Solving the problem of non-users of slow vehicle turnout lanes
Slow-moving traffic can interrupt a good enthusiastic drive. What could help people use overtaking lanes properly?
Imagine that scene; you're in your car, you have some free time, and you are in that zone in where you're driving along a favourite stretch of road. It's an almost zen-like trance you've entered, where it's nothing but yourself, the road, and the vehicle you bought with your own hard-earned.
You smoothly curve through each turn, safely and expertly. You relish this moment of complete solitude in the secluded bit of tarmac you have all to yourself.
Right up until you're no longer alone.
Before you is another road user who is, let it be said, just as entitled to the road as you are. There is nothing wrong with their presence on the road, nut their pace is definitely at a pace that would dispatch fewer kilometres over an hour than your own.
"It's okay," you tell yourself, "there's a slow vehicle turnout not far ahead. I'll wait patiently and go past when they move over."
Except they don't.
They gleefully stay in the way, continuing to saunter around the twisties at a frustratingly sedate pace. If you're particularly uptight, like I am, you might imagine raising their noses in the air, and dismissively waving you away while saying, "No, dear boy. I am not a slow vehicle. Ergo, I am not using the 'slow vehicle turnout.'"
They then adjust their monocle, while ignoring the cavalcade of vehicles behind them.
Around the hills that border the city in which I live, the roads are narrow and curly. There are many blind corners, with obstacles obscuring the path and not permitting a view beyond a few metres. The Government has spent time and money carving out portions of hills and roads in order to build these "slow vehicle turnouts" which would allow less confident drivers a chance to move over and let other road users past safely and quickly.
Yet again and again, drivers do not use them, for reasons that I can only really guess involve ignorance or - in one specific example I can remember, which involved a very specific salute at me with a sole finger - malice. Neither reason is one that would build a harmonious road environment in where we could tip our caps to each other in some grateful gesture, reminiscent of honourable knights paying respects to a fellow member of the road.
Perhaps the problem is in the naming. "Slow Vehicle Turnouts". Perhaps some feel that the use the turnout lane is some kind of slight against their driving ability. By calling them "Slow Vehicle Turnouts" you might as well be calling them this:
"MOVE OVER INTO THE INFERIOR DRIVER PLAYPEN!!!!"
By suggesting that a driver move over for someone else, they perhaps think it's a reflection of their inability, rather than an acceptance of helping with the flow of traffic.
Whenever someone does actually use one of these lanes, I am deeply grateful. Perhaps more grateful than I probably should be, because I shouldn't need to express gratitude for someone doing a task that is the least that's expected of them. It isn't some great revelation; if you're blocking someone, move over.
But those who actually do move over, I call a "Legend". They are willing to just do what's right.
I am not one who will only whinge and complain. I want to be part of the solution. There's little point shouting into the wind, when this issue so desperately needs addressing.
So, I propose changing the name of the "Slow Vehicle Turnout" to something that actually incentivises their use. They should be called something that represents who actually uses them. Therefore, I propose:
LEGEND LANE (LEGENDS ONLY) - my Photoshop skills suck.
Think about it. Using one of these lanes can only be seen as a public good. Moving over and letting people past is an act of sincere charity.
There are those out there who will baulk at the idea, and possibly even revel in the fact that they aren't using their lanes. These trolls enjoy the idea that they are annoying others, and they exercise what little pathetic power they hold by being a nuisance and causing frustration. They "don't follow rules, man" and will occupy space, gathering whatever shallow "victory" they feel is worth it.
Ultimately forgetting that by being that kind of nuisance could result in those behind them taking unnecessary risks in order to overtake them, which could also result in them being caught in the collateral damage.
But that's okay. They don't have to use the Legend Lanes.
It's not FOR them.
Because they're not LEGENDS.