Who Are Those People Who Drive Slowly in Single Lane Highways and Then Speed up When You Get to Overtaking Lanes?

Seriously, just did a bit of a trip over Christmas, and noticed this so frequently on the country roads.

It would be a single lane road, and you'd get people (in all sorts of cars) driving at changing speeds (going from 100km/h down to 70km/h) with no rhyme or reason, then as soon as you get to an overtaking lane - BAM, they're pumping 110km/h for the whole thing. When it ends, they're back to their usual random speed.

It drives me mental.

I always thought that the considerate thing to do is to realise that if someone catches up behind your car - the logical conclusions is that you're going slower than them on average, so the polite and considerate thing to do is to allow them to pass as early as possible.

Does no one else feel this way?


  • +3

    Far out this happened to me so many times over the last week.
    Using cruise control come right up to them, overtake at first opportunity,
    next thing they are still close in my rear vision mirror when I resume cruise control.
    It doesn't make sense.

    • +2

      What happens to me is that I'm on cruise control, come up slowly behind them, overtake them (without speeding up because I'm still on cruise) then either:

      a) The gap widens, but it doesn't keep widening and it stays a certain size indicating the person behind me has sped up (why?)
      b) The gap widens then shrinks, then widens, then shrinks etc. (why??)
      c) The gap widens, but then the person overtakes me again (why???)

      This is also on level roads, so there's not much of an argument that topographical changes might make the cruise control overcompensate/undercompensate to change speeds.

      Like wtf cruise control is there to be used, idiots. Why bother keeping an eye on your speed on a regional road when your car is entirely capable of being on cruise control. More people need to use cruise control on regional roads.

      Also IMO it's courteous to not just overtake someone right away but create a large enough gap as to not flick up stones onto their car, some people just overtake when they're a few meters ahead of you.

      • +1

        I can relate!!!!!!!!

      • +1

        On another note my wife's car has cruise control but she never uses it, she doesn't like it, feels like its out of control.
        I'm sure there are a lot of ppl like that,
        maybe those type of drivers should stay off 110kmh country roads!

        • +1

          You should convince her to try it. When you're on a country road there's hardly any traffic, it's the entire reason why cruise control was invented! Imagine if a ship's captain had to control the throttle manually out in an open sea or if pilots had to control the air speed of a plane manually still.

      • +1

        I can totally relate.
        Mind boggling whats going on in these people's heads, because they literally have to drive over the speed limit for the gap to shrink

  • +2

    The other thing that really annoys me is in NSW if the speed limit is 80kmh or greater you are legally required to keep left unless overtaking. Some drivers don't know that law and believe it is their right to drive in any lane as long as they are driving within the speed limit. I've come across so many inconsiderate drivers that sit in the right lane even when there are no cars in the left lane and they are doing less than 100kmh in a 100kmh zone, just because they think they have the right to.

    • +3

      The law is 90km/h or greater. It is legal to sit in the right lane of an 80km/h posted dual lane carriageway. (Not saying I encourage it, just that it's not illegal).

    • I am guilty of this especially if I have to turn right within the next 5 km - when the roads are busy I hate merging left or right as so many people seem to love sitting in my blindspot or cruse next to me and match my speed..or if there is a space a car suddenly speeds up and fills to gap etc

      • Based on the law at >80kmh zones you are breaking the law by sitting in the right lane. I don't condone it, but this kind of behaviour does encourage road rage which looks to me like you have already experienced.

        • +1

          Never experienced road rage by sitting in right line going speed limit (80km) but will stop doing it as it seems like it can annoy people and illegal… thanks for the refresher - I honestly thought keeping left only applied to 100 km and above aka freeways and highways

      • +2

        WOW if you don’t like changing lanes you shouldn’t be driving on busy roads. If you sit in the right lane for that long you should expect road rage. Even 1km before the turn would be annoying if you aren’t overtaking but better than 5km 😱

  • +2

    Yes I noticed this too.

    But….the kiwis are the worst. Across the ditch, you encounter this 100% of the time. Even truckies would speed up to hinder any chance you have at passing.

    Add coppers with nothing better to do than catch speeders.

    • +2

      In New Zealand you also find that most drivers will not let you zip merge either, the driver will speed up and remove the space between them and the car in front to prevent you merging. But the roads there tend to be worse (once you are more than one hours drive from Auckland) so I guess that 2 seconds becomes minutes once you get to the other end of your drive……

  • +12

    It’s not stupidity. It’s ego getting crushed. Plain & simple

    • People have to be super sad to be more worried about being overtaken than just getting to their destination. I have a feeling you are correct though.

  • It is a fact of life. The reasons can be many and varied. Some do it without realising because suddenly there is more open road so they speed up almost without knowing it - similar to people driving up an incline and slowing down without realising it. Other times it’s because they think that letting the OTHER slower driver past them will make their journey longer. Just accept it and drive accordingly and allow enough time. If you can safely pass then you do. If not then just accept it as part of the journey - you know like traffic lights and give way signs. If you haven’t allowed enough time to factor in these issues it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

    • +2

      People who don't realise what speed their doing should get more sleep or be prepared to get a speeding fine.

      • Correct but it doesn’t change the reality

  • +7

    I drive from Mildura to Adelaide a fair bit and find SA drivers to be big offenders of this. Its as if they were taught this while getting their license. In a 110kl/h zone, their doing 90-100, you overtake them and BAM on goes their speed and your racing not to have a head-on with a road train. Once your past them, they drop off speed and disappear as you continue on the speed limit. This happens in overtaking sections of Highway and broken lines on Highway when it's safe to do so in normal circumstances. I wish the police could see their dangerous antics, this stupid practice causes crashes.

  • +2

    I find the same thing and I don’t quite understand why’s rational adult human would do this, it makes no sense to anyone with a conscience and any empathy at all to do this.
    So being the good thinking person that I am, the only reason can be that the slow driver speeds up because the road is wider and they feel safe to do so…… because otherwise the slow driver is simply being an (profanity).

  • +2

    Agree with most of the above comments.
    I am convinced it’s the 3 I’s - Ignorance, Inattention, inconsiderate. My question is rather than just complaining, what can we do about it?

    Is it worth lobbying road groups like RAA etc?

    • To…do what, exactly

    • I just avoid driving whenever i can. Eventually autopilot will fix human stupidity.

    • +1

      Start printing bumper stickers that say "Learn to use cruise control you idiot!"

  • https://mypolice.qld.gov.au/bundaberg/2015/03/31/myth-buster...

    But of course there's never a HP vehicle to enforce this as they are too busy hiding to try to catch the frustrated drivers who had been putting up with that.

  • +2

    These people are the ones you simply can not stand being in the car with - they will send you crazyyyyy… the light is green, you can go now! Oh yes. Watch out for that pedestrian! Oh I didn't see them. You can speed up a bit! Oh, ok. Don't drive too close to that truck, they could brake suddenly! I guess you are right. What's that blinking red light..have you been driving with the handbrake on? Oh, yes… my mistake. Drive with two hands on the wheel! I always drive with one finger.

  • It’s annoying and tiring to deal with such people.

  • +2

    When there is only one lane, they are afraid of veering out of the lane into oncoming traffic so they go slower.

    When there are 2 lanes they have more confidence and go faster.

  • +1

    I've driven country roads all over Aus for 30 years.

    I think it's going something to do with the comfort of having a wide area to travel in, with the second lane, so they unconsciously speed up.

  • +3

    It is generally people not used to travelling on narrow roads (city dwellers), They are overly cautious on the single lane and are inconsiderate Aholes when it comes to the overtaking section where they feel more comfortable to accelerate. I think most of them do it unconsciously though I am sure a few do it just to be pricks.

  • +8

    I would say 90% of people do this pretty much on all types of roads. It seems to be a phenomenon in this country, I've never really seen it anywhere else (except for the occasional ahole), it's extremely dangerous and damn right annoying.
    Single lane roads, doing under the speed limit for a considerable distance, go to overtake then the speed up to over the limit.
    Same on the freeway, move to the next lane to go past and they speed up to over the speed limit.
    1.they are retarded and don't know what speed they are doing and just speed up to whatever speed you do or
    2. they are the typical ahole who can't drive from a to b without having to annoy or cause danger to someone
    3. They are a self-righteous ahole who thinks you should do whatever speed they are doing and try to punish you if you don't.

    It happens like clockwork on the freeway every time. They speed up and match your speed as you change lanes to go past, then you are side by side and when you inevitably come up to some slower traffic in their lane then they are stuck next to you. They'll then either suddenly speed up and dangerously cut you up before slowing down to under the speed limit or slip in behind you and tailgate you, but only because they want to tailgate… Because if you then move over… They'll come next to you and linger there…. Seems like every prefers to play a stupid game instead of just driving to where they are going, is everyone really so bored and retarded? It's unbelievable.

  • +1

    Before we get carried away with our righteous outrage, I offer an explanation / cause.

    In 30 years of driving I have caught myself doing this twice and both times wondered what I would have thought of myself as the other driver; rest assured the imagined thoughts were not kindly.

    Explanation is as follows: First guilty party is the lack of cruise control. I doubt the below occurs frequently where drivers are using CC.

    I think people just focus on the road and forget to check their speed. When another car passes them the difference in speed prompts the driver to think of speed then checks his/her own and realises he/she below the limit and then he/she corrects it.

    Yes, it's annoying for others, including me. But it's a first world problem really.

    • +5

      Assuming people are so totally unaware of what speed they are doing, why can't they wait 5 seconds for the car to pass then speed up to the speed they want to do. Can't excuse thoughtless and inconsiderate driving.

      And no, it's a problem with lazy inconsiderate people, nothing to do with first world.

      • Hi OO,

        I agree that, after inadvertently slowing down, speeding up to prevent someone passing you is thoughtless. However, I do not think it is a deliberate act.

        We need to interview a few offenders to truly ascertain their intent. :-)

    • +3

      But it's a first world problem really

      Nope, it is an underdeveloped and selfish world problem.

      How can anyone drive in such a zombie mode when the road is narrow and suddenly wake up to what speed they are having.
      Doesn't sound plausible.
      It is intentional and pre-planned:I am in front and I'm not going to let you pass me because then I will look like an idiot unable to keep pace. Simple.

    • +2

      I thought the automatic reaction if someone is passing you on a single lane road is to slow down so they can pass you quicker to avoid any possible head on collisions..I doubt anyone is thinking oh, a car is passing me i better floor it unless your a selfish (profanity)… Its not a first world problem as it can cause death ..I have seen close collisions when people travel 80-90 in 100-110 straight roads then as soon as overtaking lane comes or someone overtakes them on a clear straight road they floor it to 120 until the overtaking car has to slow down and merge back behind the car or go 130 to overtake…As soon as the car overtakes they slow back down to their standard speed trapping cars behind them… Its weird as i hate people behind me and slow down when its clear for them to overtake.

    • +1

      Strange, I check my speed multiple times during a trip regardless of where I'm driving, then again, I feel like speeding up to prevent overtakering is a premeditated behavior, "how dare you pass me you little s**t!". It's pretty easy to maintain speed on a long road when there's no hills.

  • +12

    Another fun kind of driver: goes 90kph on the 100kph part of the freeway, clearly slowing traffic and having an open road in front of them. Also goes 90kph on the 80kph part of the freeway and gets mad when they get stuck behind someone.

    • Stop…
      this triggers me so badly haha

      Always in the right lane too…

      Up there with people not moving for emergency services in my books. Absolute idiocy.

      • +1

        People driving with earphones in makes me very rationally angry.

    • +2

      This drives me nuts too, outside of town, 100Ks, drive 80 instead, gets to town in a 60Ks zone, drives 80 instead…

  • +2

    I can see we have figured out the reasons here already.
    These drivers are a high risk to everyone (inc themselves) and should not be driving.

    But is there anything we can do about it?

  • +13

    Driving in a truck for round trips of 3-4000kms the amount of people that do this is ridiculous…

    I understand people make mistakes and might be day dreaming etc and do it, but to keep doing it at every overtake lane is sheer stupidity and dangerous.

    I have never understood why someone would want 100 odd tons of truck sitting on their tail rather then just let me pass.

    If i had the luxury to drive at my leisure it wouldn’t be an issue, but when you are driving to fatigue laws every km counts. Having to sit 20 under instead of 100 means I’ll probably be stopping on the side of the road for a break instead of a road house - no toilets, no reception, no showers etc

    All because someone played silly buggers with the overtake lanes.

    Some people are just ignorantly stupid and do it, others are just a special kind of selfish stupid.

    I think really think some people actually have a complex where they need to be in front no matter what.


    • +1

      My mate drove a huge road train all around Australia and going 140-180 along the nullarbor (this was pre-log checks and truck speed limit monitors etc) and he said it felt like going through a time tunnel as you could feel the huge amount of weight behind you - completely different than going that speed in a car.

      People need to know that truck drivers are on a tight schedule now and most tend to go the speed of 110-115 on 110KM roads —why you would want them in your ass is beyond me—Many times i like to cruise behind them as i dont have to constantly check my speed, wildlife at dusk is less likely going to hit me and on rainy nights its easier to follow a huge lite-up truck on a pitch black highway in the rain.

      • It’s a different ball game altogether these days, schedules are still tight and speed limited to 100 (maybe 103 if you have fresh tyres 😂)

        Thats the biggest thing i wonder too, why does someone want this massive chunk of steel behind them? Mechanical failure /animal strike etc and stop in front of it, you are gonna be in for a hairy ride.

        I wish for more people like yourself, it’s safer behind trucks in most conditions! (Although don’t follow too close, sometimes roos etc will get shot out the back end if they go under)

        • Honestly i hardly ever met a big truck going 100km in 110km road - unless im sitting on 110 they will eventually overtake me -unless my speedometer is out by that much. …I should check but I don't believe trucks don't go over 105 :)

          • +1

            @sardines: Most cars are out a fair bit especially above 100kmph.
            I drive to work in my car with cruise set to 110 because i know it really sits at 101/102 (gps tested and i don’t drop it to pass the fixed speed cameras)

            If i were none the wiser to it, i would assume a truck doing 103 on fresh tyres was doing 110+ When going by my car speedo.

            Not saying some people don't tamper… but you’d be very very hard pressed to find a company truck tampered with to get over 100.
            Maybe an owner driver… but even then the risk/reward ratio isn’t worth it.

          • @sardines: Your speedometer is definitely out by that much. You can verify with accurate GPS.

            Very few (big) trucks do 110 because it is illegal and easy to get caught.

  • +2

    Forget country roads, this happens in everyday suburbia melbourne or sydney on 2 lane roads (varying speed limits).
    I'm in the right or left lane, I go to the other lane and then they speed up forcing me to go back behind then they slow down again - it's quite strange.

  • Most likey they dont know the speed limit and worried the cops will catch them.

  • Stupid or selfish (profanity). I saw an SUV almost lost control into a ditch trying to overtake a car travelling 70-90km/h (windy road with 100km/h limit) and sped up to 110km/h when people tried to overtake them.

  • It is all part of "follow the queue, I am in front you, just wait".

  • +5

    Losers that don't like to be beaten. That's what lol.

  • +4

    I have seen this numerous times. One idiot did this at three consecutive overtaking lanes. He'd do 110 in the overtaking zone but 90 otherwise. I had enough of the nonsense and decided I'll pass him as I didn't have all day. The moron accelerated to 140, and will slow down if I decided to slow down and move left. I finally gunned it down and passed him at 150 after which he was tailgating me for a good 30 seconds or so before he remembered he has to do 90 on a 110 zone.

    • +2

      Mate, was this a few years ago on the M1/A1 towards the Gippsland lakes? Was there a long line of cars waiting to overtake, did he also happen to be driving a silver toyota and what appeared to be his elderly parents hanging on to the hand holds for dear life?

      • +2

        Haha, no. Going by your question it looks like there are plenty of such idiots then.

        In my case there were a couple of cars behind me, and we were driving from Bendigo to Ararat and probably there to four years ago. The retard was alone and was driving a old bomb Ford laser.

        • +2

          Too many haha, could feel my blood starting to boil at the time

    • +1

      This happened to me too while I was pulling a small trailer, they were doing below 80 in a 100 zone, so I decided to overtake, I hit 140 before I managed to overtake them.

    • +2

      Gotta wonder what sort of person thinks it's funny or fun to be such an inconsiderate bastard. Like congrats mate you deliberately make it a slower trip for other people including yourself? First prize …

      • Exactly! I'll never figure out how exactly these people believe it's OK to do this.

    • That's the point where you turn your wipers on and drive away lol.

  • +7

    They are simply CONTROL FREAKS!

    They dont want you to pass them.
    They want to keep you safely at or just below the speed limit
    They speed up when a single lane branches into 2 so you still can't pass them

    So what happens?
    These control freaks are the cause of danegrous driving and road rage.

    So just pass them safely when the opportunity arises and dont allow them to tempt you into doing something dangerous.

    Dont forget to give them the honorable salute as you pass them in which ever way you see fit.

    Drive safely

    • +1

      Thats all very well, but if you are in a gutless car or big van or truck, you cant overtake them safely.

  • May be this is encourage by the instructor or parents. Once I was on a 50 zone behind a L plater doing 40. When I saw broken middle line I start to over take then the Learner speed up to 60, so I over take him at 70. So wanted to stop him and ask the instructor how does he/she teach but decided to waste no time and just go home.

    • +3

      People should have to do x amount of lessons with an actual instructor rather than the bulk with their parents and a few finesse lessons with an instructor.

      Parents teach their kids to drive like they do, which is often outdated and or wrong.

      Ask people that have driven a while about roundabouts, keeping left and minimum speed limits rules, the majority don’t know the current laws for it (varies by state)
      Yet they will happily teach their kids “this is how it’s done.”

      And don’t get me started on people taking L platers on the freeway and using the right lane 😂
      What possible reason on a 3/4 lane freeway should a L plater doing 90 be doing in the right lane? Likely with their parents saying “don’t worry about them, they are just impatient, you can stay in this lane”

      Breeding generations of bad drivers 😅

    • +2

      This. I kinda wanted to get this clarified.

      Took a road trip out of Sydney for the first time in Dec, always driving at the speed limit (not below), regardless of number of lanes.

      There were multiple times when I was in the right lane to overtake (at limit), successfully overtaking other cars, and someone would be tailgating me real close. When I would change lanes to let them pass (because someone driving that close is unnerving), they'd always give me this look while passing by. Since then I have been wondering if I was doing something wrong there? 'cause it wasn't a one off?

        • +4

          Looks like we have identified one of the drivers OP was talking about.
          And as expected, he is proud to be driving like that (making it dangerous for others who are trying to overtake him). Shame on you!

          • @maiuspala: how bout they drive more safely then in the first place. There shouldn't be any reason why I'm being tailgated when I'm already 10kph+ above the speed limit

            • +2

              @Homr: Regardless of your speed, when you're not overtaking, GTFO of the right lane and let other people do what they do. It is not your job to try and slow them down.

              • @bobbified: I do get out of the right lane!

                • +1


                  then when they try to overtake me I start driving faster to piss them off

                  And this is dangerous and illegal too.

      • I just think, "hurry up and pass me, I'm only doing the speed limit and you have plenty of road to pass me safely", but they tailgate for ages.

        • People are also super scared to overtake. That's another thing - has improved in last 5-10yrs, though - that happens constantly. Cars will zoom up to you, then tailgate (trust me, my bar for 'tailgating' is super duper lax) forever, passing by plenty of easy overtake opportunities. 20 mins later they decide to go for it and zoom off.

      • +4

        This can be explained with aussies huge hard on for 'speed limit'. You feel your actions were fine, because you 'stuck to the limit'. Problem there is that you don't know you were really on the limit, and also you're not The Law on the limit so you shouldn't stop people going whatever speed they want.

        Another example is say, german autobahn. Even though you can switch lanes and overtake a car, if you see someone in your rearview that is clearly going faster, you are expected to delay your overtake to allow the faster driver to pass first. This has obvious benefits in that it reduces the amount of cars in an area and lets them flow.

        So my feedback to your question - you are technically in the okay, because you were indeed overtaking. If the 'looks' bother you, do however think about letting speedy people through and delay your overtake.

        • Thanks for that explanation. Clears up the protocol issue for me.

    • +1

      Found the Camry drivers lol. Toyota Camrys are notorious for over-reading speedos.

  • +2

    When someone pass me .. It kicks my **Animal instincts ** and i turns me into an F1 driver.
    Being a city driver, don't want my girl to feel that I'm muck.

  • +5

    You also get the ones who drive slowly and when there's an overtaking lane, they actually use it to overtake everyone… then drive slowly. Usually middle age Caucasian females.

  • Oh man, I encountered this a few times over the holidays. One was doing 80 on the single lane but would speed up to 100 (speed limit) when at the overtaking parts. Not towing trailer, not in a sh*t box. It's like they are oblivious to the other seven cars stuck behind them…

  • +2

    The sheers no of responses on this topic, confirms to me I’m not the only one frustrated by this - not so much these days as we tend to travel on dual carriageways when out on big trips, but I experienced this a lot when I used to tour regularly on my motorbike - we were not irresponsible riders at all, for the record, in fact unusually focussed on riding defensively thanks to our ex motorcycle paramedic friend who often led our entourage and we considered our ride trainer (another story).

    I agree with one of the responses here that a lot of this behaviour of speeding up when the road “opens” to two lanes, could well be a combo of unconsciously feeling more confident when the road width opens up, and/or FOMO not wanting to be left behind when overtaken - without being judgmental, a combo at the end of the day of incompetence and self centredness.

    What I’m going to suggest here, and I have been thinking about this recently, is the next time you’re the one immediately behind this driver being held up unreasonably (like 80kmh in a 100kmh zone), and you’ve had to experience them speeding up when overtaking lane arrives, if they happen to pull over to the left lane and speeding up (in my experience they do often pull over to the left lane then speed up), do the whole following convoy a favour and overtake the road pest (sorry), pull in front of him/her in the left lane, then firmly but SAFELY slow down to force them to slow down too, to allow the convoy to overtake. You will lose your “spot” in the convoy, but you would have done everyone else a favour. It may also bring some attention to the driving pest (sorry again) their method of driving like this is simply not acceptable. I know, this is a controversial suggestion. Any better ideas?

  • +3

    This should be played during the 6pm news everynight:

  • If you catch the whole thing on dashcam, can you dob them in to authorities?

  • Pranayama

  • +3

    I had a friend (young-mid 20s) who I let drive from Melbourne to Sydney whilst I observed how he drove

    1. He didn't know how to use cruise control as his old car didn't have one so his speed would fluctuate

    2. He didn't use the GPS speed which allowed us to be a bit more stuck than usual when the dual lane freeway had more cars around

    3. Because he didn't use cruise control, he had to worry about speed a lot more and thus took away his ability to be more aware with his surroundings and plan any lane changing ahead of time without needing to do it last second

    4. Because of #3, his speed would fluctuate

    5. All would have even prevented if he just went GPS speed limit with cruise control when safe, stuck on the right lane until it was clear unless there's a speedier car behind approaching.

    To his credit, he let me explain a few tips and he got the hang of it near the end

    • Reposting this comment to this thread too, cause I feel like it makes sense here. Related to the

      "unless there's a speedier car behind approaching"

      Took a road trip out of Sydney for the first time in Dec, always driving at the speed limit (not below)

      There were multiple times when I was in the right lane to overtake (at limit), successfully overtaking other cars, and someone would be tailgating me real close. When I would change lanes to let them pass (because someone driving that close is unnerving), they'd always give me this look while passing by. Since then I have been wondering if I was doing something wrong there?

      • +3

        I'm guessing you were actually below the limit. Cars speedo's are always about 5-10 kph higher than your actual speed (for safety and to avoid fines). Use a GPS to check your speed and stick to that.

        • Thanks! Any mobile apps you'd recommend for this?

        • In that case they're still overtaking though. The person behind should be at least thankful they are overtaking. I've had this happen to me too to the point where I feel I need to actually floor it to 10+km over the limit because the idiot behind me came up so fast as I'm overtaking.

          I would just say the person behind is still an impatient douche.

      • Sometimes even on the 110kph road, I was hitting 112kph on the GPS speed but there's still a few that will still be speedier but it helped seeing them approach close from a distance a little bit

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