Thursday, May 13, 2010

The HOV Conundrum

If I haven’t beaten my readers over the head with it enough already, let me just say, I am on the road a lot. I have a very long commute to and from work every day. I would say I’m in the car somewhere in between 17-20 hours a week. I feel like I am a long-haul truck driver in a 2003 Corolla…but all I’m hauling is myself (a challenge some mornings, especially towards the end of a long week) Being on the road so much has allowed me to not only observe the driving habits of others and comment, but also to question how valuable my time truly is. Is it worth say, $125?

Herein lies the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) conundrum. Most days, I find myself sitting in traffic on East-bound 66 heading into work and watching the cars in the HOV lanes just zoom right by me…and it makes me wonder what it is worth to me to get to work or more importantly home a little faster. I figure that if I used the HOV, I could shave anywhere from 15-25 minutes off my drive (in ideal circumstances). That’s a good amount of time.

Given these thoughts, I decided to take a look at what it might cost me to do this if I were caught. The breakdown goes like so:

  • First offense $125
  • Second offense: $250 plus 3 points on your driving record
  • Third offense: $500 plus 3 points on your driving record
  • Fourth offense: $1,000 plus 3 points on your driving record
    (Source: vdot)
Now, after poking around the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) website, I came across some outstanding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about violating the HOV lanes. My favorite was this one: “I’m pregnant, do I count as one people or two?” Awesome.
Despite the fact that the odds of getting caught are probably in my favor, I think I’ll take a safer approach and go shopping for a mannequin to ride along with me to work so I can sail into work in the HOV lane undetected.


One more observation from the road before I end this post; I am a very patient person, I really am. I don’t get road rage much, I’m not a terribly aggressive driver, I go fast but not too fast and mostly importantly, I would really like to get where I am going without other people getting in the way. Yes, that means you light blue Sentra that treated the speed bump like it was 7 feet tall…but I digress.
My lone requirement of other drivers is thus: If you cannot beat a semi, a bus, a U-Haul, or any kind of large sized slow vehicle off the line or in a 10 mile stretch, you should not be on the road, period. End of discussion. If the garbage or mailman is consistently beating you off the line and is flying by you on the road, it’s time to turn in your license, get a motorized scooter and live out your days causing traffic jams at wall mart. This way, I’ll never see you, because I hate going to Wal-Mart. See? It’s a win/win for both of us. /end rant.

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a maniac?” – George Carlin


  1. I agree about those poor souls (idiots) who cannot beat a huge semi off the line. This week the truck in question was about the length of a football field. It is one of those that comes in two parts.....the load is what holds it together. I have only seen propellors for those huge windmills in the country and a huge metal girder for a bridge or something on that kind of truck. This had had the girder holding the second part. He took off the line when the light turned green and within a minute might have been up to 5 mph. He seriously beat 10 cars through the intersection. I can hardly stand it!!!!!!