Rant and Rave

Updated whenever Tom gets off his big wide duff.

Rant! Passing on the Right

RIGHT ON, TOM!!! No, wait. LEFT ON would be more appropriate. I couldn't agree with you more. Passing on the right is stupid, dangerous, and rude.


You know, you may be on to something. With the size of the Stupid Urban Vehicles today, passing on the top may not be so far off!


I have long had a great solution for the people who stick their noses out of their driveways or side roads to turn that also will work great for the right-side-passers. Get a polo mallet and a passenger and let your passenger dangle the polo mallet out the window. You need to give the offender only a slight tap on the left front panel to cure them of this unfortunate habit.


The quickest, simplest way to get rid of right-lane passing is to get rid of left-lane driving. There is hope: I predict this drive-on-the-left-pass-on-the-right thing will disappear within days after the world's atmosphere is depleted of oxygen. But for now, don't hold your breath.


If you're worried about having to watch one more side of your car while on the highway, and simply terrified of having someone pass you on the right, then maybe you shouldn't be driving.


One possible fix for this problem is to stop right passing and have minimum and maximum speeds for each lane. Of course, there are never enough cops around to enforce such limits and always someone who thinks their appointment is more important than anyone else's. In that case it has been suggested that fender-mounted bazookas be installed on cars of those, like myself, whose judgment is infallible.


I think a better alternative to allowing passing on the right would be strict enforcement of the "keep right" rule. In Europe the fines for cruising in the left lane, even when there is no other traffic, are very stiff. Some police cars in France (your favorite country) are equipped with flashing message boards that can be read in the rearview mirror and warn drivers: Serrez a Droit! (Keep to the Right!) If a driver ignores the warning for more than one or two seconds, he is pulled over and cited.


I was in Merry Olde England last week, where it is against the law to pass on the left. Since the English have everything backwards, they drive on the left side of the road, making passing on the left equivalent to our passing on the right. They call this "undertaking." Undertaking is a big faux pas, a definite no-no.


Pulling out to pass at the right is dangerous and stupid. Add to that the modern trend to pull up to a car's bumper before moving out to pass it, and the practice becomes lethal.


We ought to have a strong ban on passing on the right, since it can really destabilize the traffic flow -- and increases unpredictability, especially since so many drivers seem to have broken turn signals.


Return to Rant|More letters