I think a lot of people get confused about this, including myself because there’s a difference between how you should behave and what the law says. On some NY highways, there’s signs that specifically say “slower traffic keep right.” The definition of slower is vague–slower than other traffic or slower than the speed limit? I choose the former, but not everybody does. I don’t know of any true laws that govern this other than obeying that sign. Oh, and the speed limit. Always forget that one…
One of these days I’ll get in big trouble because of how fast I drive. I try very hard to not drive aggressively, though. If I come up on a pack of cars that’s simply going slow, it does nobody any good to tailgate the last guy. Sometimes I’ll get pushy if there’s a car “passing” another car at exactly the same speed.
Also, what should you do if you come upon someone in the left lane who’s going considerably slower than you? They may or may not change lanes as you approach. This is generally much worse than those in the right lane, since they’ll generally stay there except for unusual circumstances (i.e. they just entered the highway, they need to change lanes to get on another expressway or exit, they have to pass someone).
Given an open road and one car in the left lane, I will approach them until a few seconds before I need to start slowing down (slowing at a reasonable pace, not so close as to barely avoid colliding, silly) and turn on my right turn signal. If they don’t change lanes by this time, it’s a little better than 50% of the time they’ll stay there so I switch lanes and pass on the right. It’s really annoying because although I watch for non-obvious clues (glances to the rear-view mirror, partially changing lanes, etc.) I don’t have a surefire way to know if someone is going to switch lanes.
I’d recommend sticking to the right lane as much as possible. If you’re going to pass someone, try to spend less than 40 seconds in the passing lane–speed up a little if you have to. Of course, do the opposite if you’re not interested in your own safety and/or like to get people really mad. For some reason, it makes some people really happy to p*ss someone else off.
Oh yeah, and don’t do what this idiot did last night. I was behind him and he was going along at a good clip in the left lane, but his exit was coming up fast. He opted to turn on his signal and slow down until the traffic cleared on the right to make his exit. He eventually came to a complete stop, in a construction zone, at night, on a somewhat blind corner. I had to stop right behind him (completely) and just layed on my horn praying I wasn’t going to die via the truck barreling down at 65 mph, a thousand feet behind me. Fortunately the traffic cleared, he made his turn, and I gave my little Civic all it had to try to get back to speed.
I understand that he wanted to get off there and he just made a little error in judgement, but dammit!:
<center>Just go to the next exit!</center>
Thanks for letting me vent.