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HOV Lanes
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:44 am 
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Just wondering what you guys think of those HOV lanes.

Sure these lanes are faster then usual but i think they present a ton of problems, now the first thing i want to clear up is often we say speed is dangerous. Okay i can believe that depending on the context and situation its used in. But i think most of us here can agree the real dangerous thing is the difference in the speed of vehicles. I feel this is the real problem with these people who go 50 over, or the dilemma the 100 km/hr speed limit causes with most doing 115-130 and very few going 100. I notice this to now with trucks limited. They are slower and merge up cause they are limited it takes so long to pass each other.

So if the difference in the speed is a big issue how can we promote these lanes while at all costs refusing to ever consider increasing the max speed?

The next thing is why are they on the left side of the highway??

This causes more then one problem because when you want to get out of the lane you merge right into the passing lane in which the traffic tends to flow fastest on the highway.

Not only that while traveling in one of these lanes can be hectic as consider this. Your in the HOV lane and some slow poke is going 90 in front of you. So you get frustrated and firstly you have to wait forever for the markings on the road to open, then when you do your pushed into the fast lane going 90 with everyone else exceeding 120.? This can not be safe!!!

Sometimes i don't agree that high speeds themselves are the issue. Especially in rural or highways with low volume. But putting slower cars in the left most lane, making it unable to pass while using this lane, and when you choose to exit out of this lane you get right in the way of the passing lane of the highway with cars that could be going way faster then you!!! This is dangerous.

I thought we were supposed to promote passing on the left and driving on the right. These lanes don't help.

I think a better solution would be to add more lanes, and then start a campaign getting people to move over and drive in the right lanes only using the left most lanes to pass. Speaking of lanes if they got rid of the ending right lane i think more people would drive on the right hand side.

What do you guys think of these lanes. I have seen them a few times as a disaster waiting to happen. Either there is some slow poke using the HOV with a bunch of angry drivers trying to pass, that have no choice but to basically cut those off in the left lane at a way lower speed.

Think about the other situation.

Big traffic jam, traffic stuck at 50 km/hr moving slow.HOV lane cruising along at 100.

This is a dangerous and hectic situation!!!! Technically you could have cars entering and leaving the HOV lane with a difference of 50 km/hr!!! This makes for a dangerous situation.

It's one thing to say we will be safer with lower speed limits, but designing a highway in such a way that you have an extra lane on the left side that has the likely potential to be going considerably slower, and or faster then the passing lane, is definitely not safe.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:47 am 
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Sorry just for those unaware of the term HOV.

HOV = High Occupancy Vehicle Lane

Basically they are lanes on the left side of the highway (even left of the passing lane) Usually a 4th lane added for vehicles carrying more than 1 passenger and have restricted access so you can only enter / exit the lanes at certain times or markings on the road.

(Reflections can you add this to the Slang and Terms sticky?)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:12 am 
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Speed isn't dangerous per se, although the argument can be made that when something goes wrong, it takes more skill to recover at a higher speed, and if that fails, the consequences are increasingly greater.

I don't like HOV/Diamond lanes either, for all of the reasons you stated.

1) Why are they on the left? I know that it's just "the way it's done," but what was the reasoning? It makes a car full of people (some heads possibly obstructing visibility) have to merge across three or four lanes in rush hour traffic, over a fairly short distance, to get to an exit. Makes more sense to have everyone merge at normal highway speeds into the HOV lane, then merge to the left where allowed. The HTA already allows passing on a paved shoulder where the driver ahead is preparing for a left turn (stopped and 'turning' left to merge into gridlocked traffic).

2) Differences in speed between the HOV lanes and regular lanes. It shouldn't be that much of a problem because the HOV lanes are wider and a car can pull to the right, match the speed of traffic in the other lane, and merge. In the case of rush hour/stopped traffic, this would allow HOV traffic to pass that car on the left and avoid slowing down the entire lane. I'm not sure if that's legal, but hey - it's logical. :P

3) Too many people treat it as a passing-passing lane. They expect traffic to go faster than even normal left-lane speeds, which are around 130-140 in the current HOV lane areas. Thus you have tailgaters on everyone below 120 km/h and God help you if you stick to 100 km/h.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:33 am 
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Agree with you on that squishy. This happens alot.

You get all the trucks in the right lane stuck at 100, or those who drive really slow. So then the capped trucks go into the middle lane trying to pass at like 3 km/hr faster.

Or all the people who hate having to deal with all the people merging into the right lane, as a result people only use the 2 left most lanes.

So then all the cars in the middle at 115-120 get into the left lane and all the people who were going 140-130 begin to go nuts because they are being slowed down.

And then guess what happens?

The people who were in the left lane will just go over to the right lane, then cut back across all the other lanes "racing or weaving".

This is dangerous happens alot. I think one problem is that people are afraid to speed while passing someone. I think people should do this!

If you want to pass some cars in the middle lane or trucks, you should move left, quickly pass the cars, then get back over ASAP and leave the lane open for someone else who wishes to pass. Thats how they have done in on the autobhan for years!

I find passing quickly, and putting on your right blinker while passing helps to avoid tailgaters. Some get upset when they think you are slowing them down. Obviously i can only go so fast when passing without getting a big ticket, so i get int he left lane go faster then the cars in the middle, leave my right signal on the whole time and move out of their way as fast as i can.

The thing i see so dangerous these days is the large differences in speed people drive, the left lane is always the same thing. People will tailgate you for going 120, so everyone just keeps going as fast as they can until they get to 140 then they all stop tailgating. The middle lane is always full of the middle lane huggers, and they create a dilemma cause those that enter the left lane now have a new problem.

When entering the left lane how can i drive a reasonable speed, passing cars in the middle, without getting a ticket and having an angry mob of traffic behind me trying to pass???

I know in a real world people are supposed to wait for you to pass and aslong as your going faster even just 1 km/hr faster its legal. But this is often quite ignorant, you piss off and inconvenience many people. I see this as the real reason people do that weaving *EDIT* all over the highway.

Sure even if we had better lane discipline we would still have lead foot drivers, you always will, even with Julian's Laws but i think it would be alot better if they could just pass without having to weave through traffic, cutting everyone off, potentially causing accidents just to get their speed fix or get somewhere quicker.

Lane discipline is really bad in Ontario. I think the HOV lanes are making it even worse. I guess its that whole me myself and I thing. Usually when i enter the left lane the first thing i think about is i don't want to be slowing others down or inconveniencing them, many drivers don't even look they will cut in front of someone going much faster then sit there slowing them down as the person behind starts to get very angry.

Although when the OPP come on their road with their Bill Boards, no one drivers in the left lane and they never pass a cruiser!

On Sunday i was out on the 401. A cruiser got in the left lane. It was so amusing to watch people use a lane. it was really funny cause no one would pass. So they would all speed up in the left lane, see the cop then move to the right, car after car until he got off. Then the donkey run resumed. Lane discipline seems like a common sense thing, i think just to many people don't care or don't think its a big deal.

I still dont know why they cant get big signs on all the bridges and over passes. "MOVE RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS." This is not harmful or does not make anyone feel left out or slow. Its just common courtesy, and this is surely alot cheaper then other ideas that are thought of for traffic enforcement.

Those videos of the autobhan on youtube are great. You should watch them. They get into the left lane, pass as fast as they can, and move to the right immediately. I have found in the past in the southern states people tend to respect this basic rule alot better aswell.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:10 am 
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Even the northern States have good lane discipline, except for the major urban areas like around New York City, Chicago, or Detroit.

They also tend to respect the speed limit more. Cars will do 60 mph in a 55 zone, 65 in a 60, etc. Not like us with 20 km/h over the limit being expected on the highways. Not sure if it's greater enforcement or a more relaxed attitude or what.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Yep squishy new york state is funny.

When you drive there you look around and wonder why they all drive the speed limit, then youll go in the left lane to pass them, look behind some guy flashing their lights and guess what!!! They're from Ontario to.

But some southern states are very aggressive drivers. Miami i have experienced, i heard LA highways are nuts, in new york city is nuts aswell, Knoxville, and Memphis TN alot of very fast drivers aswell. From what i have heard Atlanta is pretty bad to.

Although they do go really fast there alot going 80 mph they do tend to follow lane discipline, but man are they ever hot headed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:58 pm 
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I remember Florida. I was 16, fresh with a G1 license - come to think of it, it may have been illegal for me to drive on a Florida highway.

Rental Cavalier on the Florida Turnpike, pushing 110 mph to keep up with traffic, and had a FHP car pass me like I wasn't even there. What happened to the old people?!

Atlanta wasn't as fast, but I remember one point on the highway where three or four different highways all merged at the same time. It was just a mess of brake lights and turn signals. :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:20 pm 
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Wow Squishy thats almost 175 km/hr. I have seen fast flows of traffic in Ontario but never anything like that, although i have heard stories of that happening in a few places like the QEW near the skyway, and the 401 out around Belleville, Kingston area, i am sure it happens on the 400 a bit to.

Speaking of fast officers. I have never seen that but i have seen plenty of officer's going 130-140 in the left lane.

I remember months ago on the 401 for some reason they're was 2 or 3 of them at an accident, the tahoe stayed then you had an UC and a marked car both going like 135 in the left lane tailgating each other....

It was pretty funny cause some other guy had the balls to go up behind them wanting to pass even at that speed!

Ontario (GTA region is bad, but some places are worse)

The general rule of thumb is the longer one has to make a trip, the faster they go and the less patience they have.

I am sure for example maybee why the 400 is so fast all those people that work in Barrie make that long trip every day and their patience wears out. I think by far today the QEW is nuts, its not that wide to begin with and people go pretty fast. If there is 2 road's i always think you shouldn't drive to fast on are the DVP and the QEW (some places).

What amazes me is the king street bypass in KW region. Your going down a hill 4 lanes condense into 2, small lanes, old bridge, down a hill over a river, no lighting at night. And the speed limit is 100......

It amazes me that a road designed like that for example can have the same maximum speed limit as the 407 does.......

Anyways back to this topic i dont like these lanes.

They also cause people do to last minute things.

What happens is youll get someone who is in the HOV lane, then realizes the lane won't "allow" them to get off at their exit so they'll just look around for a cop and cut over the line.

This is really bad considering the HOV lane can be moving much slower then the passing lane, causing many potential problems.

They should widen the QEW aswell. Throughout some of Mississauga, they are using the Steel/Wood guard in the middle.

They should put up a good slab of concrete, and use some of that extra space for lanes, then widen the road a tiny bit and re paint the lanes.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:14 pm 
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Just another thing i noticed today or another reason to hate on these lanes.

people sit in them and then realize the line is solid so they are not allowed to get over for their exit.

So the result if they often cut over going slower then the passing lane with a solid line to get off at their exit.

The 403 for example, you can be in the HOV lane and the HOV just turns into the 401 express, there is no way to get over for the 410.

There is no way of knowing when the paint will end.

These lanes, even people with more than 2 people dont always use them. If they want to go fast anyways they just get in the passing lane.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:02 pm 
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The HOV lanes are weird. They're great when traffic is stop-and-go but during most periods of time they're just about useless. People get in them and drive 90 km/h or over 140. On the 404, people are constantly crossing the "do not cross" line because of slower-moving traffic in the HOV that they're trying to get around.

As for driving in the US, I never really found driving in Florida to be that fast. I've seen cars with Ontario and Quebec plates tearing it up in Florida but not so much the locals. What road were you on Squishy?

tdrive2 wrote:
But some southern states are very aggressive drivers. Miami i have experienced, i heard LA highways are nuts, in new york city is nuts aswell, Knoxville, and Memphis TN alot of very fast drivers aswell. From what i have heard Atlanta is pretty bad to.


My experience, the cities with the worst/most aggressive drivers in NA are:

1. Toronto, New York City (tied)
2. Boston
3. Montreal
4. Memphis
5. Washington DC

LA isn't too bad, it's just crowded. There are some nutjobs but nothing like what you'd see driving on the 400 or the New Jersey Turnpike. Knoxville is slow-paced; I've never really seen any bad driving there. Atlanta I'd say is normal for a large city, they just drive faster than they would in say, St. Louis or Dallas. Miami's not bad. Memphis, though, is surprisingly bad for a city its size. Ottawa's probably in the top 10 worst cities as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:16 pm 
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I was on the Florida Turnpike, no idea which area but it was about 2 km from one of the toll collecting stations. Maybe it was just an anomaly on that day...I never drove in Florida again, and I've never been up to those speeds since. The Escape only goes up to 100 mph.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:22 pm 
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Maybe... then again maybe when I was driving on the Florida Turnpike it was an anomaly in being slower than normal... who knows?

EDIT: One other thing to mention. Fastest road I've been on, including the German Autobahn, were the Spanish Autopistas. HOLY COW!! :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:55 am 
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Radar Identified wrote:
My experience, the cities with the worst/most aggressive drivers in NA are:

1. Toronto, New York City (tied)
2. Boston
3. Montreal
4. Memphis
5. Washington DC
RI I've got to second your list although I would put Boston at the top. By far the Germans are the nicest and most knowledgeable drivers I've ever experienced. Guatemalans have a special brand of craziness: high altitude, passing with 0 visibility, driving through rebel held areas where there is a good chance of robbery or kidnapping and the buses still arrive on time! I think about that every time I take the TTC.

One comment about HOV lanes. I think they are a great idea in theory but in practise they are one of the stupidest things on the road. The point of HOVs are to encourage car sharing. By setting the number of occupants at 2, it changes nothing. What are all the HOV drivers doing differently? They are driving with their spouse or their child. They would have done that anyway. We should be rewarding people for car pooling. I would set the number at a minimum of 4 people in the vehicle.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:30 am 
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ticketcombat wrote:
By far the Germans are the nicest and most knowledgeable drivers I've ever experienced.


Definitely - I'd say they're the most proficient. There will always be some people who just can't handle driving, but a bad German driver is still better than the average North American driver.

ticketcombat wrote:
Guatemalans have a special brand of craziness


Ever been on the old Yungas Road in Bolivia? :shock: :shock: :shock: I haven't personally, but... wow... 10 feet wide, no guardrails, dirt/gravel carved into the side of the mountain with 600+ metre drops into the canyons below, YIKES! The semi-official name is El Camino de la Muerte (the road of death). It used to be the main road between La Paz and Corioco, but Bolivia last year opened a new road that is much safer.

http://www.ssqq.com/ARCHIVE/vinlin27b.htm

ticketcombat wrote:
One comment about HOV lanes. I think they are a great idea in theory but in practise they are one of the stupidest things on the road. The point of HOVs are to encourage car sharing. By setting the number of occupants at 2, it changes nothing.


I sorta agree, although it's amazing how free the HOV lanes are during rush hour, even with the 2-occupant provision - especially on the 404.


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