Summer construction zones


So it’s summertime, and that means road construction season is heating up along with the temperature. There’s a lengthy stretch of Interstate 20 east of Birmingham, Ala., that’s being widened, but for now, it’s a narrow two-lane path up and down fairly steep grades. OK, if you live in the Rockies, these hills would seem fairly mundane, but around these parts, they’re quite intimidating when the roads are skinny and you’re a few inches away from the side of a dry van trailer.

The signs along this stretch tell truck drivers to stay in the left lane – presumably to make it easier for cars to merge onto the highway into the right lane since the entrance/merge lanes essentially don’t exist right now. And for the most part, the truckers oblige, staying on course at the posted 45 mph speed limit in the left lane as they’re told to do.

Now, what I don’t get – and my wife agrees with me vehemently (a rarity, but that’s another story) – is the cars that stay behind the trucks in the left lane. Granted, the left lane normally is for passing slower right-lane traffic, and most drivers get used to obeying the “official” rules of the road. But on any given day on this stretch, there’ll be a long line of four-wheelers behind a big rig making his way up a substantial hill while he’s obeying the construction signage.

Now, you know as well as I do that a truck climbing a hill and hauling a load is going to slow down somewhat. But here the cars still stay behind these trucks, like they expect them to speed up or get over in the right lane. Meanwhile, my wife and I cruise along in the right lane at the posted speed limit – and pass all of the morons. It’s happened more times than I can remember.

Truckers, if you’re reading this, don’t tell any four-wheel drivers you know that the right lane is the place to be in a construction zone. It’s our little secret.