Monday, July 11, 2011

Highway Lanes

Just went on a family road trip to the USA. I drove 1/3 of the time. We rotated between people (my parents and I) so that no one drove for more than 2 hours. I discovered some key points about highway safety. Namely the unique identity of each lane.

Firstly the difference between a highway and a normal road is that there are no red lights or stop signs on highways. That being said cars drive faster. But you knew all that.

Highways come in 3 varieties for me, the 2-lanes, 3-lanes and 4+- lanes. I shall now attempt to use my ascii skills to explain the essentials about each lane.

2-Lane Highways

These highways are usually located in rural areas or places that don't usually get a lot of traffic.

Right-hand lane          <-- {car}      <-- [truck]  
Left-hand lane    <--- {car}     <---- {car}               <--- {car}

In Right-hand lane (90-115 km/h)

  • Trucks: they can't drive too fast, they run on a different speed limit and it's generally more dangerous if a giant truck crashes. Momentum and what not.
  • Cars getting on and off the highway
  • Cars that follow the speed limit
  • Cars that're are lazy and want to just cruise by
  • Cars that have a hard time accelerating 
In Left-hand lane (115+ km/h)
  • Cars attempting to get to their destination faster
  • Cars that are trying to overtake slower cars in right-hand lane
  • Extremely reckless drivers
3-Lane Highways

These highways are usually still found in rural or less crowded areas, but generally come from or are going to a major city.

Right-hand lane         <-- [truck]          <- {car}
Middle lane         <-- {car}               <-- {car}          <-- [truck]
Left-hand lane           <--- {car}                   <------ {car}

Right-hand Lane (90-110 km/h)
  • Trucks
  • Cars getting on and off of highway
  • Cars driving religious by the speed limit
Middle Lane (110-120 km/h)
  • Cars just cruising by
  • Some trucks
  • Cars trying to over take slow vehicles in the right-hand lane
Left-hand Lane (120+ km/h)
  • Cars trying to over take a relatively slow care in the middle lane 
  • Insane speeding drivers
Often I find that the right-hand lane can turn into a faster lane because a lazy cruising driver in the middle lane's slowing people down and people are more wary of being in the left-hand lane where the insane speeders drive. In fact these categories are just a general thing, once the left-hand lane turned into the slowest lane for me. 

I'm not going to bother commenting on highways with more than 3 lanes because there, anything goes. And there's that added complexity of the High Occupancy Lane sometimes for major highways. 

All in all, I think this road trip was extremely educational. 

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