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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Highway 195 revisited

After this column addressed the lengthy strings of traffic held up by slow drivers on U.S. 195, several readers shared their comments and opinions.

J.F. noted and questioned, “After reading your column…on drivers blocking traffic on highway 195, just wanted to comment on a few things.  I agree with the view that driving slowly and with varied speeds is an annoying driving habit.  I would like to know though what the law is in regards to pulling over if I am consistently doing the proper posted speed limit.  Why would I need to pull over and allow the drivers following me to exceed the speed limit?  I have been travelling to Pullman for Cougar football going on 38 years and it is just as annoying to have to pull over when I am doing the speed limit.  If everyone goes the same speed both to and from the game, traffic moves very nicely.  On the positive side, it is heart warming to see a few of the cars I pulled over for, on the side of the road having a conversation with a WSP officer.”

I will ask about the speed limit/delay of vehicles relationship on my next ride with a WSP Trooper, but for now, I’ll offer my interpretation.  I believe that a car consistantly travelling the speed limit is not subject to the “delay of vehicles” law and not required to pull over on two lane roads.  I think if the lead vehcile is maintaining the speed limit, any string of vehicles behind it is simply due to traffic density, and it is the responsibility of those drivers to maintain proper following distance.

Still, if I am tailgated by an aggressive driver wishing to speed on U.S. 195, I will often pull to the shoulder even if only to let that one vehicle pass. 

J.F is right — things work fine when everyone is moving at the same speed, near the posted limit. Variation in speed and drivers wanting to go well above the limit are the problem causers.  He is also right that it’s fun to see the “race drivers” travelling 195 on game day detained by one of the Troopers commonly in abundance there.

And E.K chimed in, “I too have traveled [195] many times over the years and understand the frustration.  I place a lot of blame on the individual directly behind the front vehicle.  If they won’t pass, the line quickly becomes a dangerous situation.  I think it would help to put several ‘Delay of more than five vehicles Illegal’ signs along the corridor, especially from the Thornton area north to the four-lane.”

I too blame the drivers of cars near the front of the line that fail to pass the slow leader. Consequentially, as E.K. implies, a frustrated driver several cars back (sometimes me) will eventually attempt a wild, potentially unsafe pass past several vehicles.

E.K’s proposal of reminder signs couldn’t hurt the situation — for now, let’s just pretend those signs are there.

Actually, that column reminded one reader of a host of driving peeves.  G.C. wrote, “You hit the nail on the head many times with your column.  Too bad all drivers don’t read and heed your advice.  My pet peeves are in order of worst first:  Cell phone use while driving.  When I get behind someone going 10 mph below the signed speed; or one who does not take a free right turn at a red light, they are on their phone.  Drivers who drive all the time on the left lane on a 4 lane road.”

Besides calling out drivers for holding up traffic, G.C.’s peeve list contains some of my other “favorites.”

Too many drivers don’t realize that if they are in the left lane of two or more lanes provided in the same direction of travel and they are not about to turn left, are not overtaking another vehicle, or are not moving left to allow a merge from the right, then they are screwing up!  It seems like a simple set of circumstances that allow use of the left lane, but many use it endlessly for no reason.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at