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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:21 PM   #1
Penn's Woods
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Lane Discipline

All right, since it keeps coming up in thread after thread, usually in the context of how awful other countries' drivers are, let's talk about lane discipline.

Two posts from the Dutch thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Road_UK View Post
I thought they were going to remove that silly thing?

Edit: Looking at that picture on the right, you have to admire the lane discipline in the Netherlands, in comparison to a lot of other European nations, including Germany.
----------

Could someone please explain to me what is wrong, when there are three lanes, particularly on an urban freeway with lots of exits and entrances (I don't know that that's the case with the Dutch road pictured), with using the center lane as a matter of course, providing you're doing it at a reasonable speed? I've done so as long as I've been driving, just because it makes sense. You're letting people pass you to the left, as you should, and reducing the potential for conflict with traffic entering the freeway (not to mention making it easier for them to enter). Frankly, I see that picture and the voice of Jeremy Clarkson pops into my head talking about "not using the motorway network to its full potential."

All right, let's have at it.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Could someone please explain to me what is wrong, when there are three lanes, particularly on an urban freeway with lots of exits and entrances (I don't know that that's the case with the Dutch road pictured), with using the center lane as a matter of course, providing you're doing it at a reasonable speed? I've done so as long as I've been driving, just because it makes sense. You're letting people pass you to the left, as you should, and reducing the potential for conflict with traffic entering the freeway (not to mention making it easier for them to enter).
In my opinion, that depends on traffic density. If traffic is heavy, it makes little sense to move in and out of the right lane all the time.

On the other hand, it's evident in many Youtube videos that many U.S. drivers keep out of the right lane even if there is no traffic in sight at all. That's just poor discipline. Driving without thinking.

I've also seen in many U.S. videos that people just continuously drive in the left lane (out of two lanes) in rural areas where traffic is light and exits are spaced miles apart, and get passed on the right by other traffic. That's an absolute no-go in Europe. While middle lane sticking is common on 3-lane roadways, driving in the left lane for no reason at all is heavily frowned upon in European driving-etiquette. Some U.S. states specifically forbid this, others are less clear about it.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Driving like this would be considered very poor in Europe. A police car will most likely pull you over if they are around.

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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
In my opinion, that depends on traffic density. If traffic is heavy, it makes little sense to move in and out of the right lane all the time.
I do most of my driving in and around Northeastern cities, so most of the time, traffic density is a given. If a road has three lanes, there's probably a reason for that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
On the other hand, it's evident in many Youtube videos that many U.S. drivers keep out of the right lane even if there is no traffic in sight at all. That's just poor discipline. Driving without thinking.
Here's where we disagree. :-)
Not about the existence of the phenomenon, but whether it's undisciplined or unthinking (and if there's no traffic in sight, doesn't that mean it doesn't matter?)


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I've also seen in many U.S. videos that people just continuously drive in the left lane (out of two lanes) in rural areas where traffic is light and exits are spaced miles apart, and get passed on the right by other traffic. That's an absolute no-go in Europe. While middle lane sticking is common on 3-lane roadways, driving in the left lane for no reason at all is heavily frowned upon in European driving-etiquette. Some U.S. states specifically forbid this, others are less clear about it.
Here, I agree with you 100 percent.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Could someone please explain to me what is wrong, when there are three lanes, particularly on an urban freeway with lots of exits and entrances (I don't know that that's the case with the Dutch road pictured), with using the center lane as a matter of course, providing you're doing it at a reasonable speed? I've done so as long as I've been driving, just because it makes sense. You're letting people pass you to the left, as you should, and reducing the potential for conflict with traffic entering the freeway (not to mention making it easier for them to enter). Frankly, I see that picture and the voice of Jeremy Clarkson pops into my head talking about "not using the motorway network to its full potential."

All right, let's have at it.
By sticking to lane 2 you block one more lane than necessary. Hence you need a good reason. Merging traffic is only a good reason at merges and only when there really is traffic joining. Keeping off lane 1 preventively, however, is no good reason. It is just a waste of road space and you should ask yourself why lane 1 was built at all.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Driving like this would be considered very poor in Europe. A police car will most likely pull you over if they are around.
"In Europe" is a bit generic. In Italy you can drive like that for thousands of km and never be bothered by police.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
By sticking to lane 2 you block one more lane than necessary. Hence you need a good reason. Merging traffic is only a good reason at merges and only when there really is traffic joining. Keeping off lane 1 preventively, however, is no good reason. It is just a waste of road space and you should ask yourself why lane 1 was built at all.
So then you're making a lot of lane changes, some of them at the last minute (because you should only get out of the right lane when you see that someone wants to merge), for no good reason I can see. And if you're driving in the center lane a bit above the speed limit, you're hardly "blocking" it....
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #8
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I agree with Fliery. There is no excuse for lane hogging. Lane two and three are overtaking lanes only. The picture in post 1 is perfect. it's quiet, nobody feels the need to overtake, and everybody sticks with lane 1.

In many countries in Europe, especially in the UK, Italy and more and more in Germany, people find it acceptable to keep driving in lane two, regardless whether they're overtaking or not. That is NOT acceptable, but lazy, or hitting the road with little or no knowledge. In the UK they are now trying to do something about it, and from time to time you get matrix signs displaying warnings to keep left unless overtaking, or not to hog the middle lane.

When you get three lanes of solid traffic, of course you do not keep on switching lanes all the time. But when there is room to move back after overtaking without you having to slow down, you will use that space, as the the space that you will leave behind will be used for others to overtake you.

Always keep overtaking lanes clear for overtaking. No matter at what speed. It will keep the traffic flow in motion, and it avoids road rage.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
So then you're making a lot of lane changes, some of them at the last minute (because you should only get out of the right lane when you see that someone wants to merge), for no good reason I can see. And if you're driving in the center lane a bit above the speed limit, you're hardly "blocking" it....
There is nothing wrong with changing from lane 1 to lane 2, if someone is merging. After you have passed you move back to lane 1 if there is nobody else to overtake.

You are not under any obligation to move lanes if someone is merging. If you are on the main carriageway, you have the right of way at all times, and merging traffic should let you pass first. But it's of course more polite to make way for merging traffic, as long as you are not hindering overtaking traffic on lane 2.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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Europe should get american rule.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hofburg View Post
Europe should get american rule.
Which American rule? And why? Are you a middle lane driver?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #12
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I wonder if speed limits are a factor: in this country, if you try to do 70 (mph) in the right lane, sooner or later (sooner, probably) you'll come across a little old lady who's used to doing 55. So it's not just yielding to entering traffic....
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I wonder if speed limits are a factor: in this country, if you try to do 70 (mph) in the right lane, sooner or later (sooner, probably) you'll come across a little old lady who's used to doing 55. So it's not just yielding to entering traffic....
... Or a truck, and in Europe they are limited to 56 mph. So you overtake, and when there is nobody else to overtake, you move back. When this old lady is driving in lane 2 or 3, you will give her enough space and patience, to let her do the overtaking. If she's still there, but not overtaking, you will let your mood change in white rage, get right up her ass, and start honking and flashing your lights aggressively, until she has moved.

To avoid road rage, it is always best to keep to the right unless overtaking.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 07:00 PM   #14
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All right, I'm leaving for my mother's now, and I'll try the following experiment:

I'll keep strictly to the right, on freeways with three lanes going my way, except (1) when I'm approaching an on-ramp and see someone wants to merge and (2) when someone in front of me is going too slowly and I want to pass.

In those instances - several times a mile, probably - I'll switch into the center lane (which will have plenty of "lazy", "unthinking" center-lane hogs in it) and then immediately switch back once the obstacle is passed.

When (if) the police tell me off for dangerous weaving, I'll give them a lecture about proper lane discipline.

I'm being facetious, but seriously, in a country where people routinely distribute themselves (according to speed, hopefully) across the two non-passing lanes of a three-lane freeway, insisting on doing it the "right" way seems more dangerous than going with the flow.

À bientôt/bis bald/tot ziens.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road_UK View Post
Which American rule? And why? Are you a middle lane driver?
no. are you?

I was thinking about the rule where all lanes are equal. why? because I see no way people will change their bad driving habbits.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #16
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They will when it's enforced properly. Look at the Netherlands...
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #17
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no. are you?

I was thinking about the rule where all lanes are equal. why? because I see no way people will change their bad driving habbits.
That's a dangerous thing, abolishing laws that are not enforced. Many unauthorized houses are built? Change the law so that they become legal. Too many inmates in prisons? Let's free some of them, free of charge, instead of building more prisons. Many people do financial frauds? Let's change the law so that it's not a crime any more.

All of these happen, needless to say, in Italy.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:54 PM   #18
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yeah that's a problem. but is no so much abolishing the law, as changing it. people today respect 'lane' law only partially. they respect overtaking on the left, but not keeping right.

also on 4x4+ the 'left' rule kinda looses its sense.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 09:06 PM   #19
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Enforce it, impose fines and get them to keep to the right. It worked in the Netherlands, which used to be the worst country in Europe when it came to lane discipline. Ask the older generation Germans. Now they have become one of the best. (and Germany is becoming more and more lacks)
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Old November 11th, 2012, 09:15 PM   #20
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On rural highways when traffic is light most people stay in the right lane when they aren't passing here in the midwest(US). A major problem we have with highway design here in Kansas City is that there are a lot of left hand exits and lanes will split, etc so the slower traffic has to cut across just to make their turns. When you know you have to be in the left lane for your exit in 2 miles you just get over early so you dont have to worry about missing your exit so the design of the highways here really screws up the slower traffic keeping right rule.
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