I am Seattle Traffic

Welcome to IamSeattleTraffic.org. Personal Responsibility is the Cure to the Commute.

I encourage you to read the Welcome post and to learn more about The Universal Goals of the Commute, Driving In Congestion, and Traffic Zen.

Some other fun ones are Pac-Manning, Don't Stop Moving, and The Flying V.

Spread the word by printing up a FREE poster or purchasing an attractive and informative bumper sticker. It will lead to more enlightenment.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Careful Passing and the Flying V on Seattle Highways

There is a phenomenon I have witnessed on Seattle's highways. That of people driving at the same speed next to each other. This is much akin to geese flying in formation.

Don't create the flying V. This is wrong. People should just be getting into the passing lane (that is the left one for those of you moving here from the other hemisphere) unless you intend to pass somebody. If you aren't passing, please refrain from using this lane. The space is primarily there to enable PASSING not CRUISING.

If you are being passed by cars in the right lane, you probably should not be in the left (passing) lane. This key indicator, cars passing you with people shaking their fists in the air, is a signal for you to get back into the non-passing lane.

If you do, in fact, decide to pass someone in the left lane, please return to the non-passing lane when you are done and you will be helping reduce congestion and will be helping Seattle with its traffic problem.

A final note, passing is one the most dangerous components of driving. According to IVI, lane changes account for 10% of crashes. When you're passing, be extremely careful with each lane change; signal your intentions by turning on your signal long before changing lanes; and be respectful of the other vehicles on the road. Also, be extra careful on the 24th since it's Drive Nice Day!


copykit said...

Something important to realize is that if you're going the same speed as someone else, just sit behind them and leave plenty of room. There's no need to get into a different lane.

If you're passing, pass with conviction. Don't just go 1MPH more. Indicate, change lanes, accelerate, indicate, change lanes again.

If you find that you're swerving around passing people, perhaps you haven't found The True Speed Limit and are Changing Lanes More than Necessary anyway.

Anonymous said...


Just because you aren't in a hurry or don't wish to drive at or above the speed limit doesn't mean that's how everyone else feels. It is not your job or duty to "enforce" the speed limit by camping in the left lane. Not only is it against the law (slower traffic keep right, etc.) it creates a more dangerous traffic pattern with people passing on the right and adds additional lane changes that wouldn't normally be occurring on the road.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I find fun. The fact that copykit use to drive like a damn race car driver, and now all of a sudden your the seattle traffic police... maybe you should let the poeople who are getting paid to do that, do their job.

Just a thought... Have a 'safe driving' day!!

escott said...

I would like to point out that the carpool lane is not a fast lane, so, in a way the passing lane is used by both sides...

copykit said...

If traffic is moving faster to the right, what's the point of being the in the carpool lane?

I think that a lot of people think they are supposed to stay in that lane just becuase they have 2+ people, but in reality, they should probably just use it as a passing lane with an occupancy restriction.

copykit said...

anonymous said: The fact that copykit use to drive like a damn race car driver, and now all of a sudden your the seattle traffic police...

I used to drive fast, and sometimes still do, but I do it safely and definitely not in congestion. I'm not trying to police anyone. I want everyone to blame themselves (as I blame myself) for their contribution to traffic.

The reason we have traffic is because there are cars on the road, and because of how they drive. We can fix this problem, but only if we take responsibility for our actions.

escott said...

I think people stay in the 2+ lane because it almost always moves faster during heavy traffic, so you don't necessarily have to speed. or be 'fastest' in the passing lane to use it. When it doesn't you would think you could move around into the 'fast' lane, but there is rarely a spot to go by, maybe it's the high congestion, maybe it's ignorance in the fast lane

isn't it safer to stay in a lane?

copykit said...

In congestion, yes, the HOV lane is the place to stay if you can. (The place where this is most messed up is on 520. I think they're talking about moving the HOV to the left though.)

I was saying that if traffic wasn't that bad, you could just use the HOV as a passing lane (following the "stay right except to pass law).

But since fewer cars can go in the HOV, it usually is less congested, and therefore it makes sense to stay in that lane if you can. The exception is if you don't want to move as fast as the rest of traffic and you cause a slowdown. You should get in a lane that's oving your speed then.