As much as I hate to complain (really, I don’t like when others do, so I try to avoid complaining as much as possible), I can’t help to bring something to the attention of all drivers — especially drivers in L.A.

First, let me start by saying that if you don’t live in Los Angeles and drive the freeways (yes, that’s what they are called, except if you buy your FasTrak pass to drive in the — once designated carpool lane — FasTrak lane on the 110, otherwise known as the HOV lane), you don’t know traffic. Sometimes I peruse through my IG account and see my fellow IGers taking pictures of their “traffic” in other states and I say, “Oh, you have ‘traffic?’ That’s cute.” It’s cute that anyone driving anywhere other than in L.A., the capital of single-driver cars and the 405 closures dubbed, “Carmagendon,” or, “Jamzilla,” believes he really has “traffic.” Here’s the rub: Driving the freeways and highways here is a super power skill, and one which is not afforded to everyone who gets behind the wheel.

The short article from Island 98.5 via Drop It And Drive (D.I.A.D.)‘s FB page sums up what is probably the biggest complaint we have driving in the fast lanes:

Introducing ‘The Passing Lane!’ – do you know the difference between a perceived ‘right’ to drive in the outside lane vs breaking the law?

It doesn’t matter if you’re going the speed limit. You may feel like you’re doing the right thing by slowing a speeder down, or you may feel it’s your RIGHT to drive in any lane you ‘darn well please.’

You’re not. It’s not.
And you ARE breaking the law.

Here’s how it is DESIGNED to work:
You’re in what you think is just like any other lane except that it’s ‘fast’. Someone approaches you from behind at 64mph (and you look down to see you’re going 57mph and you switch to your smug ‘justified’ face because the sign says 55). While rather close in proximity, the driver begs you to move over.

Oh, how you should.

But you don’t.

The driver tries to be patient and now cars start lining up behind both of you. There’s a quick flash of the brights, (Which means the driver would like to pass) and if you look up from your phone you either move over, or your ego decides that you’ll be stubborn (and in some cases actually slow down ON PURPOSE). In most cases you don’t even notice the signal (flash to pass) but you just start complaining about the guy riding your bumper.

Now there’s four or five vehicles lining up behind you while you have a LOT of distance ahead of you and enough room to move over. Now the sixth vehicle back finally jets across two lanes of traffic to go around not only you and the cars behind you, but but also around the slower cars in the two lanes to your right, only to find that there’s no GOOD reason for you to be IN THE WAY.

Note that he used the ‘SLOW’ lane to do this in and dangerously passes on the right.

Move over. You don’t have to be stubborn. It’s not your lane. You don’t have to be self-righteous. Please be part of the solution. Don’t cause traffic jams and contribute to road rage.

I like to pride myself on being a safe, offensive and defensive driver. I’ve been driving since I was about 12 (my big brother would take me to the mall parking lot and teach me to drive in his blue Ford pick-up truck and taught me how to maneuver the ski boat hitched to the back, too) and learned how to drive a manual VW Bug at age 16. I like to drive fast. I like to be in control behind the wheel. I like to drive like a…well, ur, uh…a dude! Not an SOB dude, the kind that will never admit that he doesn’t, in fact,  own the lane in which he is slowing down, or the kind that wants to “teach a thing or two” about driving too fast in the fast lane. No. I’m more like the confident dude. The one that actually recognizes motorcycles passing and one that acknowledges when another driver pays a courtesy to me. I know it’s a sexist statement and I’m the first to be in the forefront of gender equality on the job and such, but most of us females drive like…well, ur, uh…girls. And women are either extremely rude or extremely polite drivers, but most are just oblivious that they are even behind the wheel of a ton of potentially dangerous and fatal hurt if they make one wrong move.

Before my two daughters began to drive at 16 years old each, the one thing I made sure that they learned, among knee steering and blind spot checks, was my mantra, “Drive faster, or get out of the way.” Both my girls know this. I’ve engrained it in their brains, “OK. Now, if someone is behind you while you are in a left lane, and he flashes his lights, or is tail-gating you, make sure you pull over to the right lane and allow him to pass you.” I would add that on a two-lane highway, to be sure to double check your lane lines (broken is safe; solid is not) and the on-coming traffic, and ALWAYS thank the driver you’re passing. Acknowledge the driver’s passing lane etiquette. When my girls and I would drive together while I’m behind the wheel and we approach a slow car in the fast lane, I’d ask them, “What do you say, girls?” They’d repeat my mantra on queue, “Drive faster, or get out of the way.” Perfect. They’ve got this.

I feel good about making sure my girls are not going to add to the ongoing traffic congestion and the slow-thinking, slow-reacting, slow drivers in the fast lanes. I made my contribution to society: Two well-trained female drivers who know how to keep up or get out of the way. I believe that this traffic mantra has translated to a life mantra, too. So, there. Two birds, or life lessons, with one stone, or one mantra.

While I don’t want to advocate unsafe speeds, I do want to advocate the necessity of knowing lane etiquette and watching your six — you know, the cars behind you. Is it going to be so awful to “get out of the way?” Will you lose face if you acknowledge that you aren’t going to drive over 55? Just move. Just move.

And don’t even get me started on Prius owners….