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Slow drivers, get out of our way

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 3:31 PM EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
LZ Granderson says drivers don't appreciate being trapped behind a slow-moving car in the left lane.
LZ Granderson says drivers don't appreciate being trapped behind a slow-moving car in the left lane.
  • LZ Granderson: With 7 billion people, the world needs some rules
  • He says drivers who dawdle in the left lane should move over if they want to enjoy the view
  • If you're moving slowly, make space on escalators, staircases for the speedy, he says
  • Granderson: Drive the speed you want, but don't infringe on the rights of those in a hurry

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- There is a place for people who enjoy soaking in the beautiful colors of fall and all the other amazing scenes of nature as they drive down the open highway.

It's called the right lane.

If you're sightseeing or rubbernecking in the left, get your butt over.

Why is that rule so freakin' hard to follow?

As drivers, we do a lot of things that irritate each other.

We signal but never turn.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

We turn but don't signal.

We forget who is supposed to go next at a four-way stop sign.

But nothing comes close to the level of irritation that comes from being stuck behind someone doing 55 in a 65 in the far left lane. Drive the speed you want, but why infringe on the rights of those in a hurry? To me, that's giving the rest of us on the road the finger in the most passive aggressive -- "Who me?"-- way possible. In fact, I would much rather have someone pull up beside me, roll down their window and flip me the bird as they go driving by than be trapped behind this vehicular anarchist.

And you know they see you.

They see all of us -- bobbing and weaving in their rearview mirror, trying to find a gap between the lanes big enough so we may be able to slip through and go on with our lives. But nooooooooo -- these offenders don't feel obligated to go any faster and they refuse to move over to the right because in their sanctimonious minds, they're going fast enough for all of us.

That's why they go through great lengths to ignore the high beams glaring in their eyes. And they don't look over at you when you do eventually pass because they can't stop being prickly, not even for the three seconds it takes for us to look at them with our signature, highway glare that says:



The thing is there are about 312 million people in the United States and roughly 250 million registered vehicles. There will always be somebody somewhere driving faster ... it's easier for everyone to just let them.

Besides, think of all the harm caused by slowpokes?

For example, how are cops going to hand out speeding tickets if no one can speed?

And what about all the coffee shops that are losing money from the customers who don't have time to pull into the drive-thru before work because they've been trapped behind "Speedy" for five miles.

Essentially, slow drivers in the left lane are like job killers, and if elected president I would seek a constitutional amendment making lane hoarding illegal.

And not just on the highway, but in every facet of life.

The folks who like to walk side-by-side chatting on the track at the gym. You know who you are -- move it.

The people who stand on an escalator in such a way as to take up the entire step should be assessed a property tax, especially in airports where they know everybody around them is trying to get somewhere else.

Really, is it so hard to stand to the right so those people who need to run up the stairs to make their flight, likely because they were trapped behind a slow driver in the left lane on the way to the airport, have a better chance of doing so?

If you're visiting a new city, don't stand in the middle of a busy sidewalk to look up or read a map. Step off to the side so those who live there can get to where they are going. This is especially true for the too cute newlyweds who like take up 75% of the sidewalk holding hands and staring into each other's eyes.

You don't have to get a room, but you do need to get the hell out of the way.

This week we celebrated the 7 billionth person being born, and the first thing I thought about was who is going to teach that person how to drive?

How to share the global common space that is slowly becoming more crowded, requiring us to be more aware of the needs of the people all around us? Because at the end of the day, that's what the left lane is really all about. It's not about how fast someone is going. It's about having an agreed upon space where we let each other pass on by.

A space we agree upon to let each other be.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.