Traffic Q&A: Let tailgaters pass, and help curb road rage

Staff writerDecember 30, 2013 

Question: I just read your article about driving in the left lane (Dec. 23: “Move to right lane even if you think other guy’s speeding”) and wanted ask about a similar but different circumstance.

I often use the HOV lanes between here and Seattle, frequently traveling 63 mph to 65 mph. Even at that speed, drivers come up on my tail end as if the HOV lane is a high-speed lane.

I’ll move over, but I hate it because changing lanes is risky business.

Should I stay put and let the speeders figure out that it is they who need to move over into the high-speed lane?

I'll move over rather than be the source of road rage, but it makes me mad, too. — Norm Bellamy, Tacoma

Answer: You’re under no legal obligation to move over for the guy on your tail when you’re in an HOV lane, and your reluctance is understandable, considering you would have to merge into traffic that may be moving faster than you are.

Even so, law enforcement officials suggest that you do get out of the speeder’s way — cautiously — for the sake of everybody’s safety.

“There is no law requiring either vehicle to change lanes in such a situation, and you do not have a legal obligation to do so,” said trooper Guy Gill, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol. “However, I suggest that it’s usually best for the slower vehicle in the HOV lane to move over — when it’s safe to do so,” Gill said. “This allows the aggressive driver by and could prevent a road-rage incident.”

“One of our main focuses is targeting aggressive drivers,” Gill said. “Let them by and let us worry about them from that point forward.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

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