for the person in the passenger seat (me), because it’ll be this series of accelerating and braking so that he’s absolutely up on their ass, but he will not go to the right to pass them. When it’s clear that the car isn’t moving over to the right, I’ll say “Just pass him on the right” but he’d prefer to just keep riding the guy’s ass.

But how else will they ever learn? :slight_smile:

I’m slower to move over for people who get really up close to my car because they tend to be the same type of people who suddenly swerve over to pass me on the right. For cars that are following at a normal distance, when I’ve completed my overtaking maneuver, I signal at the same time as I double check my right hand lane and then move over. For cars that are tailgating me, I signal, then pause a beat before checking my right lane to avoid us both trying to move into the right hand lane at the same time. Even then it still happens frequently which is pretty mind-blowing and dangerous: what kind of person sees another car put on its turn signal and then swerves into the right hand lane to pass anyway? If they’re within a car length I sometimes don’t move over at all to avoid such a situation.

OK, in this case, your husband is correct in theory. (Though I personally will not tailgate to get the person to change lanes and, eventually, I will just pass on the right because people don’t give a shit here, though I think they should and it would be much nicer and more predictable is everybody just made it a rule not to pass on the right in open traffic and, if you’re in the left lane, let the guy behind you pass by changing lanes.)

Sorry. Somehow I missed this. Yes, exactly this.

We’ve done merging many a time. I see no reason why the fact that merge is required ahead imposes any obligation to merge NOW.

And I don’t see passing on the right as that big of a deal. People (including myself) speed on just about every road. If I am not the fastest thing on the road, I see my options as either moving to the right, or not minding that people pass on my right.

One courtesy I perceive concerns adjusting speed when merging onto a busy road/highway. The driver ON the busy road should be aware of potential mergers, and either move to the left, or speed up/slow down to allow the merger in. The merger should (generally) get up to speed sufficiently to fit into whatever hole is available.

One courtesy I despise is extending courtesy to someone entering a street from a parking lot or something, in a manner that inconveniences the driver behind. And don’t get me started on drivers sticking their nose out, blocking through traffic, before they are able to complete their maneuver.

There was a study on this recently that I read in the paper that indicated that early merging was actually a net negative on traffic flow. If you use both available lanes until the point of the merge you optimize use of the road.

My first thought was “the asshole driving at a slower rate than traffic leaving the other lanes clear for those of us who want to speed at one level or another” but I could be thinking of a different asshole than you saw. :wink:

The one I hate is the person in one of the left lanes, or only left lane, going at or below the speed limit. That one really needs to be against the law along with people who don’t acknowledge my courtesy in allowing them space to merge or enter traffic when I make a purposeful move to their benefit. Forget tickets; those people should do prison time.

Maybe this is just me, but I fucking hate being waved through a stop sign, when the other person clearly has the right of way. If you have the right of way, JUST GO. You waving me through causes everyone to wait longer, because I’m probably not seeing you waving for a few seconds, then there’s almost always that stupid dance of “start rolling, then the other car starts rolling so I stop, but they saw me rolling so they stop, repeat.” I know you’re trying to be nice, but seriously, JUST. FUCKING. GO.

It’s not just you. That’s being unpredictable and dangerous. Other people are expecting for you to remain stopped.

Welcome to New England, where they do this at signal controlled intersections also. If you are waiting to turn left on a green light, oncoming traffic will stop on green and wave you through.

There’s a spot in my city somewhat similar to this. A relatively major street crosses the river, and a crossing street has a merge ramp onto it. When traffic is not overly busy, the merging traffic yields to the through traffic. However, when traffic is heavy it is expected that they will alternate.

Another example of a traffic courtesy that isn’t a law is leaving a gap when stopped at a red light to allow oncoming traffic to turn left into a parking lot when you know there is frequently traffic that would like to make that turn.

I really feel like at some point, “slower traffic keep right” doesn’t apply, and that point is pretty much whenever the speed limit is 40 mph or under. When I am driving on busy surface streets, I am going to get into the lane I will be turning out of as soon as I can do so without disrupting traffic, because if I wait until I am less than a block away I am likely to have to change my speed in my current lane to duck across two lanes of traffic. This slows down traffic for everyone and is dangerous. Now, in that left hand lane I am going the speed limit or slightly above, but I am not going to worry that I need to be outpacing the center lane the way I would on a highway.

Do y’all really think that “slower traffic must keep left” applies to busy surface streets?

A Pittsburgh left seems a dick move, but it’s illegal in Pennsylvania …

The thing that gets me dragging my fingernails over a chalkboard is people who sit still in a left turn lane waiting for traffic to clear … because if traffic doesn’t clear, everybody has to sit for God knows how many light cycles … just stupidity …

The technique is to pull forward some into the intersection and wait … when the light turns red for the oncoming traffic, you’ll have the right to finish your left turn … sometimes a couple of cars can creep out into the intersection …

Phaw … two rights don’t make a wrong but three rights can make a left …