We would do well to avoid trips down I-5, especially near Seattle, where congestion reigns most hours of the day. One reason for freeway jams is the motorist who moves into the far left lane, then stays there, no matter how many other motorists line up behind the offender.
But it’s illegal to drive in the left lane in Washington state, unless one is passing another vehicle. But the law is rarely enforced.
Vox tells us why you should obey that law.
…It’s not that you’re never allowed in the left lane, just that you should only use it when necessary, for passing, then get back over.
That’s because even if you’re driving fast, there’s always someone going faster. If you promptly get back over after passing, that car will be able to pass you, allowing everyone on the road to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it’ll inevitably lead to buildups of traffic and likely raise the chance of accidents.
Common sense, of course. But who among us possesses the quality?
Oh, and freeways would be safer if police let speeders go and ticketed the plodders.
…research has generally shown that the strongest predictor of an accident isn’t speeding, but variance from the average speed of traffic — and a car going five miles per hour slower than the surrounding traffic has a greater chance of causing an accident than one going five miles per hour faster than it.
Better yet, let’s pool all the money we spend on our individual cars and invest in state-of-the-art rail systems. That would be real common sense.