Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
“Camping” in the left lane
Our story “Troopers target left lane ‘campers’” featured news about a Washington State Patrol campaign to get slowpokes out of the “hammer lane,” by handing out stiff tickets for impeding traffic.
Law enforcement officer Will gave some pretty solid thinking on why poking away in the #1 lane is a bad idea. “In California, you MUST use pull outs (if they are available) if five or more vehicles are behind you on a two lane roadway, regardless of your speed. You can also be cited if you are driving at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
“The devil is in the details. Many people believe that if they are driving the speed limit, they can lead a long parade of cars, legally. Not so! ‘Normal and reasonable movement of traffic’ is the key phrase. If you are in the #1 (fast) lane on a four lane freeway and are doing 65 mph, and stacking up traffic, you can be cited. In my 29 years of law enforcement, this is probably the most misunderstood traffic law on the books.
“A good example is I-5 in Southern California. During off-hours the average speed on some stretches of this freeway is in excess of 80 mph, even though the speed limit is 65 mph. If you are leading a parade of angry drivers in the #1 lane at 65 mph, you could get a ticket. And not to point fingers, but some of you folks driving electric cars have a bad habit of reminding the rest of the motoring public of the legitimacy of your environmental activism by driving the speed limit in the #1 lane. You are not the speed limit police! Move over please!
“The best rule of thumb is to use the #1 (fast) lane for passing only. And on those two lane country roads, do yourself and everybody else a favor and use those turn outs!!”
Of course, there’s always the, “on the other hand.” In this case, reader Robert Steele makes the case. “Unfortunately there are far too many highways in this country where the right lane pavement is so broken up that it will beat you to death when towing. Usually the left lane is a little better. I have had to slow to 50 miles an hour in a 70 zone (also a bad idea for safety reasons) in order to mitigate this merciless pounding. For those situations I will move to the left lane as long as there is no one within a mile or so behind.”
And George adds his own meditations to the mix. “I agree, impeding traffic can cause irritation and accidents. I often travel on two lane highways and sooner or later I get a little import or underpowered American car behind me who can’t pass safely simply because he was too cheap to spend an extra $10 on a few more horsepower. At 57 feet long with my 5th wheel, how much responsibility do I owe to the guy/gal driving a crap car or one who doesn’t know how to drive?”
Thinking of full-timing? Some basic advice.
This story shared some thoughts on personal space, keeping a “home base,” and what to do with all that “stuff.” Our readers shared their own hints on getting ready for the big change.
Sam Lunt took up the topic of getting rid of those things with emotional value. “I’m not sure why people feel they need to get rid of everything in order to full time RV. But if you have a hard time getting rid of things such as heirlooms, but still need to get rid of them, I would suggest taking pictures of everything. It makes it a little easier. You will still have the memories every time you see the pictures and they don’t take up any room.”
Another reader, Robbie, shared thoughts on how to deal with stuff you can’t part with: “We’ve been full timing almost 12 years. We disposed of almost everything from the sale of the house except family pictures, Grandma’s silverware, and a few things we thought we couldn’t or didn’t want to replace. We paid for storage….big mistake. Tools were a problem because I had no idea what would be needed in our new lifestyle. I ended up selling them all except for a few “must haves”, but gave myself permission to buy any tool I actually needed. Nice having the new high-powered battery operated tools.?
“After a year on the road, we tried to remember what was in that expensive storage area, and found we couldn’t remember what was there. When we returned to the storage area, getting rid of the rest was pretty easy. What we still couldn’t get rid of, we purchased a utility trailer (with overhead vent) that we store in different places. (No storage fees easily paid for the trailer). Best of luck figuring it out for your needs.”
And turning from possessions to attitudes, here’s Grumpyoldtimer‘s take on the situation: “Once on the road, slow down both in your mph and days at one place. When one is on ‘vacation’ there is the urge to pack in as much as possible. When fulltiming, one is ‘@home’. So, relax and stay at each stop for a while. Sit and read, take walks, do what you would when at the old sticks and bricks (at least the fun parts). Relax, it’s not a race. You are home wherever you are. Enjoy it. Slow down!!! That was our major discovery after going fulltime.”
I have always been courteous to other drivers and expect the same but I forget that there are a lot of people out there driving that has no respect for their fellow man nor the law. I will slow down when someone is coming up the on ramp, and will give a person the opportunity to move over to another lane in front of me. I stay in the right lane unless I’m passing, then immediately try to get back into the right lane. Sometimes the person I’ve passed speeds up and won’t let me over even though I have my signal on. To many times someone in the left lane cuts over in front of an RV then brakes to take an off ramp and nearly gets smashed. When you’re driving a One ton dully and pulling a 34 ft 5th wheel trailer you can’t stop that fast. So you go off to the emergency lane. Everyone needs to look out for the other guy.
Number 1, I do the speed limit or 60 mph max of the state I’m driving in on the freeway in the right lane or next one to the left for entering traffic. Two-lane roads with pull-outs are a joke for pulling over. As short as I am (MH&tow, 50 feet)., those pull-outs are not long enough to slow from 55/60 and then accelerate to reenter road. We’ve all read the mph data re gas consumption over 55. We all know how much longer it takes to stop the heavier we are. Why would any RVer want to travel faster? Enjoy the ride. That’s what it’s all about. BTW, why isn’t that patrolman ticketing the speeders?
Someday it will happen….an RVer will place a bumper sticker on the back of their rig that reads: “TURNOUT? WHAT’S A TURNOUT?”…..just to see if folks give a thumb’s up as the pass when that RVer actually pulls over. I pull over every chance I get, regardless of the number of vehicles behind me. As long as the area I am pulling into is paved and large enough, I’ll use it. I am in no hurry when traveling and I know folks appreciate my efforts to allow passing. I used to ride motorcycles and drive muscle cars, and always appreciated the RVer that showed some class by trying to make friends on the road.
Completely agree with Bill who posted previously.
I am retired, I pre-plan trips allowing more than enough time & frankly refuse to speed. often I will roll between 3 & 5 mph below the speed limit.
I only use the left lane to allow incoming traffic merge room, to seldom pass a slower vehicle & on 2 lane roads will sometimes have a long line of Road Rage Fools behind me as I am far too long & large to shoulder in a dangerous area.
My rear camera’s are always on & have watched numerous expressions of annoyance.
However, I am not in a hurry, refuse to be forced to speed & their Rage is theirs alone.
Nice article, good advice! 🙂
Excellent article. I specifically enjoyed Sam and Robbie’s comments on downsizing. I also agreed with Georges’ comment on people driving behind. Doing the speed limit on a two lane highway, if people have underpowered vehicles or don’t know how to pass when they have the chance, deserve to spend their trip staring at the back of my rig.