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2010.09.17

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DaveJ

Great post. I think I have two more, but say so if you think they are covered by your other categories:

- The Nervous Passer. This happens a lot on I-70 in the mountains, but I've seen it elsewhere. A fearful driver pulls up behind a truck that is going up a hill at 30MPH and realizes that passing is necessary. After getting in the left lane, this driver realizes he/she is nervous about passing a huge truck on a hill and/or curve, so hangs back just behind the truck until it's "safe" (which is pretty much exactly when the truck can speed up, and therefore passing fails). This creates what I call a "clustertruck," or a backup behind a truck that is NOT REALLY CAUSED BY THE TRUCK, IT'S CAUSED BY THE BAD DRIVER(S) IN THE LEFT LANE.

- The Bluehead. This may be a special case of the Sacrificial. Basically, old people like to drive in the left lane because there is less activity - no merging traffic, etc. They probably don't do it maliciously, as does the Sacrificial - they really shouldn't be on the road in the first place, because if the only safe lane for you is the left lane, somebody else should be driving.

It also might make sense to add "The Subaru." I'm pretty sure they incorporate each of your five categories, plus both of mine.

By the way, I think there are other bad geographies with respect to this issue, but the BEST place I've noticed is on I-80/90 in northern Michigan. Everybody seems to know the rule and follow it.

Yancy

Dave, good comment! I think we can create another set of categories for winter mountain driving.

Todd, this has to be one of your best post. The categories are spot on!

-y

Will Herman

Todd,

Great post. I can't say that CO drivers are any worse than anywhere else. Living in MA, we see people following your categorization all the time, but at least most people are obnoxiously aggressive, too.

Here in MA there are, of course, loads of Distracted Drivers (mostly driving Subarus and clearly waving their hands actively telling a story to either the passenger or the baby in the car seat in the back of the car). These people drive me totally nuts. They are so distracted, they never see my headlights flashing 400 times behind them. I'm thinking "distracted" is too nice a word for these people, but this is a family-oriented blog . . .

Sanctimonious drivers bother me the most, but I run across them rarely. I encounter Sacrificial drivers much more frequently. These are people that don't understand the fundamentals of driving at speed and, to me, are actually the scariest. Because they are going slightly faster than the rest of the traffic, they think they're in the right to stay left. As such, they stay there for a very long time. They're almost impossible to pass in even moderate traffic too. The thing that makes them extraordinarily dangerous is that they ALWAYS (let me make that clear . . . ALWAYS) speed up as you try to pass them.

I'm pretty sure that same person lives in CO and MA.

Zachary

I once had a 2 month gig in Boston, and I was worried about driving there because I had heard so many horror stories. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. Folks are a little aggressive out there, and they're a little loose about staying in between the lines. But they aren't sanctimonious and nobody's out to teach you a lesson like they are in Colorado (e.g. "you should have gotten into that lane 2 miles ago if you wanted to exit and it's too late for you now, sucker!").

Drivers are so forgiving in Boston. They'll let you on the highway, off the highway, onto that crowded rotary. It's all good. But God help you if you park your slow ass in the left lane because they will get up on your rear end, honking and flashing their brights, until you get it and pull over with your tail between your legs. It doesn't matter if the right lane is clear for the blocked driver to pass -- it's apparently worth the effort. I saw it several times. And the result is wonderful, the left lane hugger is a pretty rare occurrence there from what I saw.

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