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The Right Lane

The Right Lane

Two days I week I take Royce to puppy school. The quickest way to get there is by avoiding the back roads and taking the interstate (I95) for about five miles. Since I take him (and Coco) in the pickup truck, I stay in the right lane. And since I’m easily bored, and I can’t drive the pickup as I do the other four vehicles, I tried an experiment.

The speed limit on that stretch is 55 MPH. Since, for some strange Toyota reason, the truck only has even numbers on the speedometer, I set my speed at 60 this morning, and did not move out of the right lane. I estimated about 100 cars or more passed me in the other three lanes.

Passed me.

I didn’t pass one car and every vehicle on the highway—18-wheelers, lawn truck hauling equipment trailers, ambulances not engaged in transport, large cars, tiny cars, motorcycles, RVs—all passed me. I didn’t catch up to anyone in the right lane, and a few people tailgated me when we reached their exit.

I exceed 60 myself in my other cars. It’s called “reciprocal speeding,” meaning that you go about as fast or only slightly faster than everyone else. It’s one of the great acts of American trust, so don’t tell me you have no faith. You need one car length to stop for every ten miles an hour you’re traveling, so I don’t care if you have the most advanced brakes in the world or the greatest reflexes, if someone stops short within that distance you’re going to hit that car.

There’s also the not insignificant point that disrespect for one law weakens respect for all laws. And the fact that a lot of people with low self-esteem atone for that by aggressively using what is potentially a deadly weapon on the roads. Finally, speeding tickets are simply a matter of bad luck, the disposition of the police officer, and the town’s need for revenue. Otherwise, every single vehicle would be stopped and civilization would grind to a halt.

You see: Even taking a dog to school you can come up with material. I hope he’s learning as much as I have.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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