Slowpokes, don’t look in our rearview mirror now, but they’re coming to get you.
A South Carolina legislator has pre-filed yet another bill targeting the bane many motorists: the lollygaggers poking along in the so-called fast lane.
Last week, we wrote about a retired Beaufort County newspaper editor complaining about slowpokes in the passing lane. It was even suggested we may avoid building new roads by simply using the lanes we’ve already got the way they’re supposed to be used.
Over the weekend, Seanna Adcox reported in The Post and Courier of Charleston: “Slowpoke drivers in the passing lane could be fined hundreds of dollars under proposed bill.”
That should get our attention along U.S. 278 in Beaufort County. We’ve got all the ingredients for a left-lane meltdown.
We’ve got vans full of vacationers roaring in, trying to set new land-speed records for a drive from Ohio to Hilton Head Island with no bathroom stops. We’ve got locals poking along the same street trying to find Best Buy. As a retirement haven, we’ve got the elderly who don’t know what planet they’re on, much less what lane they’re in. As a resort, we’ve probably got a little more than your average number of drunks. And everyone else is staring at their cell phones.
Adcox reports that it’s already illegal for slowpokes to hog the passing lane. The fine can be $100, but enforcement is a question. More than 1,100 tickets were written last year, but that could also include people who cross the center line, she reports, and it’s unknown how many motorists were actually fined.
Greenville Republican Sen. Ross Turner has pre-filed a bill that would slap another $200 onto the penalty for slowpokes.
It’s seen as a safety issue.
State law already addresses like this:
“Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.”
Notice that not even the lawmakers have the nerve to mention a so-called speed limit.
My unprofessional guess at the “normal speed of traffic” on U.S. 278 in southern Beaufort County, also known as the Bluffton Autobahn, would be 70 mph.
So no wonder the poor clod going 45 mph might appear to be a little edgy.
Here’s how a reader described it in response to last week’s column:
“Thanks, Dave. Please kindly inform your former editor that if he’s riding right up on my bumper like many other speeders do, trying to intimidate me into getting out of their $%^&* way, I slow down gradually to aggravate them even more, and to ‘motivate’ them to go around. But, can you explain to me what that middle finger raised high in the air thru their BMW/Range Rover/Lexus/Cadillac moon roofs as they race past me means?”
Into this fray come a couple of electronic signs now parked on the side of U.S. 278, with this mysterious message:
“Obey All Traffic Laws.”
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
As I lollygagged through South Carolina’s traffic laws online, I hit the print button. The regulations on traffic and highways would fill 80 pages — including the definition of an indecent bumper sticker, which seemed to me too indecent to print in a family newspaper.
Be that as it may, there’s apparently always room for one more poke at the slowpokes. Slowpokes, unite. They’re gaining on you.