By the time we got to the Parkway West approaching the city, we encountered a good chunk of cars moving slowly down the highway. Despite three potential lanes, the slushy streets forced all the cars to choose two lanes: left or right. The right lane crawled along at a turtle's pace (a bit faster than a snail's pace) on very messy roads, while the left lane zipped along at just under the speed limit. I started driving in the right lane to start, as I saw no need to be a hero, but after a few minutes, I realized that the right lane had the worst of both worlds. Not only was it slower, but it was more dangerous. The slow traffic on the right side meant that fewer cars were clearing the snow. The left lane, a place for more adventurous drivers, ended up producing a much safer lane because so many more cars were able to zip by. In fact, the clearer the left lane got, the faster cars could go, and the clearer it became. It was a non-vicious cycle.
I thought it was really interesting because in a way, it dispelled the notion that caution is always a good thing. The drivers who were content to inch along in the "safe" right lane ended up making more dangerous conditions, while the "dangerous" drivers in the left created safer roads. Maybe there's something to be said for always living life in the right lane. You may find that not only is it slower than you'd prefer, but it's not even safe either. Robert Frost never said the "road less traveled" was the good one...merely that it made a difference.