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Ashley's Avenue

A Lesson in Sufficient Driving
Interstate Driving That Is

by Ashley Murphy

As someone who drives the interstate twice a day, five days a week, I probably have one of the highest stress levels on this planet. Not by choice, so don't tell me to find another way. I can't. And I get frustrated and irritated very easily. Especially when what is causing me to get this way is sheer stupidity on the part of other people. This has led me to refresh a few people's minds with word and phrase definitions. The sentences in Italics are definitions provided by a general Google search. Everything else is my personal definition. Remember, don't get mad at me because you can't drive and are ticking off a heck of a lot of other people besides just myself. Enjoy!

Interstate - One of a system of expressways covering the 48 contiguous states.

Notice it says expressway. This is because it's usually a faster way to get from point A to point B, and the speed limit is usually much higher than standard county/city roads. The interstate is not for you if you can't keep the flow of traffic going! Especially between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you can't take hints and get the heck out of the way so traffic can flow smoothly, then don't travel it!

Entrance/Exit ramp
- A highway ramp (as in exit ramp and entrance ramp) or slip road is a short section of road which allows vehicles to enter or exit a freeway (motorway).

Ashley Murphy
People News Assitant Editor

Do you have questions or comments? If so, e-mail Ashley at:

Typically, when entering the interstate/freeway, one doesn't do it at 40 MPH. Accelerating to get up to speed so that you can merge in with traffic on the roadway is usually how I take an entrance ramp. Keep accelerating people! It's extremely difficult to merge with 70-80 MPH traffic when you're stuck behind an idiot going 40 MPH on the entrance ramp! And exit ramps are usually long enough that you can let off the gas, then after you get to the exit ramp, start braking. I really don't see a need to slam on the brakes in the middle of the interstate, a quarter of mile from the exit!

Fast Lane
- A lane of a highway for use by traffic that is moving more quickly than the rest.

The Internet definition pretty much says it all, but it seems people have a hard time understanding this for some reason. It's the lane on the farthest left hand side of the interstate. If you are in this lane, you should go with the flow of traffic. No matter how fast they're going. If you are holding up traffic, get over in the slow lane! If you get out of the slow lane to pass someone and there are people behind you, then hit the dang gas and move! And if it's raining and you want to take it slower, don't ride 60 MPH in the fast lane, get over in the slow lane!

Slow Lane - The traffic lane for vehicles that are moving slowly.

As I was explaining previously, this is the slow lane. The Google search definition summed this one up pretty well, too. It's the lane on the farthest right hand side of the interstate. If you can't hit your gas and speed your car up, then the right lane is where you need to be. Not in the left lane, the right lane! If you can't maintain the speed to NOT hold up fast lane traffic, then get over in this lane, the slow lane!

Hit the Gas - Go, go faster.

Precisely! That little pedal to the right of the brake, press your foot down on it! This makes the car go faster so that you can get out of the way!

Gas Pedal - Accelerator: a pedal that controls the throttle valve.

What I was talking about in the latter definition. It's the "go faster" pedal. Press it.

Brake - A device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, typically by applying pressure to the wheels.

It's the big pedal to the left of the gas. This should never be used in the fast lane except under legitimate circumstances. Even then, it is not to be mashed severely nearly causing (or possibly causing) a massive pile-up. For instance, if you see a cop, slamming on the brakes and nose-diving your front end and causing everyone behind you to almost wreck is moronic. The cop already clocked you before you ever even saw him, so slowing down to 10 miles below the speed limit or causing a wreck is not going to help your situation!

Blinker - A device that blinks, esp. a vehicle's turn signal.

These are those little flashy lights on the front and rear of your car that let people know when you're about to cut them off. I'm no saint, and don't always use these little warning contraptions, but I always try to do it when there is heavy traffic or if I'm less than a couple hundred feet from any other vehicles. How about some of you learn that, eh?

Rear-view mirrors - A rear-view mirror is a mirror in automobiles and other vehicles, designed to allow the driver to see rearward through the vehicle's backlight (rear windshield or windscreen).

How about looking up into this magic mirror to see the line of cars your holding up so you can get over out of the way, or hit that thing we call a gas pedal to go faster? Okay.

Side-view mirrors - A wing mirror (also fender mirror, door mirror, or side mirror) is a mirror found on the exterior of motor vehicles for the purposes of helping the driver see areas behind and to the sides of the vehicle, outside of the driver's peripheral vision (in the 'blind spot').

Yes, these are to be looked into before yanking your car over into the opposite lane and A.) Cutting someone off or B.) Running them off of the road. Just like a rear-view mirror, these are also very helpful to see approaching vehicles or the line of vehicles you're holding up, so you know to get out of the way.

Steering wheel - A wheel that a driver rotates in order to steer a vehicle.

The big round thing directly in front of you that you control with your hands. This thing controls your wheels, and when turned, will help you get out of everyone's way.

Speed limit - The maximum speed at which a vehicle may legally travel on a particular stretch of road.

So, speed limits are to be followed...according to the law. When on a roadway of any kind, the speed limit is determined by the people around you. Especially on an interstate. This is why there are multiple lanes, because of the large volume of other travelers. This is also why the speed limit is higher, many people trying to get somewhere at a faster rate of speed than using slow speed back roads. Again, if you're holding up traffic, no matter what your speed, move out of the dang way!

Police Officer - A policeman or policewoman.

These are any Patrol, State Troopers, DTF or Law Enforcement personnel that are placed on the roadways to enforce the law. They are sneaky and I understand that you don't want to get pulled over. That's why they make a slow lane. There is no need to slam brakes and nose-dive almost causing a pile-up. These officers should pull your dumb driving self over for doing such a thing. Simply let off the gas and get over. There's no need to stay in the fast lane if you insist on going below the speed limit just because you saw a cop. Yes? Yes.

Turning lane - A turning lane is a lane reserved for turning vehicles.

This is really unrelated to interstate driving, but this is also something that really chafes my hide. If there are normal driving lanes, then there is a lane designated specifically for turning vehicles, please, PLEASE tell me why people insisting on stopping in the middle of the normal driving lane like idiots when making a turn?! There's a turning lane there for a reason. USE IT!

Pretty self explanatory. And no, I do not need to go to therapy for road rage. People need to learn how to drive.

Now, pass it on!