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Old 12-20-2014, 12:53 PM   #1
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Finding that PERFECT LANE for Traveling...

One last thread to make all of us THINK. This could be automatic for long term trailer owners, but we always have new trailer owners that might get something out of your post(s).

There are many reasons to travel in a preferred traffic lane on a multiple lane Highway. Some make sense and there is logic behind the choice. Some choices are bad habits from traveling without a trailer in tow. Lets hope that with some discussion we all are given options that might be practical and some options that are not and are dangerous to you and the traffic that should have the right of way.

This is for Four Lane or wider highways. The two lane State Highways are unique in their own way.

For State Highway, two lanes, my suggestion is to travel at the speed limit when you have NO traffic behind you, maybe 5mph below the 65 to 70mph speed limit rated stretches. When traffic is backing up behind you, on a straight away with passing, slow down and let people pass you. Most vehicles drive 5mph or more over the speed limit in rural parts of the road. If the line is... severe... find a truck pull off or a Historic Marker pull out and let them pass. Everyone will be happy and content. I am sure there are other comments that will also be well meant coming...

City two lane in one direction I prefer to be in the left, inside so called passing lane. Traffic can be jammed, so you are not holding up traffic but blocking the view of those behind you. Just leave space in front of you for those wanting to gain that extra position behind the 18 wheeler in front of you. WHY? Because there is nothing worse than traffic coming down the ramp after a red light wanting to merge... seeing you and ALL want to get in front of YOU, even if you are traveling at the speed everyone else is. They are mobile and you are NOT. You might get some drivers who resent your presence on the Highway no matter what you do... but in congested City two lanes... I like the inside lane to prevent being forced to apply the brakes hard to avoid a broadside collision. Any other options?

City three or more lanes. Again the lane in the MIDDLE works the best for me with three lanes or more. Five lanes and I am just heading out of town... the middle until you find the need to move over for an exit or reduction in lanes. My entire strategy is:

1- To prevent traffic from forcing me to apply the brakes hard or move to avoid their cutting in front of you and then needing to slow down 50% of their speed to avoid rear ending the traffic in front of YOU.

2- Steady flow with five car lengths or so creates a safe zone for you. Your stopping distance is much more than you think. After years of navigating through traffic... you will automatically see where you are best. Just avoid those lanes intended for "passing lanes" when another is better. A trailer in tow going the speed limit or ten miles over the speed limit... is seen as an obstacle to many drivers, if not all.

3- My worst hour of beginning and ending a trip is getting the last 50 miles through the City traffic. Absolutely the worst. It is unpredictable and if you are to have an accident, it was not on the gravel road in the mountains... but on the wide City Traffic JAM. We will time our exit out of the City traffic BEFORE RUSH "HOUR" or arrive AFTER. But sometimes you have arrived and must understand how to navigate those who think you are a BIG road block at no matter what speed you are traveling OR how slow traffic is moving.

I am excellent at rural driving. BUT... City wide freeways, traffic entering on your left and sometimes right side... can create some nasty decision making events. Your first responsibility is yourself and family. THEN the traffic behind and in front of you.

Please... add to this Thread. I cannot imagine Los Angeles. Chicago. Although... Las Vegas... down the Las Vegas Strip... is not so bad.
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:14 PM   #2
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Finding that PERFECT LANE for Traveling...

When traveling thru Denver, CO, I prefer the right hand lane. Since the majority of the exits are off to the right. ie I-76 heading west. When in the right hand lane. The only traffic I need to be concerned about is the on merging cars and trucks. It can be tricky at times, since most drivers today don't understand the concept of yielding. I rarely find myself using the brakes, since my Tundra has the "S" mode. I can shift down and up as necessary when in traffic. Especially when in the Tow/Haul mode.
When on the interstates. The right hand lane is my preference as well. Since I do not drive much over 60mph under any circumstances.
It is on rare occasion that my passing another vehicle is necessary.
When in the right lane, I only have the traffic ahead, behind and to the left to be aware of. When in the center or left lanes. There is always someone passing you on the right.
I have driven thru many large cities. This method has always worked for me. You are at a great advantage if you know where you are and where you are headed. The GPS systems today are a great help when navigating thru crowded areas.
In many states, Colorado being one. It is against the law to drive in the left lane on interstates with 2 lanes in each direction.
I am always aware of the traffic behind and do my best to allow them to pass safely. Colorado has the 5 car rule and I do my best to accommodate. Other states are similar, I am sure.
Having been trained as a professional truck driver back in the early 60's. I have never forgotten what I learned. Driving the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming with a big rig thru all 4 seasons can teach you a lot.
Travel Safe.
It is always better to arrive late than not to arrive at all.


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Old 12-20-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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I generally stick to a middle lane when going through cities. The "politician's lane" we used to call it in days when CB's were popular! I guess because from it, you can swing either way as appropriate!

At one time, i used to stick with the slow lane when towing, but find that a bit of a pain with all the people merging on - many seeming to have no clue as to the proper way to merge!

I really do find that a GPS is a Godsend when going through major cities that I don't know that well - helps me to change lanes in a timely manner to line up on the proper side of the road when my exit is coming up! Not always on the right side of the road!


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Old 12-20-2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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It does seem that lately the laws have been changed without my knowledge since the majority of drivers entering an interstate seem to think they have the right of way. Put on the left blinker, don't bother to look, speed up, or slow down, just turn in when the merge lane ends.

Al
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
It does seem that lately the laws have been changed without my knowledge since the majority of drivers entering an interstate seem to think they have the right of way. Put on the left blinker, don't bother to look, speed up, or slow down, just turn in when the merge lane ends.

Al
Yes, they get angry if YOU don't adjust your speed to make a spot for them, and then have the nerve to give you the middle finger salute.

I thought it was just me.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:49 PM   #6
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Yes, they get angry if YOU don't adjust your speed to make a spot for them, and then have the nerve to give you the middle finger salute.

I thought it was just me.
I don't mind at all if they speed up in the merging lane and get ahead of me, or if they opt to slow down and fall in behind me, but there seem to be so many people who just get into the merge lane then pace you MPH for MPH along the road until they run out of space - I always wonder what the "H" goes on in their minds!

Maybe it is just that they are on the phone! Being a motorcyclist, I suppose i am a bit more sensitive to people talking on the phone while driving and taking my life into their hands! And I don't think hands free phones are any better! (rant off!)


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Old 12-20-2014, 07:24 PM   #7
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Hi, the best lane is the one that trucks use. The right lane has too many people entering and exiting that causes you to speed up, slow down, or slam on your brakes. I don't do either of those; I maintain my speed and position and let them try to figure it out. When the trucks shift to the left, I do too. It usually means that either the right lane ends soon, or becomes a "Shanghai Lane" meaning it becomes an exit only lane.
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:52 PM   #8
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I ride right lane, i tuck behind trucks on long drive like thru PA. I pass going uphills, never downhill. In get really mad when people merge in without so much as a glance or slow down. Apparently that is my job now. I find most trucks pretty respectful and I trust their judgements when they start shifting lanes. I do not have cb equipment. I pull about 20k a Season and when I go thru Chicago I know once I get off the Skyway, I just have to get over one lane and I'm good to go all the way to Milwaukee. I have missed Rt 80 east where it goes into IN, and have found myself going to MI, but I never panic, just keep going until I can right myself and get back on route.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:40 PM   #9
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Aside from adapting to the current traffic situation, whatever the volume, one thing I always try to do on a multi-lane highway is put space between me and the vehicles around me. In heavy traffic this is more difficult, up to impossible to do. But I am always thinking about it.

If there is a gap in front of me and a herd of cars coming up, I will ease on some throttle to stay ahead for awhile. Once they catch me I will ease of a little to let them pass. I avoid the herds. I don't like vehicles lingering beside me and I always stay ahead of or behind another drivers blind spot when I can.

Steve
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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Hi, the best lane is the one that trucks use. The right lane has too many people entering and exiting that causes you to speed up, slow down, or slam on your brakes. I don't do either of those; I maintain my speed and position and let them try to figure it out. When the trucks shift to the left, I do too. It usually means that either the right lane ends soon, or becomes a "Shanghai Lane" meaning it becomes an exit only lane.
Agree! Follow the trucks...they know the nuances of travel thru the various cities and congested byways.

One post suggested speeds at which I am personally uncomfortable. We usually travel at 62 max. Anti-sway hitch is essential to avoid complications from evasive maneuvers.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Zigi
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:03 PM   #11
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Left Lane Club!

I am an official member of the "left lane club!" I like to be out front. There's an old saying, that if your back in the pack, the scenery never changes! I just can't bring myself to look at tailights, I like to show em mine as I go by. I would like to wish everyone a Merry CHRIST'mas and a prosperous New Year!
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
It does seem that lately the laws have been changed without my knowledge since the majority of drivers entering an interstate seem to think they have the right of way. Put on the left blinker, don't bother to look, speed up, or slow down, just turn in when the merge lane ends.

Al
Yep.... ran one onto the rumble strip the other day. She looked surprised.
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #13
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As a retired professional long haul driver I stay in the right or "granny" lane as much as possible then if I need to get off for any reason I can do so without whipping across several lanes of traffic to grab my exit. And you almost always can find an out if something happens in the other lanes.
I spent 35 accident free miles hauling vans and tankers and I was still nervous when I first started pulling my AS.
Its not how fast you can go but how safe you can stop that counts.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:41 PM   #14
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I trust the Duke was being facetious...cause there is no excuse for a TV pulling a trailer staying in the left lane. Despite these comments just reflecting their owner's own preferences...it all boils down to using common sense and adjusting to current traffic conditions....personal preferences aside. Common sense and caution should rule the day. Merry Christmas, and a SAFE 2015. jon
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