Monday, July 30, 2007

HOV Lanes - Love 'em, hate em

If you are looking for something Oracle related, this isn't the post. More will come soon though!

Here in Utah, and many other places I've lived (Chicago, Seattle) we have High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on some of the interstates. In Utah they offer what they call "Express Passes" which allow you to travel in the HOV lane, even if you are a OOV (One Occupancy Vehicle). These are limited passes (I think about 2000 are available) and are available by subscription on a monthly basis.

Of course, when they first came out (just a few months ago) I had to have one! They cut my commute time to about 20 minutes or so one way (from maybe 40-45 minutes one way on good days, an hour on bad ones). They are worth the $50.00! Nothing is more fun than driving by at 60MPH while the other lanes of traffic are sitting there, stopped. zoom.... zoom... zoom...

So, I was driving in the HOV lane, and getting really aggravated today. Let me list my pet peeves..

1. Why do people who, with only one passenger in the vehicle and no express pass, think it's OK to just pull into the HOV lane and drive? Why is it that people can't just follow the rules?

2. The HOV lanes have restricted entry areas designated by dashed lines. Most of the HOV lane is protected by solid lines that you are not supposed to cross. So, traffic to your right is at a stand still, you are in the HOV lane moving at a good clip and WAM, some person in a truck ten foot tall with only one occupant swerves into your lane illegally and at about 10 MPH.
Again, why can't people follow the rules? Ahhhh... for the days of Mad Max and 60mm machine guns mounted on your hood.

3. Then, there is always the person in the HOV lane who wants to drive at about 1.25 percent of the speed of the people in the other lanes. This is ok, until the other lanes are running at about 15 MPH, which means we run at around 20MPH. I don't get this..... You look about 8 cars forward and it's wide open lane. DRIVE FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!

So, there is my HOV lane rant. I fully realize that the importance of these problems falls somewhere between solving the question of the source of a rancid smell and what to have for dinner tonight, but if I don't rant about it, who will? :-)


Bill said...

Answer to #1: Because Utah doesn't enforce HOV compliance enough like they do in San Fran. There the officers are too frequent, and the fines too high, to risk a little "dip" into the HOV lane.

Back in '97, in the Bay Area, the HOV was so fast and coveted, people were actually buying those blow up "safety man" gizmos to make it look like they had a passenger. The police caught on pretty quick because that same moustached guy in hat and sunglasses was showing up in several cars in succession.

Jared said...

Re folks driving slowly in the HOV Lane:

I would guess that folks are driving slowly in the HOV lane because the traffic in the adjacent lane is stopped. They are likely afraid of someone jumping out in front of them.

Not a pleasant thought at 60 MPH.

Robert Freeman said...

>> They are likely afraid of
>> someone jumping out in front
>> of them.
So, if people would just obey the *LAW* and not cross the double white lines, no problems. The problem is a cultural one, we all think we are above some law or another because *WE* are in more of a rush than anyone else. It's simple, DON'T CROSS THE LINES when you are not supposed to, HOV lane, drive the speed limit when wide open.

I remember a terrible accident I saw in the Seattle area because some single driver thought he had some right to the HOV lane. He stomped on his breaks when he saw a cop up ahead, and tried to cut into the adjacent lane... caused all sorts of problems and accidents.

Jared said...

> So, if people would just obey the
> *LAW* and not cross the double
> white lines, no problems.


One of the tenets of defensive driving is to anticipate the unexpected. It might be the law, but I don't expect it to be rigorously obeyed.

The situation you described is similar to one I encountered last year.

Since I was driving slower than necessary, the person that pulled out in front of me caused less damage to my car than if I had been doing the speed limit.

I can understand the frustration of going slower than the speed limit while in the HOV lane.

I also understand the other perspective as well.

Robert Freeman said...

And I do drive defensive, which is why it irks me even more... :-)

What is it that Paul Harvey says, about self government without self-discipline...

John said...

Ooo! And maybe their driving slow in the HOV cause they don't KNOW any better :). Or maybe they do it cause their timid and can't break it open past 54 1/2 mph. Back in D.C. the HOV was for driving as fast as possible, safely.

Another Ooo! In D.C. they strictly enforced driving in the HOV during the hours of 7AM and 7PM. After that, one could use it as a passing lane. Hum... maybe UDOT could learn from other HOV efforts.

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