What happened to staying in the right lane except when passing?

| October 04, 2013

Thom Jansen of Warren, Mich., wrote in with a question we thought you might well be able to answer. 

My Father was a Truck Driver and an avid reader of Overdrive for most of his life, and as anyone who has a truck driver for a dad knows, my driving habits were constantly scrutinized when we were in the car together.

Which brings me to my question. My Dad would always preach about staying right, except when passing. Why is it that the current breed of truckers does not abide by that credo? Has something changed, or are they just not as “professional” as they once were, possibly due to the job market and the influx of individuals that have migrated to truck driving because they couldn’t find anything else.

Very often I see these so-called truckers driving down the middle lane of the highway for miles and miles even though traffic is very light. And during rush hour it’s aggravating to find them clogging up the middle lane, which results in other drivers passing them on both the right and left side. Whenever I see them in the middle lane, I usually think they are not real truck drivers, because I often see the real truck drivers staying to the right, except when passing.

 How about it, drivers? 

  • guest

    They stay out in that 2nd lane to avoid the traffic getting on and off the freeway…it is rather dangerous in the right lane in crowded traffic and the driver has 100’s of miles to go..it appears he is clogging up the second lane when he could be in the far right..but it is fairly dangerous dodging all those cars who are trying to get ON the freeway..THEY appreciate the fact that he is NOT in the slow lane..in THEIR way…hard to please everyone with a Huge Rig..you are bound to be in someones way sometime.

  • AngryTrucker

    It also gives you two lanes of escape when someone does something stupid…

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  • jon

    original design of the interstate system required though traffic to actually be in the far LEFT lane and not in the right lane. Cross town traffic in the middle and local on/off traffic in the far right. You are supposed to PREVENT mixing of types of traffic, not force it. Something a lot of people don’t get.

  • mousekiller

    Yes Thom things have changed. it is not all the truckers that has changed. The change is faster , smaller cars. Less driving skill is the norm for drivers of all vehicles. not having to take responsibility for actions. Traffic is heavier and less controlled tempers. I for one if on a at least a 3 lane will not drive in the right lane if in town or near several exits. Far too may idiots will cut in front to take an exit because they cannot follow a truck for 500 feet before they exit. Merging in another story. Few drivers of all vehicles know how to merge. They bull their way into traffic instead of merging. properly. Seldom use turn signals and if you don’t move over they think your the bad guy. I try to avoid these types of drivers as much as I can. That is the basic reasons I do not stay in the right lane unless the law states otherwise.

  • Brad Lambert

    I could understand your complaint when the traffic is very light and a truck is in the middle and/or fast lane. During rush hour I will stand up for the truck driver we get out there to get out of the way of all the vehicles getting on and off the highway. To say you have a father that was a truck driver is not good enough, you have to spend three weeks in the seat of a truck driver and you will understand.

  • Thomas J. Vosdoganes

    Personally I think staying in the right lane except to pass is foolish. If someone is coming up behind me then I move right to allow the pass. but just normal driving I stay center or left. It allows me better visibility and viewing distance during the day, and I can use the truck next to me for better lighting at night. After dealing with the right lane laws and short on/off ramps in California.. I won’t go back. In Arizona we have no right lane laws and 75mph speed limits. Driving here is much better and safer.

  • TWade

    I run the speed limit and use the lane that is the safest at the time. I apologize to the drivers that speed, tailgate, and weave in and out of traffic without the common sense to know that they have gained nothing.

  • Trick1

    That went out when everyone stopped reading signs, might as well put them in braille.

  • Wheelman66

    Hey, leave them alone. Its safer that way. They can’t run us off the road or side swipe us and “oh I forgot they can’t use those two shiney things on the left and right”, MIRRORS, give them a break.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    Maybe Mr. Jansen is exceeding the posted limit more than he cares to admit, and is unhappy that others obeying the law and operating their vehicle in a safe manner are in *his* way.

  • john

    Often times, I use the middle or 2nd from right lane, sometimes the 3rd from right lane. And I run at the speed limit or a little above. But if I see another truck coming up behind me, I will move over. But it’s mainly so everybody don’t have to listen to that driver whine and cry on the CB for the next 30 minutes, cause he “got stuck behind that slowa$$ driver.”

  • RA

    Personally, I don’t have an issue with a Truck Driver running the middle lane during heavy traffic (makes sense to try and stay out of everyone’s way if possible), but when traffic is light and there’s nothing but open road ahead of these guys and they still just sit in the middle lane, it’s ridiculous! There needs to be more driver education, with regards to those of us in cars, but Truck Drivers shouldn’t excuse stupid behavior by blaming it on everyone else… Slow Traffic Keeps Right, that’s how it’s always been and that’s how it should be.

    Remaining in the middle lane might appear safer, but think of the congestion in traffic you leave in the wake… Those trying to maintain their speeds and keep up with traffic flow are greatly hindered when a slowa$$ truck hogs up the middle lane. In turn, that traffic continues to build and those driver become more anxious. Every action has a reaction, including inconsiderate driving because “you” feel safer. Make the roads safe for everyone, stay the he!! over to the right and let traffic “flow” safely to their destination!

  • concerned

    Not really. If a trucker has to move in any directions from the middle lane, they will collide with a much smaller vehicle. Never mind you have the safety of the shoulder if in the right lane. Also, the truckers I’ve seen are in the middle lane with no other traffic in the right lane or entry ramps. Thus, slowing traffic down. Its dangerous and many accidents here have contribute to fatal accident because of it.

  • Crane 2005

    Truckers need to stay to the right lane and only use the second lane to pass. It is not helpful when they move out of the right lane to allow a car to merge onto the freeway. That car need to speed up or slow down to match the speed of the freeway. If the trucker moved over into the second lane they are causing traffic issues for those that are already on the freeway. During commuting get hrs it gets even worse for those trying to commute. We now have to contend with truckers staying in the second lane slowing traffic down. Bottom line is stay in the slow lane.

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