Thought on left lane hogging.

This is a Spanish highway, the A-52 to be more exact, people here have such a savage respect (or fear?) of the highway code that the right hand lane is really shitty. It’s been fixed badly many times due to all of the potholes formed, and the patches they use are huge but they do not interfere with the left hand lane: the passing lane, which is always empty unless you’re passing.

What I noticed when I drove from Madrid to Vigo was that in many sections of the highway you don’t see anyone for kilometers ahead or back. So, rather than sitting in the badly fixed side of the highway with all of the patched potholes and the unpatched ones, I decided to stay in the passing lane, all alone, doing an indicated 130km/h. Whenever I saw a car in my rear view mirror I’d scoot back to the right lane and have them overtake me (even if I was doing *more* than the speed limit). Needless to say I was more vigilant of my mirror while hogging the lane.


Yesterday I went to Santiago, which is served by the AG-53; a toll highway. Since this is an arterial highway in Galicia no section is ever empty, but there’s never traffic to speak of. It was raining a bit, but nothing to be worried about doing 125km/h with all season tires. The lane on the left of the highway was wet, but not covered in water, and the lane on the right was filled with pools of water that would be quite unsafe. Yet, everyone was on the right lane! They had to go slower there because it was less safe, and I decided not to be part of the stupids and go to the left hand lane, doing the limit. Same considerations as before: if I see someone, I move.

No one tried to overtake me, but I thought I was being abusive, so I switched to the right lane and my car juddered during the transition due to the pools, and slowed down noticeably on its own as well. I also noticed it was a bit harder to control and I was leaving a tall tail of spay behind. Even doing the speed limit was unsafe in the right hand lane. If the left hand lane was lightly wet, the right hand lane was soaked. I suspect it’s because it’s used a lot more often and the pavement doesn’t perform as well due to all the wear and tare.

But hogging the left lane is illegal in Spain, and with good reason; lane hoggers are the worst.. but I feel that in this situation in particular educating people on when it’s appropriate to use lanes and when not to is better than outright prohibiting. Its safer to hog the left lane when the pavement on the right lane is of low quality. Considering that the safest thing to do is slowing down of course, but no one will do that... I can imagine many people would do 120km/h in very bad conditions due to being on a rush or simply thinking their car can stay at that speed, so why not teach everyone to use the left lane if it’s safer unless there’s someone wanting to overtake them? then they slow down a little and transition safely into the right lane?

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