THE TERRITORIAL imperative is alive and well on Maryland highways. Most drivers on multi-lane highways fall into one of two schools: those who believe they have a proprietary right to the middle or left-hand lanes regardless of their relative speed versus those who think slower drivers should keep to the right. In some states, like New Jersey, the law is on the side of the latter group. Not in Maryland, though.
Both groups are equally pig-headed. We have seen stubborn drivers hold to the left lane even with a marked police car right behind them. We have seen equally single-minded drivers tailgate or pass on the right out of frustration, even though it means moving through the other driver's blind spot, not the safest place to be. One of us, in fact, believes that more often than not the far right lane on I-95 is the fast lane. For one thing, it seldom has many 18-wheelers.
Drivers who avoid the far-right lane seem to believe it's an extension of the entrance and exit ramps on a high-speed road -- overlooking the fact that there's often 10 or more miles between interchanges. That's a lot of wasted concrete.
Others think they're avoiding the big trucks that way. But on many multi-lane expressways, trucks are barred from the far-left lane. Some motorists still poke around in the middle lane, making it impossible for a truck to pass even when it makes sense for it to do so. These same drivers, we suspect, are the loudest in
complaining about trucks that tailgate.
* * *
GOLDEN PARACHUTES are not limited to the corporate world. At least that's the lesson to be learned from a recent meeting of the University of California's regents, in which the board put its imprimatur on a $2.4 million package for retiring President David Gardner.
The money was a kind of sympathy gesture for Mr. Gardner, who led the prestigious nine-campus system for more than eight years, until he decided to step down after his wife died last year.
While we, too, sympathize with Mr. Gardner's situation, we agree with one of only two dissenting regents, who said:
"There is not one person in the room who has not had a family member die. That does not mean they get a $1 million severance."
Who said you'll never get rich being an educator?
* * *
A PRESS RELEASE we recently received from the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Relations carried the following line at the bottom:
"Printed on recycled paper with environmentally friendly soy based ink."
It is always reassuring to see your city at work, doing good things. Friendly things.