By Chris Haak
Over the past few years, I’ve observed a disturbing phenomenon around my stomping grounds in Pennsylvania – the elimination of passing zones on two-lane roads. The former passing zones make themselves obvious in a few ways – some are flagged with a “no passing” sign where you can clearly remember one had existed in the past. Others still display remnants of the dotted center line, with a freshly-painted pair of double yellow lines atop them. Many still maintain the telltale “no passing zone” pendant that previously marked the end of the passing zone, even though there’s no need for it after the passing zone has been shut down. All told, it’s very upsetting to observe this trend.
Passing on a two-lane road is one of the most dangerous maneuvers that a driver can attempt. It’s essential that visibility be at least a quarter mile in front of you and that you get a good head of steam built up before diverting into the oncoming lane. And it’s critical that if any kind of obstacle enters your path – whether that be an animal, oncoming car, or whatever – you aren’t afraid to stab the brakes and abort the pass. Especially if it’s an oncoming car. It’s extremely inconsiderate to force an oncoming car off to the shoulder because you didn’t properly execute your pass, but often fatal when the worst happens – a head-on collision. Continue Reading →