A peculiar quirk of some Whidbey Island drivers is to travel slightly under the speed limit on the highway, creating a line of cars that are forced to go the same speed.
Worse is when the driver refuses to pull aside to let others pass. When the slow driver gets to the passing lane, inevitably he or she speeds up to avoid letting speedier cars get by.
They should knock it off, and police should take the problem more seriously.
An online poll in the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record bears this out. Readers were asked how they feel people drive on the island. The most popular answer by far was that they “drive too slow and don’t let others pass.”
This is illegal behavior. The law states that “no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.”
Yet it is rare that police pull anyone over for driving too slow, though it’s just as unlawful as speeding. Which is odd since one would think police get tired of people driving especially slow when they see a car with a light bar coming up behind them.
During summers, the Washington State Patrol usually has a campaign to prevent “left lane camping,” which is when a driver stays in the far left lane of a multi-lane highway. The troopers warn people that it’s not their job to regulate traffic.
The State Patrol says that left-lane camping contributes to road rage and traffic snarls.
On Whidbey’s two-lane highways, it’s more like only-lane camping, but the effects are similar. Blood boils, traffic gets backed up, drivers tailgate and people sometimes make risky passes to get by a lumbering vehicle.
It’s understandable that young or aging drivers might drive slow out of fear or hesitation, but it’s unclear why others see no problem with impeding the flow of traffic. They like the power? They enjoy making people late to pick up their kids or meet their Tinder date?
They should know that they are not making the roads safer, and they definitely aren’t having a positive impact on the cardiovascular health of Whidbey residents.
One reader who responded to the newspaper poll wrote that officials “need to create a Prius lane.”
The same goes for RVs.