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Traffic on Highway 401 in Toronto (file photo) (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)
Traffic on Highway 401 in Toronto (file photo) (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)

The Rant

What’s the most annoying behaviour on the road? Add to ...

It’s easy to make a list of things that other drivers do to infuriate you. A Top 10 list takes a minute; a Top 100 might take just a few more. But what about the Top One? What’s the worst behaviour we encounter on the highway, and the worst one we find on our city streets?

There are two kinds of bad: the reckless, dangerous things like drunk drivers and the irritating, though far more prevalent, things like left lane hogs. That, no doubt, is why pylons in the passing lane seem to top every list of Worst Offenders. The left lane hog destroys the flow of traffic and impedes everyone’s progress. One stone, many ripples.

The argument devolves quickly. Speed limit versus flow of traffic, oblivious drivers making mistakes versus those enjoying every minute of your rage. Police are rarely going to lay a charge against someone doing the speed limit even in the passing lane, unless it’s a rig specifically banned from that lane. They will in Quebec, where passing on the right is illegal, but you still have that option elsewhere. The traffic act is full of words like “should”, but then again, it still addresses “vehicles or equestrians” in the same breath.

And so blood pressures rise, and foolish, bad drivers create more havoc on our already overburdened highways.

The worst in the city? I think it’s a variation on the highway left-lane blocker: You’re at a red light, four-lane road without a centre turn lane. The light turns green, and the first car decides to finally put on its indicator to make a left. If you’re a decent driver, you’ve been watching ahead for those signalling turns to adapt your placement. You’ve acted to keep the flow of traffic moving. Now, a string of cars are trapped that didn’t have to be, and people prepare to dart into the right lane in order to make the light – to keep traffic moving.

Left-lane abuse makes our bad thoroughfares worse. For me, it’s about traffic flow.

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