Lisa writes to say that she’s tired of slow drivers using the fast lane, sending fast drivers to the slow lane, especially between Santa Rosa and Petaluma. Sound familiar?

“I commute from Marin to Santa Rosa 4 days a week and regularly drive in other high traffic areas around the Bay Area,” Lisa writes. “This problem is isn’t completely unique to Sonoma County, but i see it here a whole lot more than other areas.” 

She passes along this Facebook post that lays out the problem and includes a little easy to understand instructional material.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re going the speed limit. You may feel like you’re doing the right thing by slowing a speeder down, or you may feel it’s your right to drive in any lane you darn well please. It’s not. You are breaking the law.

“If a faster driver comes up behind you and begs you to move over, you should. But you don’t. Now cars start lining up behind both of you. In some cases you actually slow down ON PURPOSE.  Now there’s four or five vehicles lining up behind you and the sixth vehicle back finally jets across two lanes of traffic to go around not only you and the cars behind you. Note that he used the ‘SLOW’ lane to do this in.

“Move over. Don’t cause traffic jams and contribute to road rage. Please share.”



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  1. Peaches

    I also drive the highways regularly. I have noted that those speeders are usually weaving in and out of multiple lanes going 75 to 85 mph no matter what the traffic is doing. When you consider commute lanes, heavy traffic volumes, unsafe merging (forcing traffic to move over instead of fitting in), lots of large trucks, and a limited # of lanes available, asking for a dedicated lane for speeders will cause more harm than good. I think speeding, weaving, and obnoxious merging should carry much heaver consequences instead of making it easier for them.

    May 9th, 2013 8:35 am

  2. Jeff McDonald

    So maintaining the speed limit (which is the law) is considered to be “slow”.

    I am so glad that I now understand that.

    May 9th, 2013 8:35 am

  3. Skippy

    The “bicycle” lane on the extreme left is a cruel joke. A third of the pavement paid for by all citizens is reserved for the elite few. Picking our pockets to fund blatant discrimination and bias seems to be the order of the day for our masters in Big Govt. It pays to be a member of a “protected class” in what was established to be a classless society.

    May 9th, 2013 8:40 am

  4. johng

    “If a faster driver comes up behind you and begs you to move over, you should.”

    And as a faster driver how do you do this begging? By riding the slow-moving vehicle’s bumper? Also illegal, and very unsafe.

    Yeah, Lisa has a point. This does happen, and yeah, it’s annoying. But the bigger issue out there, and what happens far more often, is that I’m in the carpool lane on that stretch of road doing 8 or 10MPH over the speed limit in dense traffic, and a sociopath with a death wish approaches at 90+MPH and comes to within 10′ of my bumper. I’ll move over when it’s clear, but usually this type of selfish idiot will rocket into the middle lane him/herself and move on to endanger the lives of drivers further on down the road.

    May 9th, 2013 9:02 am

  5. Dar

    Keep right, except to pass. It’s hard to convey this to people that feel entitled to sit in the PASSING LANE. The graphic included with this post is extremely helpful. Thank you.

    May 9th, 2013 9:05 am

  6. Ginger

    Thank you Lisa! The same problem occurs during commute time. The middle lane becomes the passing lane, yet slow drivers continue to hog that lane creating a moving road block. It is frustrating to have to pass cars on the right side.

    May 9th, 2013 9:08 am

  7. Sheri

    Hear hear! Drivers should probably be made to review basic traffic laws every time they renew their licenses because they forget them so often.

    May 9th, 2013 9:37 am

  8. Dominic

    About time someone said something. Some people have things to do and places to go. If people want to speed, let them. Let them take the risk of getting a ticket. It’s not your place to be the traffic cop. You want to drive the speed limit and below there are 2 other lanes to use.

    May 9th, 2013 10:10 am

  9. Bunga Gunga

    I have seen this many many times, it doesn’t matter if your going 65 or 80mph if your in the fast lane and someone wants to go faster the correct thing to do is to get out of the way. It is incredibly rude and dangerous to hold people up in this way. I often use the fast lane, i’m not the slowest or fastest driver around but I will ALWAYS move over if someone comes up on me. I agree that this problem is particularly bad in Sonoma County.

    May 9th, 2013 10:12 am

  10. Cortland

    I can see the sign now:

    Left Lane
    Speeders Only

    (Is that self incriminating?)

    Or this: Anaheim rush hour and the slow speed lane moving faster than the “passing” one while ahead, the CH has 413 cars pulled over for driving too slow.

    Headline: Deficit Cut 40%!

    May 9th, 2013 10:35 am

  11. kyle

    @ Jeff McDonald

    That’s basic driver’s ed, Jeff. Where/when did you get your license?

    It’s the law. Keep your Prius in the slow lane.

    May 9th, 2013 10:44 am

  12. J. Longtooth

    “..it doesn’t matter if your going 65 or 80mph if your in the fast lane and someone wants to go faster the correct thing to do is to get out of the way”.

    Rubbish. First of all, 65 is the “limit” (as in “any faster, you’re breaking the law”).

    Then there’s reality. When I travel the fast lane at 70-75 mph, and am approached from behind by a faster vehicle, I don’t change lanes. If they want to pass, fine, they can pick a spot and pass. If not, that’s their tough luck.

    May 9th, 2013 10:47 am

  13. TJ

    Keeping the “Fast Lane Fast” is all well and good but encourge people to Speed more then the 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit, is not. They seem to decide who is in their way. I just love it that they can cut over after barely getting past you front fender. Accident waiting to happen, and they just continue down the road. I am sure they are the same that pull in front of semi wehn traffice is coming to a stop.

    May 9th, 2013 10:48 am

  14. David Sheridan

    RE: “And as a faster driver how do you do this begging?”

    Flashing headlights. Then by honking the horn.

    May 9th, 2013 10:51 am

  15. Annie

    You are lucky they are going the speed limit! On 580 between the 238 and 680 interchanges there are always people going 45 mph in the fast lane regardless of the time of day or how thick the traffic is. This is very dangerous!

    May 9th, 2013 10:52 am

  16. Tom

    The slow driving out here is dangerous. Driving slow is not safe, its the difference in speeds that causes accidents. Passive aggressive slow drivers kill people. Its a major problem out here on one lane roads, Highway 12, and the 101/ highway 12 intersection. At least keep up with traffic and try to do the speed limit, if not, move over to the right lane. You may save someone’s life.

    May 9th, 2013 10:57 am

  17. Dan

    This is about common sense, yet we all know how that works, or how it does not. This problem is not bad just in Sonoma County it is a statewide if not national common occurrence. I am in agreement with moving over for those that are going faster than I am, but you need to allow for me to have room in the other lane without cutting someone off. Riding my…bumper is not helping any and if you think it rude because I am not moving over fast enough, imagine how rude it is that you are all over my backside because of your impatience or tardiness. For those who play traffic cop, you are playing with fire as it is safer to get the person who wants to go by off your tail while they act emotionally behind you. BTW, this ‘problem’ will not cease no matter how much common sense it makes.

    May 9th, 2013 11:01 am

  18. Sam

    Excessive speed is much more dangerous than obstructing traffic. If you are in a hurry it is because you neglected to properly plan your day. Get up earlier and enjoy the ride. We’re all going somewhere and you do not have a special right to drive as fast as you like wherever you feel like.

    May 9th, 2013 11:01 am

  19. S.

    It would just be nice if people would just get their heads out of their rear ends and just drive. JUST DRIVE. Put down the phone and the dog and just focus on driving. Isn’t that why you are in the car in the first place? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. If you would like to drive a slower speed just stay to the right. Don’t worry about drivers going 65+, as long as you are in the far right lanes they probably won’t bother you…. Is it really that hard?

    May 9th, 2013 11:16 am

  20. SA

    @J Longtooth: So you’ve decided that 70-75 is the right amount to speed? And if the guy behind you thinks it should be 80, what makes you more right than him?

    I used to play these games until someone asked me that question. Also, you never know why someone is going faster than you. They might have a wife in labor or a loved one in the emergency room. It’s better (and less stressful) to just move over and let them go by. Assuming that they just didn’t “plan properly” is just arrogant and wrong.

    May 9th, 2013 11:18 am

  21. Tom

    Wrong Sam

    If everyone went the same speed there would be no traffic accidents.. slow driving is just as dangerous as speeding, is a matter of fact.. slow driving causes excessive speeding and aggressiveness

    May 9th, 2013 11:29 am

  22. David

    I think CA law says slower traffic keep right. Does it not?

    May 9th, 2013 11:37 am

  23. Bunga Gunga

    @longtooth the reality is that your creating a situation where people are going to want to pass you in anger. Get cut off much for this behavior? many people want to drive faster then 75 around here that’s just how it is. You sticking to your principals of not moving over for these people puts us all in danger. Swallow your pride and show a little courtesy. I’m not advocating excessive speed but many people want to drive fast around here, the police can deal with them. Your attitude of just let them pass to the right because you think your going fast enough is part of the problem.

    May 9th, 2013 11:45 am

  24. Daily Commuter

    This debate will always result in a cops and robbers mentality. As much as I would like to see people obey the explicit signs that state, “Slower Traffic Stay to the Right” not Slower than 65 stay to the right. Or as much as I would like people to not be forced to weave around slower traffic…. nothing will change. People will continue to be inconsiderate on both sides of the fence, the hypothetical “cops” ie slow drivers will continue to road bolder and back up traffice for miles forcing drivers to tailgate because there is no room on the current infrastructure or speed up when a driver attempts to pass from the slow lane and the “Robbers” will continue to weave in and out of traffic and ride bumpers while shouting expletives and raging out. The bottom line is nothing will change until we as a society change, either that or until cars can drive themselves. I for one am pretty sure the latter will come first.

    May 9th, 2013 11:45 am

  25. randy

    In CA Its called impeading the flow of traffic. you are not the CHP leave traffic enforcement of speed and setting the flow of traffic rate to the professionals with caliberated speedometers and ticket books. as a matter of fact most vehicle speedometers are not correct from the factory so you may think you are doing 65 and really only be doing 61.

    Slower Traffic Keep Right is the law in most states. Failure to keep right has a negative effect on traffic safety, traffic congestion, emergency response, aggressive driving, air pollution, fuel consumption, direct and indirect medical costs and much more.

    There are many traffic safety laws, Slower Traffic Keep Right may be the most important. Not only is it a law, but also a guide on how to maintain order on today’s busy roads and freeways. With an ever increasing amount of vehicles and usually between two and four lanes, this is the only way that motorists of differing speeds can share the road safely and orderly.

    If all motorists obeyed the Slower Traffic Keep Right laws at all times there would be a reduction in traffic accidents, traffic fatalities and traffic congestion. Emergency response would also be improved resulting in even more lives being saved.

    The main argument against enforcing this law is that it promotes speeding. The fact is that this is not a speed issue, but a safety issue. It is the responsibility of the police to enforce the speeding laws, not other motorists. Motorists that impede the free flow of traffic force faster motorists to pass on the right. Impeding the free flow of traffic is a very dangerous practice and a leading cause of aggressive driving and road rage.

    Undisciplined motorists that impede the free flow of traffic through ignorance, inattention, or just being inconsiderate show a disregard for public safety and the normal practice of defensive driving. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Whether you drive fast, slow, or moderate, people that drive slowly in the passing lanes cause a hazard for all of us.

    Slower Traffic Keep Right is a basic driving technique. How do we get politicians, law enforcement and the motoring public on the same page as to the importance of this law?

    We need to work on addressing the drivers who think they should regulate things via creating more hazards on the roads as much as we should be citing excessive speeding drivers. I wish CHP would write a few more impeading the flow of traffic tickets during the course of everyday travel. In Germany this policy has worked well thier drivers understand the concept of responsible yeilding.

    May 9th, 2013 12:30 pm

  26. Sam

    @Daily Commuter: Indeed. It seems many people seem to assume that their side is an inevitable conclusion, a natural byproduct of being alive. I usually stay out of everybody’s way, myself, but driving angry is never a good idea. For the fast or the slow. No matter what, though, we ALL have someplace to be and we would all like to arrive alive.

    May 9th, 2013 12:31 pm

  27. HOLLY

    I am so glad someone did this, all you slow people that drive in the fast lane, where did you all taking your driving school at ? Hello and most of you are all my age, so this means we know better then to be in the fast lane unless passing. I am so tired of having to drive 55 because some jerk holding all the traffic up, and on top of it think fast lane a line of 50 cars slow lane 10 cars. OMG people go back and read you hand book.

    May 9th, 2013 12:42 pm

  28. Jim

    This is all very confusing. If I’m in the left lane doing 75 and you come up behind me doing 85 I’m supposed to move over, but I can only move over if the lane next to me is clear, right? So what happens if there’s a guy in that lane just ahead who’s only doing 65? He should have to move over as soon as I change lanes, which he can only do if the lane next to him is clear, right? Now, if the lane next to him has got a guy who’s only doing 55 and there’s no more lanes and nowhere for the 55 guy to go it seems to me the 65 guy has to move back into my lane — which he just left — in order to pass the 55 guy. And as soon as he does that he’s going to be back in front of me and now I’m going to have move back into the lane where I was to begin with in order to pass the 65 guy who is now back in front of me, and now I’m going to be back in front of you and it seems to me we’re right back where started.

    Unless, during the elapsed time between you coming up behind me, me changing lanes, the 65 guy changing lanes and then changing back again, and me changing back again you had gotten past me… BUT — AHA! — what if this whole time there had been somebody in front of me to begin with who was only doing 70, five miles an hour less than me, and who I was waiting for to change lanes? Didn’t think about that, did you? Because now your problem is that once I moved out of your way you found yourself behind somebody going even slower than I was. And, even if you managed to get past while me and the 65 guy were making all our lane changes now you’re only going 70 whereas I am behind you going 75.

    Now who has to move over , smarty-pants?

    May 9th, 2013 1:01 pm

  29. PeterM

    “Excessive speed is much more dangerous than obstructing traffic” – I don’t believe that is accurate, and actually sounds like an excuse for hogging the passing lane.

    This morning, a typical commute day, there was a person going 50 mph in the passing lane, there was plenty of space ahead of him/her. Everyone had to pass them on the right to go the safe, posted speed of 65. I would bet the person driving was thinking something like Sam expressed, and they are dangerously and smugly wrong.

    May 9th, 2013 1:03 pm

  30. Stuck in the Narrows

    This aint rocket science, ut the net result is actually pretty bad. The slow driver in the left lane, completley oblious to the world actually cause the speeders to weave in and out of traffic further snarling traffic. Its a California thing. In the NorthEast, everyone knows their place and drives in the appropriate lane. SO, if you arent passing, just slide over to the right lane, enjoy your music, and let ME by!!!!

    May 9th, 2013 1:03 pm

  31. T.

    C’mon all you “judgmental”types, The spirit of the law wants you all to cooperate with other citizens, whether you agree with them or not. You don’t know their reasons for going faster than you. Try to remember it’s still the “land of the free”.
    The CHP should run a campaign to educate drivers who want to “be the boss” and who hog the left lane.
    This program would help to show them that they seem to think that it’s ok for them to break the law (lane hogging) but not ok for others to break the law (speeding). That is just stupid.
    Learn to drive. Keep to the right, let the speeders go, let the cops get them.

    May 9th, 2013 1:16 pm

  32. Richard

    I can’t believe the people who are in the fast lane and are NOT even doing the speed limit. What’s up with that?

    Then there are the people who are on your butt, in the fast lane, but there are 3-5 cars ahead of you. Hey, those guys aren’t pulling over for me, it won’t do much good if I pull over just to get you off my butt.

    May 9th, 2013 1:47 pm

  33. Joey

    A few things:

    “You should leave earlier instead of speeding” – Thanks for the concern. I’ll be sure to follow you home and make sure that you don’t do anything that I don’t think you should be doing either. Sound fair?

    “Fast drivers cause accidents” – No they don’t. You do. Stop trying to pretend that you are doing us all a favor when in fact you are just hogging the fast lane. Every person who has ever driven a vehicle has violated some traffic law at some point whether on purpose or accidentally. It is not your right to decide when and where to stop people from doing the same. Move over you hypocritical creep.

    May 9th, 2013 2:10 pm

  34. Lou Sylvestri

    Why doesn’t everybody slow down & take it easy, or is that too simplistic?

    May 9th, 2013 2:13 pm

  35. Tom


    use some common sense and move over when its safe…shouldnt take too long. #cuckoo

    May 9th, 2013 2:17 pm

  36. Daily Commuter

    @ Richard, “Hey, those guys aren’t pulling over for me, it won’t do much good if I pull over just to get you off my butt.” it’s that type of thinking that perpetuates this cycle. You my friend are part of the problem not part of the solution.

    May 9th, 2013 2:35 pm

  37. Jim

    Tom… thanks for the tip


    May 9th, 2013 2:47 pm

  38. Slower Traffic Keep Right!

    J. Longtooth – It is your ignorant, inconsiderate way of thinking that this whole article is trying to address. You and the morons who think like you are the ones causing unsafe driving conditions.

    I’ll be the one six inches off of your rear bumper until YOU follow the dozens of signs I see every day that state SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT.

    It doesn’t matter which of the left lanes you are in or how fast you are going. If someone is on your bumper then YOU are SLOWER traffic.

    It’s not hard at all to understand, but the Junior G-men of the wannabe CHP world just don’t get it.

    When you see me on the side of the road pulled over by the CHP for speeding you can laugh and point and say, “There goes that idiot that was tail-gating me.”, but until then just get the heck out of the way.

    May 9th, 2013 2:50 pm

  39. Jim

    “It is not your right to decide when and where to stop people from doing the same. Move over you hypocritical creep.”

    Ah… but apparently it IS yours.

    May 9th, 2013 3:05 pm

  40. Faust

    the freeways around here throw off my chi I prefer to cruise on the back roads

    May 9th, 2013 3:12 pm

  41. Skippy

    Each driver’s attention should be solely on the traffic in front of them. Mirrors aren’t there to tell you when a speeder is driving up your tailpipe so you can get out of the maniac’s way and not slow him on his way to the funeral home. They exist for your safety, not his convenience. Quite frankly, what is behind me(except emergency vehicles)is none of my concern. This lane is my lane, that lane is your lane……but the expensive, exclusive, restricted left lane is only for the annointed, and those deemed righteous and worthy by our masters in Big Govt.

    May 9th, 2013 3:27 pm

  42. Heisenberg

    couldn’t disagree with you more Skippy, a driver should be aware of traffic in front and behind and the sides, being willfully oblivious gets people killed. If your impeding the flow of traffic that should be your concern. Besides do you really want someone behind you who obviously wants to go faster, personally that stresses me out. I would rather let them by and just relax. Heisenberg says relax.

    May 9th, 2013 3:48 pm

  43. Skippy

    Your poor planning should not affect my driving. I know, you actually do own the whole dang road, but until I see rollers in the rearview, I see no need to interrupt my remarkably safe driving habits just cuz you’re feeling speedy. Share the road and slow down. The closer you get, the slower I go. Learn some manners.

    May 9th, 2013 4:32 pm

  44. ER

    Nice graphic, though on the stretch of freeway I drive, that lane is the carpool lane. Yes, drivers should move to the right if someone behind you wants to go faster, though the in-duh-vidual behind you is not supposed to tailgate, at least for not a long period of time or how else are you supposed to know they want you to move over, maybe flash their high-beams?

    May 9th, 2013 5:53 pm

  45. Mark

    I couldn’t agree more with the OP. Slower traffic in the left lane, no matter how fast or slow creates a hazard. Get out of the way… otherwise your self-centered-ness (or your inattention, and I’m not sure which is worse) is very likely to cause or contribute to an accident. It’s simple. If you are passing someone in the left lane and there’s someone behind you, finish passing the vehicle on your right and then move over ASAP. Unless you have a badge, please don’t try to enforce anything.

    May 9th, 2013 10:33 pm

  46. Brian

    I’ve noticed so much that people tend to “love” that center lane on 101, to the point that they’ll merge on and shoot over straight into the center lane, even if it means leaving the right lane with NO traffic ahead of them, to follow someone in the center lane! That never makes sense to me, even when I see it happening at 1 in the morning on my way home from work.

    Then there’s the Prius drivers (yes, I said Prius drivers, you know who you are), who think that doing 50 in the middle lane during carpool hours is cool, and people who actually have someone they’d like to be (rather than driving slow on 101 thanks to someone driving slow) have to try and pass in the right lane. Jim, the prior Road Warrior, had even put in this very blog once that people who want to drive their hybrids slow should only do so in the right lane to not hold up traffic.

    May 9th, 2013 11:56 pm

  47. Dave

    I believe that the point that is not being considered is assuming that the driver approaching from behind at a higher speed is not drunk, insane , angry or has a loaded gun on the seat next to them. It has always seemed to me the safest action for me and my passengers is to activate the right turn signal and move over as quickly as it is safe to do so.

    May 10th, 2013 12:09 am

  48. sheryl

    There is no such thing as a passing lane in bumper to bumper traffic.

    May 10th, 2013 8:26 am

  49. JLB

    The kind of aggressive, dog-eat-dog mentality expressed in many of these comments is a major reason why I don’t drive on the freeway if I can help it. I have always assumed that speed limits are set in relation to engineering principles that are designed to hold traffic at a pace that provides maximum safety for ALL drivers. I would like to hear what a CHP officer would have to say about this.

    May 10th, 2013 12:38 pm

  50. Skippy

    There is no such thing as a passing lane on 101 in Sonoma Co. The empty lane on the left is for VIP’s only, not you miserable serfs. I suggest all drivers crowd into the elitist lane and overwhelm the wonderful but overstretched CHP until they give up trying to enforce the whims of the annointed. If one driver does, he gets a ticket. If all drivers do, the law gets changed tomorrow. Occupy the 101!

    May 10th, 2013 12:57 pm

  51. J. Longtooth

    “..the reality is that your creating a situation where people are going to want to pass you in anger”.

    I’m not responsible for their emotional state, nor they for mine. I personally consider 75 mph (flow of traffic permitting, of course) to be my limit. If and when I exceed that speed, I lay off the accelerator. If someone feels a need for a greater speed than 75, it’s fine with me. Go for it. But don’t expect me to move over when I’m already 10 miles over the limit.

    May 10th, 2013 2:30 pm

  52. Pat

    First they need to get rid of that ridicules diamond lane (which for many years was considered the fast lane) since it is totally useless when people are trying to get home. Take highway 101 through Santa Rosa with 2 lanes (center and right lanes) looking more like parking lot while the left lane is empty. The 2-lane parking lot between 3 and 6:30 makes it more dangerous for anyone exiting or merging onto 101. Also I would think that 65 is fast enough for any situation, even an emergency vehicle- so for those who want to go 80-why should anyone going 65 move over and encouraging the clown to speed as if he owns the highway.

    May 11th, 2013 8:47 pm

  53. Bert Evenson

    I am always very late and have a lot of things to do. Slow drivers make texting very difficult while driving because I have to watch where I am going. Why can’t everyone behave exactly as I would like? How rude of them!

    May 16th, 2013 6:16 pm

  54. Aaron

    UK is now fining for lane hogging, so I guess they take that as a much bigger offense than moderately speeding.

    June 5th, 2013 12:39 am

  55. David

    The problem is real bad in VA. People actually do this and point in the mirror knowing you want to get around . It always results in a road rage incident . People just want to get home some people drive at work and are in traffic all day . If you try to get back at them you get a road rage ticket when the slow driver in the left lane caused the whole thing by being a jerk. People don’t just drive mad it’s dumb crap like that that causes ROAD RAGE . People do have things they have to get done . You are not the police ! Thanks Lisa you are right .

    December 30th, 2013 5:45 pm

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