Opinion | Kim McGahey: Get out of the left lane!

Kim McGahey
Conservative Common Sense

There seems to be some confusion in the world of motor vehicle operation, which has allowed drivers to hover in the left lane for inordinate distances, thereby causing all kinds of motor vehicle safety issues.

Simply put, get the heck out of the left lane!

Years ago, we all went to the local Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license office to procure our original driver’s license. We all remember the little driver’s manual booklet that we pored over for weeks while attending the driver’s class. We all remember mom and dad taking us to the largest vacant parking lot in town to practice all the basics of automobile operation before they let us venture out on the real roads with our driver’s permit.

Then, of course, we all remember the pit in our stomachs when the big day came and it was our turn to get in the car with the instructor from the DMV who would hold our fate as vulnerable teenagers in their hands and actually give us our final driving test.

Oh, the apprehension of that parallel park adventure! Would we be able to pull it off without running up on the curb or tapping the bumper of the car behind us? What if the delicate maneuver we had successfully practiced a hundred times before suddenly escaped us and was replaced by a cold blank stare for a job not so well done? The anxiety of a life without wheels, having to depend on mom and dad to get around and not being the cool guy with a driver’s license. The pressure was unbearable!

But then, as is often the case in life, the preparation was more than adequate to secure our fate behind the wheel, and off we went merrily forgetting all the detailed rules of the road — to be replaced with a casual attitude about safe driving tips and generally being a considerate driver when it comes to sharing the road.

The DMV Colorado Driver Handbook clearly states that slower traffic should stay in the right lane. Electronic overhead signs on Interstate 70 are blazoned with reminders that the left lane is the passing lane and the right lane is the travel lane. Road information signs on all roadways are firm in their instructions to stay right except to pass. Even the Holy Bible exhorts us to put goats on the left and sheep on the right.

Yet, despite all these earthly and heavenly warnings, many drivers these days insist on lingering in the left lane, inconsiderately forcing other drivers to pass them on the right where the blind spot is more dangerous and the chances of a collision are much greater. Is it lack of attention or a perceived threat to one’s ego to block the steady flow of traffic by hovering in the left lane? It should not be taken as a personal insult if someone passes you on the left, not a measure of your masculinity or their socioeconomic dominance over you. Rather, be considerate by maintaining steady traffic flow and reducing log jams along the way.

You don’t need to occupy the left lane slowing down 4 miles before you make a left turn. Cruise in the right lane until a half-mile before your left turn, and then casually slide over and execute the turn. Smile at other drivers as you show them that you confidently know the rules of the road.

The multimillion-dollar, four-lane completion between Breckenridge and Frisco has been a godsend for moving traffic volume compared to the two-lane torture of the previous road. However, today’s left-lane huggers have reduced that speedy four-lane express to its former slow self by plugging the left lane at the same speed, or lack thereof, of those cars in the right lane.

So, the Friscenridge bottleneck creeps along, waiting for a Florida license plate to vacate the left lane or an impatient ZL plate to bust a death-defying move around multiple cars in the right lane, throwing gravel up from the shoulder.

All that unnecessary stress could be easily eliminated by getting the heck out of the left lane. Let’s all move to the right and make life better for everyone.

Kim McGahey’s column “Conservative Common Sense” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. McGahey is a real estate broker, tea party activist and Republican candidate. He has lived in Breckenridge since 1978. Contact him at

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