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


Who are the offenders?

When I discuss driving topics with drivers, common pet peeves arise.  Talking points from tailgaters to left lane campers are familiar to me having written of them all before.  What always puzzles me is that with so many drivers sharing the same aggravations, who are the offenders?

If nearly everyone I encounter is outraged by these common driver behaviors, who is left to be the perpetrators?  Often, I fear, the complainers and scofflaws are one and the same.

Since there are so many drivers with these common peeves, there must at least be an overlap of those who complain about drivers and those causing the complaints. Otherwise, those who commit the errors would be a very small group.

Here are typical pet peeves I hear from drivers — behavior that seemingly everyone condemns but does not admit to committing.  As implied, some of the criticizers may be committers.  If you have any of these pet driving peeves, make sure you aren’t performing them.


Do you ever follow too closely?  If so, I’ll bet you don’t like it when someone does it to you.  Consider a modified version of the Golden Rule:  Follow others as you would have them follow you.

And rather than get miffed by tailgaters, pull over momentarily to let them pass — an option superior to getting stressed or enraged by it.

Improper passing

Regarding two-lane roads (one lane of travel in each direction), the greatest aggravation revolved around the formation of long “parades” led by a vehicle traveling under the speed limit.  Here, there are two driver shortcomings at play:  failure to pass, and unwillingness to pull over.

If you are in position 10 in a string of slow traffic, or in position 3 for that matter, it’s nearly impossible to garner enough space or speed to clear the pack.  That’s why the vehicles in position 2 or 3 need to make a pass, so others, in turn, can make their way past the slowpoke.  Otherwise, the parade just lengthens rather than more safely spreading out. 

Even better, since it is in violation of the law to impede the normal flow of traffic by driving under the speed limit, the leader should pull to the shoulder to let others pass before the long line forms.

Door dings

As with other peeves, no one likes parking lot door dings, so who is causing them?  I suspect that many who don’t like getting dings on their own doors don’t mind making them on others’ doors.

Sadly, those flagrantly flinging doors into doors are seldom caught.  I suggest that if it happens in your presence, you make a claim to the offender’s insurance company.  After all, it devalues your car or truck.  If you don’t think so, check the paperwork on a returned leased vehicle — each ding will be a deduction

Left lane campers

Those who permanently occupy the left lane when there are multiple lanes in each travel direction are not justified in such behavior.  Some of these transgressors actually defend the practice, citing the justification that they “are doing the speed limit.”  Sorry, they are wrong.

In Washington, according to RCW 46.61.100, unless you are about to turn left, passing another vehicle, or moving left to allow a merge from the right, you are illegal in the left lane.  Ditto for every state I’ve checked.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at