Move Over – It’s The Law

[ 5 ] Comments

by Bonnie

I was driving home on the freeway from an appointment and thought of a recent picture I’d seen on facebook. On a bridge view of the freeway someone had added a purple swath over the inside lane — what we call the HOV lane but what many use as the go-really-fast lane — and typed text about Utah’s move-over law.

If you don’t live here, we have a law that states that slower traffic must move to the right and allow faster traffic to drive in the inside lanes. It’s commonly called the “move-over law” and people can get rather irate about it for such a highly religious population. So if you’re on one of the inside two lanes of our 8-12 lane freeway and someone has to slow down, they will weave or honk or gesture animatedly.

The real move-over law, however, addresses the obligation we have to move over a lane for emergency or law enforcement personnel who may be stopped on the right, and is intended to protect those who must work close to fast-moving traffic. It’s also commonly employed across the nation for the protection of construction workers. Interesting that we’ve hijacked the name of a safety law for a law about being inconvenienced.

I do tend to drive like a grandma anymore (a significant change from my long commute past), and I don’t feel the need to slow down those who consciously break the law in the inner lanes, so most of the time I drive in the middle or toward the right. As I watched someone weaving, braking, and jumping forward angrily, however, I wondered about a law that makes it illegal to obey the posted law if that interferes with someone else’s ability to freely break it.

I wondered what our society would be like if we applied that widely to other laws or social mores. “You’re in my way. Move over. It’s the law.”

  • What do you think?

About Bonnie

Living life determined to skid sideways into the grave and say, "MAN, what a ride!"

5 Responses to Move Over – It’s The Law

  1. ji says:

    “You’re in my way. Move over. It’s the law.”

    Very bad — very selfish…

    But there is another perspective. I don’t want to put a stumblingblock in your way. I’ll voluntarily get out of your way. or, The first shall be last and the last shall be first. You can be first today.

    When we codify what should instead be voluntary behavior, we create “rights” or expectations in others — they then DEMAND such behavior, rather than appreciating it when offered with gladness and forgiving it when not offered. This is my general attitude regarding social mores.

    Now, for the highway situation — in high-speed high-volume highways, it really, really, really is safer for slower-moving traffic to move to the right. It really is selfish and inconsiderate for a slow-poke to stay the left lane, and unsafe. For reasons of safety and efficiency, I can support a move-over law — but not for reasons of satisfying the anger of the person behind the slow-poke.

    • MSKeller says:

      “When we codify what should instead be voluntary behavior, we create “rights” or expectations in others — they then DEMAND such behavior, rather than appreciating it when offered with gladness and forgiving it when not offered. ”

      So true Ji. That tends to make ME irate, and less-than-charitable when I feel unappreciated.

      Though I expect the second paragraph would require a definition of a ‘slow-poke’. Is 10 mph over the limit too slow? Is ON the limit ‘too slow’? It tends to be defined as, ‘anyone slower than I want to drive’ being labeled so. I do have a problem with that.

  2. Paul says:

    I live in a state where interstate freeway traffic rarely is slower than 75 mph and often approaches 85 or 90. Staying the left hand lane going slowly is dangerous and dumb.

    One shouldn’t move over because someone is behind him; one should move over because it’s the right thing to do. Keep right except to pass…

    We have another law in our state: in the presence of emergency vehicles with lights flashing, pull over and stop. Usually on the freeway, no one gets to stopping by the time the emergency vehicle has passed, but on surface streets, everyone stops for the emergency vehicles.

    I a gospel sense, should I get out of someone’s way who prefers to sin? Probably. Even though I would like to prevent my children from sinning, I cannot control their behavior. (That’s not to say i should faciliate their transgressions.) I can teach them, even incentivize their good behavior, but I cannot force them. (I can certainly impose consequences for bad behavior in minor children, or even adult children.) Sitting in the fast lane to keep the guy behind me from speeding is not good driving, nor is it good parenting.

    • MSKeller says:

      How about staying within the speed limits for your own integrity of the law? Should every driver be forced to go faster than the law because ‘everyone’ (in every lane!) tends to do so? That is what bugs me to death. I admittedly usually go 10 miles above the limit when everyone else is jetting along, but I’m not willing to risk ‘excessive speed’ for it. When do we draw the line between the law and safety? There isn’t always a ‘slow lane’ to meander along in.

  3. Viv says:

    Very curious. I just thougt you wrote about you experiences in driving on a german highway, where these rules are more strict due to no speed limit areas.

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