Here I go, right foot forward, stepping up a little … there. I’m now standing firmly on my soapbox.
Left-lane campers, listen up: I’m calling you out for being the rogue rascals of our roadways that you are.
I’m talking to those scoundrels who steer into the passing lane, entrench themselves, and drive at precisely the speed limit while refusing to move over. Even when the right lane is deserted.
Those people are breaking the law, and they’re far too common.
I’m surprised that our new PEMCO Poll reveals Washington drivers see left-lane camping less often now than five years ago. That's not been my experience commuting on SR 520 every weekday.
It’s true. Our latest poll says 83% of Washington and Oregon drivers witness left-lane campers obstructing traffic “often” or “sometimes.” But in Washington, fewer drivers see it often now than in 2011, down from 49% to 35%.
The thing that amuses me is, like past PEMCO Polls that examined bad driving habits, not many drivers admit to ever camping in the passing lane themselves – just 12%.
Of those who do, drivers under age 35 admit to it about twice as much as drivers 35 and older, 20% versus 9%.
What left-lane campers don’t understand or choose to ignore is that Washington’s “Keep right except to pass” law applies to all cars in the passing lane, even those traveling at the speed limit – or higher.
If you take root in the left lane and impede cars behind you, that’s illegal, unless you’re in the act of passing a slower car. (That doesn’t mean intending to pass a car that’s still a quarter-mile ahead of you.)
State troopers have conducted “emphasis patrols” recently to crack down on violators. It’s a safety issue. Frustrated drivers who get stuck behind will often weave to the right to pass, or worse, frustration swells into road rage.
Most people around here believe left-lane camping is a regional quirk – 34% say it happens more in the Northwest than in other areas, versus 12% who say it happens less here. Learn more in our news release, and see how Northwest drivers answered our poll.