The Long Island Expressway at dusk.

The Long Island Expressway at dusk. Credit: David Pokress

Commentary from Newsday reader and Long Island resident Eileen Dengler:

I have time to write this since I'm behind a slow driver in the left lane. Don't worry, I'm not texting. I'm jotting this down on the back of an old speeding ticket.

Don't you just love that quaint expression, "Sunday driver"? Out for a leisurely drive, enjoying the ride, the scenery, the company. I have nothing against Sunday drivers except on the other six days of the week they take to the road -- in my lane. There's life in the fast lane and life in the slow lane. Choose the appropriate lane.

I know when I learned to drive, the rule was: Left lane for passing. Not: Left lane for sightseeing. Nor: Stay in left lane to maintain an open road in front of you. If you glance in the rear view mirror once in a while you'll see the pileup of cars behind you. And those flashing high beams? Just a way of tapping you on the shoulder to say, "Excuse me, can I get by?"

Some will say that going the speed limit in the left lane is appropriate. To that, I say, move over! There are two other lanes for obeying the speed limit.

I wonder how many car accidents are caused by slow drivers in the left lane. Confident drivers, and, yes, pseudo racecar drivers, suffer extreme frustration behind a slowpoke. Evasive maneuvers have to be tried to keep traffic moving. And did you ever notice that the slow driver in the left lane often keeps the same pace as the car in the middle lane, or even slower! Do we really need a pace car in the passing lane?

I conducted an experiment one evening. I wanted to see what it was like to drive below the speed limit in the right lane. The road had average traffic in the other two lanes, but not moving fast. Would you believe that as I drove in the right lane, I was passing everyone in the middle and fast lanes? It was even relaxing in the right lane. All my slow buddies were in the left lane, waiting for me to descend upon them. Surprise! I had the right lane all to myself.

So here's what you should do. Think twice before you get into the left lane. Ask yourself: Am I up to the adrenaline and gas-pedal rush? Do I really need to be there? If you must venture into the left lane, accelerate, pass, then MOVE OVER. Get back into the middle lane so others can go on their merry, faster way.

Oh no! They're moving over into the HOV lane. Warn the others!


Reader Eileen Dengler lives in Westbury.

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