Commentary: Be courteous, no matter which lane you're in


No matter what race I run, somehow walkers and slower runners end up on the left side of the course, sometimes three or four abreast. Race etiquette dictates the slow folks stay to the right so the serious runners can pass.

Same for drivers. Why do slow-poke drivers clog up the left lane of the road? Georgia and Alabama have a law making it illegal to drive in the left lane at a slow speed that impedes traffic flow.

Plus, slow drivers are a safety issue. According to an Institute of Transportation Engineers Study, those driving ten miles per hour slower than traffic are six times as likely to be involved in an accident.

I must confess, I’m a left-lane driver who usually “flows with the traffic.” Too often, even though I strive to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), I end up driving in the flesh. I get impatient when I get stuck behind someone who is not in the hurry I’m in.

However, it really gets me when I’m driving the speed limit or slightly over and someone rides my bumper with lights flashing and eyes bulging. That’s when I wish I had the bumper sticker, “Do You Follow Jesus This Closely?”

My right foot is too heavy at times, I admit. Around town I usually drive the speed limit, but on the open road, I catch myself going five to ten mph over the speed limit (even pastors have imperfections). I’m not proud of this, but one summer on vacation, I got pulled over in a federal park for going 34 in a 25-mph speed zone. I got a warning, thank goodness.

Most often, I’m like plenty of folks going the speed limit and still ticking off drivers riding our bumper. Often, we can’t get over because the car on the right is going the speed limit. If we increase our speed, we’d be the person pulled over for speeding since we’re leading the pack. If we slow down to pull behind the car on the right, that just irritates the trailing driver even more.

There have been many times when I’m going five mph over in the left lane of a Fayette County highway, and still some driver flies up behind me, flashes his lights and acts like he’s on the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

I’ve got to tell you, that ticks me off. Did you know preachers can be ticked off? Maybe I’ve been one who adds to this road rage ruckus because if you ride my bumper when I’m already going over the speed limit, buddy, you’re in too big a hurry. And if you have the nerve to flash your lights, normally I take my time moving over. 

You can seethe and stomp and spit all day long until you back off my bumper. And if you keep on building rage, one of those protruding blood vessels may just pop right out of your neck.

I wouldn’t want that to happen, so I’ll make a deal with you. From now on, if for some reason you think you have to go faster than I’m already speeding, if you’ll back off my bumper, then I’ll move over as soon as I have the first opportunity.

Leave it to a preacher to bring up the bottom line of this whole left-lane, right-lane issue. 

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned kindness and courtesy, even on the road? Where did “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph. 4:32) go? Do we lose all patience when we get behind the wheel? Irritations and pet peeves aside, are we really in that big a hurry? 

Isn’t life too short to get out of sorts over some pokey driver? What kind of witness are we presenting when we drive? What are we teaching our children? What example are we setting?

Instead of seeing the slow as a nuisance, is it possible to see these left-lane laggards as a reminder for us to slow down and enjoy the drive? To stop and smell the roses? Let’s just be nice out there. And as you fly by me, I’ll give you a friendly nod and the warmest wave I can.


Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit for more information or to view online options. Visit to see more of Chancey’s writings, including how to order his books.