And now for something completely different…

I know the idea of me ranting will come as a shock to most of you.  My mild reactions to politics are well known, and now those same dulcet tones will be used to discuss other drivers.  This is actually a North American driver complaint of mine that has been given a new life by riding in Europe.

A highway has a number of lanes going in the same direction.  These lanes are numbered starting from the outside lane, and as the numbers increase, so does the expected speed of travel.  The inner lane is the fast/passing lane.  Many NA drivers don’t seem to understand this rather simple concept.  I can’t remember how many times I would be riding down the highway, doing perhaps 110-120% of the speed limit, when a mass of slow moving traffic that seemed to exist for no reason at all would appear.  The reason usually became obvious fairly quickly.  Someone moving about as fast as the star of Boxing Helena had parked themselves in the fast lane, effectively blocked traffic by driving in pace with the slower lane traffic.  WTF are you doing you mush brained idiot?!  It’s not going to slow you down to drive in an outside lane and, really, how tough is it to pass the occasional semi or caravan that you encounter? 

Why has this annoyance been given new life?  Simple- this doesn’t happen in Europe.  I’ve been down some crowded M roads in the UK as well as the fast EU highways and it really doesn’t happen.  The Belgians and Dutch are the best at it- popping out to pass and then popping back in line.  No matter how busy the road is, it doesn’t turn into a series of traffic blobs.  The traffic is spread out and flows as fast as it can.  It’s fantastic to see in action and it encourages you to also be a considerate driver/rider- you don’t want to be the person who mucks it up.  It’s not a cure-all for road rage, but I know that my CPM (curses per minute) is lower in European traffic than in the lighter NA traffic.

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