Creating Problems

This little piece caught my eye the other day:

A miscreant driver is facing a £100 fine after he drove along the middle lane of a motorway for three miles unaware he was being tailed by a police car.
The driver was making his way along lane two of the M20 in Kent, refusing to pull into the nearside lane as the law requires.
When pulled over by police, the motorist refused to accept that he had done anything wrong.

Kent Police tweeted with the photo: ‘This driver was stopped having driven for a colossal 3.050 miles in Lane 2 of the M20 without any other vehicles about. The driver refused to accept that this was Careless Driving. TOR issued.’

The attitude of the Cunt Kent cops is the same one which sees traffic wardens clamping ambulances which have parked in a no-parking zone while collecting an injured patient.

Seriously:  if the freeway is devoid of cars (stop laughing, American Readers), what possible harm can come from someone not moving into the slow lane?  Clearly, the Cunt Kent police have solved all the major crimes in their county, which frees them up to do bullshit like this.

All that said, I should point out that in Texas, at least, such driving is not an offense.  Not only that, but you’re allowed to overtake slow middle-lane traffic on the right (what the Brits call “undertaking”), which is appallingly dangerous because you often find people turning into the center lane from both sides.  It’s a recipe for disaster, and as someone who drives well over 500 miles a week on freeways, I have to be on my guard pretty much all the time.  [5,000-word rant on asshole pickup truck drivers and unlicensed/uninsured Mexicans deleted]

I know why people stay in the center lane, by the way — at least, why they do in Texas:  it’s because the right-hand “slow” lane is frequently (and without much notice) turned into an “exit-only” lane, which means that you have to scramble over to the left to avoid being forced off the freeway.  It’s one of the several things the Euros and Brits do better than we do, traffically speaking:  a turn-only exit lane is always added  to the freeway, which means that the ongoing traffic is not constricted.

I’m not even going to get into the lunacy of making 25-yard-long freeway entrance ramps (which are the norm in Texas), whereby drivers have to accelerate like fucking Max Verstappen just to be able to merge into the traffic, only to be faced by asshole drivers (see above) who refuse to let you take “their” place in the lane, or who are too busy undertaking another car in the center lane to notice your arrival.

Take a look at this picture (downtown Dallas freeways) and imagine negotiating this nightmare:

There is at least one serious accident at this junction every single day in the morning rush hour, and again in the evening.  (It’s even worse  a half-mile north, where I-35 is joined by the cross-town expressway and the Dallas North Tollway traffic, and contains not only exit-only off-ramps but a left-hand split into the DFW Airport Freeway, where one might have to cross six lanes over in order to get to the airport.  And did I mention the current road construction sections?)

It says something that after two years driving, logging nearly a hundred thousand miles with Uber, the only accident I’ve had was a minor fender bender (paradoxically) in a parking lot, where I reversed out of a parking space into someone illegally parked on a red line.

The plain fact of the matter is that in Texas, we drive too fast and too recklessly for the amount of traffic on the roads, and we are not helped by idiotic highway design.  By comparison, the Brit police can only look with relief on “problems” such as caused by someone not driving in the correct lane on a deserted highway.

7 comments

  1. Hate to burst your bubble, Kim, but Texas ain’t got no speshul claim to traffic engineering stupidity, it’s rampant everywhere. There seems to be some hidden requirement that to design roadways and interchanges one must be a Romper Room dropout who (barely) operates with crayons.

    I’ve reached the conclusion that the pavement designated for turn lanes is 3-5X the cost of all other pavement because so little of it is ever used, frequently none at all. And, as for exits, a “certain state in the south” is littered with so-called “25 MPH” decreasing radius exits from 70 MPH highways; I’ve seen very few similar corners at places like Mid-Ohio, the Glen or Mosport (there was one – Cappy’s – at Marlboro, but that track went extinct over 40 years ago).

    1. I remember that track, Marlboro. We’d go and pay a farmer to park and watch the racing from his hill at the hairpin.
      One time I took a date whose brother was a big Corvette guy. She got a little bent out of shape when I pointed out to her that the Coopers were lapping with times comparable to the ‘Vettes. The biggest event in her brother’s life to that time was when the old Route 66 TV show came through Baltimore and he got to meet the stars.
      My late sister and BIL made working the SCCA races on the East Coast their lifetime hobby. My sister was head of timing and scoring for many years and the BIL was a steward and scrutineer. “Bring me the head off that MG. I want to test the combustion chambers for volume.”
      As a reward to the workers who don’t get paid and all expenses are on their own dime the sponsors typically hold a raffle at the national runoffs. One year the sibling and BIL won a free ride to Le Mans, tickets, airfare, lodging, and spending cash.
      When new we bought a 1991 Miata as a mid-life crisis car for my wife. I sold it in 2017 to a guy named Mike Collins (not the astronaut) who runs a stable of spec racing Miatas up at Summit in WV. If you have a valid racing license, you can rent one for a weekend of racing for $900.

      1. Marlboro was a true driver’s track; there were corners that – at the “proper speed” – had absolutely no good single line through them. Heel and Toe of The Boot was the worst, get either one right and the other was a mess (the two parts of Oak Tree at VIR are similar) and how one entered Cappy’s setup the exit – fast in, wide and slow out or the reverse, pick one, and don’t pick wrong or you’ll get passed. The hairpin was interesting – tight looked fast but as the pavement aged and the patches piled up wider and smoother paid off. When Summit Point opened it ended the local “racetrack drought;” just before I got out of east coast racing Summit lengthened the track, improving it quite a bit. We went up one day for some practice and discovered Roger Penske had rented it for the day; Mark Donahue was wringing out the Penske Ferrari before heading to the Daytona 24 hour. Pat Goodman let us play track workers so we could watch. IIRC the lap times Donahue ran that day held the track record until the track was lengthened.

        In the mid ’90s I ran into Bob Tullius at an air show in Titusville, FL with his restored P-51; he was still using the Group 44 logo and we wound up reminiscing about Marlboro.

  2. Another reason not to ride in the slow lane in the US is that the right-hand lane is typically beaten to death by the heavy trucks. If there is insufficient roadbed under the pavement to absorb the shock, the roadway will deteriorate rapidly.

  3. One thing that Texas does (or did) right is the turnaround off the Interstate.

    It was nice when I missed an exit (for many of the reasons you stated) and I could get off at the next exit and circle right around back on the Interstate without going through 2 traffic lights. I loved this when stationed in San Antonio back in the 80’s.

    I also loved the Frontage Roads. I can’t count the number of times I was able to pop off the interstate and zip past a tie up and then pop back on. I was always surprised that so many other drivers never seemed to catch on to this option.

    Unfortunately the only “foreign” traffic design feature that the local traffic “engineers” are looking to implement are traffic circles. You wankers can bugger off with them straight back to Euro land.

  4. So I was just driving the Taconic State Parkway in upstate New York and saw multiple instances of off- and on-ramps with no acceleration/deceleration lanes at all: you want to get onto the highway–where the speed limit is 55MPH–you make a right turn from a stop line. (see where NY-82 crosses the parkway in East Fishkill. Do switch to the street view.)

    And that’s not counting the many places where a two-lane local road intersects the highway at grade. Want to cross the highway? Wait for a gap in traffic. At least there are (usually) signs on the highway saying turning onto the side road is illegal. (an example is where county road 10 crosses the parkway in Ancram. I’d insert pictures if I knew how to on this blog.)

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