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Can We Ticket Obnoxious Drivers?
updated: Dec 28, 2013, 11:45 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I just drove back from the Sacramento area after a Christmas family visit. I experienced the same traffic issues that I do everyday on 101 driving to UCSB. Obnoxious drivers who want to get ahead drive up open stretches in one lane and then force their way into the other lane when they encounter traffic.  Since most drivers don't want to chance an accident, they allow the obnoxious drivers to wedge into spaces so small that very unsafe conditions occur regularly.  My question is whether anyone has ever seen a cop stop this behavior or give a citation to the drivers who are clearly creating potential and some actual collisions by asserting their obnoxiousness over the fear of law-abiding drivers.  It seems to me that cops should find this much more dangerous than issuing citations to drivers who don't come to complete stops at deserted intersections.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 480765 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 11:49 AM

ya they do laughing out loud its called 'Reckless Driving' and ranges from an infraction all the way up to a felony thanks for your rant


 COMMENT 480766 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 11:52 AM

How are cops supposed to know or witness such encounters to do anything about them? Obnoxious drivers typically don't act out like this unless the coast is clear. Just drive safe, back off and let the jerks be jerks. Take down their license plate, colour and car make and call it in for reckless endangerment and possible DUI.


 COMMENT 480768P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 11:55 AM

'Unsafe lane change' would be amore apt description - as for enforcement, usually it's just used an excuse to pull over someone the cop already had his eye on.


 COMMENT 480774 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 12:12 PM

Some drivers don't even yield to the CHP when they are driving slow in the fast lane with the CHP on their tail.

I will say that the driving conditions in this State are worse than ever.


 COMMENT 480775 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 12:13 PM

One of the problems is that people don't use the left lane as a passing lane, so you end up with two lanes of cars going about the same speed. As a result, to pass a slower moving vehicle I might not have the option to pass them on the correct (left) side and might have to use a lane to the right of them to pass.

Don't hunker down in the left lane and pay attention to traffic all around you.


 COMMENT 480776P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 12:22 PM

To answer 480766, for example, cops could watch the section of 101 where it exits onto Ward Memorial. Every morning rush hour for at least the last 25 years I've been driving it, there are drivers who refuse to get into the right hand lane to exit 101 and jam themselves into the line of cars exiting to Ward Memorial to save a few seconds. There would be absolutely no problem seeing many examples of this. I haven't seen any cops stop this even once in several thousand morning drives. By the way, it's not DUI. It's drivers who intimidate other drivers because they know they can, and they do it regularly.


 COMMENT 480782 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 12:36 PM

It's too bad there are a lot of jerks on the road. Cops can't be everywhere, and people won't act up if the cops are near. The only thing I know is to stay safe and drive defensively. Let jerks be jerks. It's only about ego when it comes to who's going to be first. I let the clowns in because it reduces my stress level and I want them in front of me where I can see what their sorry butt is doing.

No one is ever going to change a crummy driver. It's all about avoiding them. I've learned to see them coming. The hardest part is dealing with the arrogance of crappy drivers who act like no one is on the road except them. I want to slap them in the face. Me. myself and I are their only friends.


 COMMENT 480785 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 12:54 PM

One can follow the car ahead so closely that there isn't room for these jerks to butt in. However, that is dangerous too. Many of them going on Ward are UCSB travelers and their academic entitlement gives them the privilege to drive this way. On the other hand, since Patterson exit takes many cars out of the right lane just before Ward, there frequently is room to move to the right lane after the Patterson exit.

I'm fairly tolerant of lane changes if the driver signals his turn. If not, I try to block them--reciprocal discourtesy.


 COMMENT 480793P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 01:03 PM

782: yes.

775, it's ok to pass on the right on a multi-lane road. You shouldn't have to, but it's still ok and doesn't constitute reckless driving.

^&*%# drivers who block the fast lane on a two-lane road! I mean where they sit adjacent to the car in the right lane, so you can't pass on either side. I call it parcheesing, because they're blocking you like in the game Parcheesi.

I used to drive an old Beetle, and people would get insulted (or so it seemed) at me passing them, and would speed up just to prevent it. I learned to hang in the right lane. All kinds of good options open up in the right lane, because the self-absorbed drivers think it's beneath them and never go there :-)


 COMMENT 480795 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 01:04 PM

Yeah, there are a lot of terrible drivers in this area - you can put most of it down to aggression and multitasking. However if you want to witness even more dangerous driving, go to Italy!


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 01:44 PM

23103pc Reckless Driving.


 COMMENT 480876 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 03:45 PM

yeah, it drives me insane when people pass in the exit lane at sheffield on the 101 nb coming into montecito. i wish they'd realize they're the cause of the traffic they're trying to get 6 car lengths ahead in. it's such moronic behavior.


 COMMENT 480911 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 06:49 PM

I'm guessing the Jerk driver umbrella would cover me by definition. The frustration is a daily menace to those who drive hundreds of miles a week, encountering horrendous drivers of all fashions. I have received the bird numerous times and respond in kind.

The left lane is for passing, the right lane for cruising. The most common problem I see are those who go straight to the fast lane from the on-ramp and drive 10 mph under the speed limit, then wedge into their exit at the last moment. Slower traffic keep RIGHT!


 COMMENT 480926P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 07:18 PM

We're still fairly calm while driving, here in SB. That said, my fantasy is to watch someone pass me while texting or making some rude move, and then see the Highway Patrol pull the guy/gal over. (As far as I know "the cops" have no jurisdiction on the Highway here.)

It's the way it is with drunk driving: people who drive like jerks are scary because they just might take you or me with them, thanks to their idiot driving.


 COMMENT 480927P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 07:19 PM

@911: You're proud of being a Jerk Driver? Yikes.


 COMMENT 480930 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 07:26 PM

Most of the bad drivers I see are around here of the "99 y/o grandma and grandpa with nothing better to do but too bad for you if you do" variety.


 COMMENT 480957P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 09:29 PM

930 Are we talking "bad" or "rude" drivers? From my perspective, I'd say older drivers do tend to take a long time to make their move; while rude drivers (the true jerks) tend to be younger males who think they own the road.


 COMMENT 480974 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 07:36 AM

Sharing the road isn't an option it's reality, just like being in line at the store or movies. And what happens in a store or movie to the guy who cuts in front? Try it and find out 911. There are grandmas who earned the right to drive before the young fools were even born or even a thought. There are just licensed drivers trying to figure it out, and getting zero help from jerks. There are kids as passengers, and babies.

So when you're a jerk those are the people you are putting at risk. Basically everyone. Proud aren't ya. Guess what- you're hurry doesn't mean jack squat and no one cares least of all me that you're in a hurry. Too bad and quit yer cryin baby. Go ahead tail gate. You're in for a big surprise! The left lane is for WHOEVER WANTS TO BE IN IT. at a reasonable speed which you do not define fool.


 COMMENT 481003 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 08:54 AM

974, take a look at Vehicle Code section 21654. Oh, and stay out of the fast lane. You obviously don't belong there.


 COMMENT 481004 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 08:57 AM

A few years ago I read an article that quoted a study showing that those drivers who drive too fast, change lanes too close, etc. are ten times more likely to get a ticket. The cops can't be everywhere and can't catch every infraction, but it was reassuring that they do eventually get an expensive reminder that their behavior is not appreciated.


 COMMENT 481005 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 08:58 AM

I like the OP's question. I also often wonder if this sort of dangerous driving ever gets the attention of law enforcement because I've seen drivers speeding past me get ticketed, but never one who cut me off.

Every driver ought to think about how their driving affects other drivers and adjust their habits to keep traffic more harmonious. This means staying in the right lane if you want to drive slowly, and respecting other drivers' who prefer to drive slowly and carefully if that's how they want to drive.


 COMMENT 481024 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 09:48 AM

911 here. I do not tailgate nor am I a crying baby. As 974 has stated we must all share the road, giving common courtesy to ALL drivers, not just a select few.

Here are a few tips for all drivers:

If cars are continuously passing you on the right, you are in the wrong lane.

The left lane is for passing. If you decide to pass a vehicle please do so safely and in a timely manner.

If you are driving alongside the same car for more than a mile either pull ahead or drop behind that car and get in the slower lane.

If you are driving 70 mph you are speeding on the 101. If someone wants to drive 75 why should you deny them by blocking them in? You're both guilty, yet you decided to police them?

Lastly, if a vehicle tries to pass you don't speed up just to deny them, that is your ego acting up.

We never know why other drivers drive the way they do. Some may be in an emergency situation; just get out of their way, it's as simple as that.


 COMMENT 481069 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 10:50 AM

In the judgment of an officer who observed such driving it might constitute, unsafe lane changes, failing to properly signal a lane change, following too closely for traffic conditions, driving too fast for traffic conditions, impeding the flow of traffic, and even reckless driving, again depending on the officers judgment. It would also very likely prompt a traffic stop and investigation to see if the driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, Unfortunately these type of drivers rarely engage in that driving pattern in the vicinity or within sight of a traffic enforcement officer.


 COMMENT 481075P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-29 10:56 AM

Thanks 024 for some common sense.


 COMMENT 481214P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-30 12:15 AM

This thread is over, but I must plead with you 974, assuming you're a licensed driver, do what 03 suggests and refresh yourself on the Vehicle Code. You are NOT allowed to travel slower than the prevailing speed in the left lane, and what you consider reasonable is not a matter of personal taste or morality, it's a matter of road conditions. NO ONE is allowed to obstruct the flow of traffic irrespective of speed limit. Each of the lanes on the highway has a particular function, e.g. merging, passing. You are required to be aware of road conditions including the speeds of cars around and behind you. Really. The rules are designed to keep all drivers safe. Using your car to block/slow/impede traffic is extremely unsafe.


 COMMENT 481240 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-30 08:22 AM

if people would respect the faster left lane, we wouldnt have such a problem


 COMMENT 481254P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-30 09:07 AM

Do police ever ticket obnoxious drivers that drive waay too slow in the fast lane, forcing other drivers to pass them on the right, creating dangerous situations?


 COMMENT 481284 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-30 11:54 AM

If you could get a ticket for driving 65 in the fast lane, why bother having speed limits at all? If the prevailing speed is faster than 65, then why don't they change the speed limit?

I'm mostly a slow lane driver with a max speed of 70, but I will move into the fast lane near that slow speed on ramps in Carp so I don't get jammed up behind somebody try to merge at 35. Sorry for ruining your day, speed racers.


 COMMENT 481302 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-30 12:54 PM

284, you are not part of the problem. The issue is drivers who stay in the fast lane doing under 60, forcing others to pass on the right, if they are able to.


 COMMENT 481455 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-31 09:17 AM


No high beams or mal-adjusted headlights. You don't need to see into the next county.

Move out of my blind spot!

Don't follow closer than 2 school bus lengths when there is no traffic.

Thanks and Happy 2014. Let's all get out alive.


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