For a recent work trip to Galveston, Texas, instead of flying, I decided to drive the 450 miles round-trip to the conference. As a result of some unfortunate circumstances, I ended up giving a friend who was headed to the same conference a ride.
The drive there was an easy one, although driving through Houston had me a little nervous. But we made good time and even arrived early.
On the way back, we hit a major thunder and rain storm during rush hour in downtown Houston. As the rain fell, we found ourselves stuck in some pretty bad traffic. Once the rain lightened up a bit, people were still driving slowly and traffic worsened.
As we inched along the highway, cars whizzed by us in the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane next to us. When he noticed these cars moving past us, my travel buddy told me we should get in that lane. I have never driven in an HOV lane and thought you needed three to four people to be able to drive in one. He explained that we only needed two people.
He got on the Internet and found the nearest entrance to the HOV lane. We had just passed one, but another was coming up shortly. We got off the highway, drove around a bit, and eventually found the entrance at a park and ride parking lot. Being in the HOV lane saved us probably 30-45 minutes in traffic.
Although I only have one experience with an HOV lane, I can understand the advantage of them. Not only does it get you places faster, it also encourages you to carpool and save money. It also lessens the time you sit in traffic and waste gas.
Not all cities have HOV lanes; I’ve only seen them in a couple of the larger ones. I would like to see them in more cities, especially those with traffic problems. I think it could help with fuel-efficiency, cutting down on personal gas prices, and even help the environment.
Do you have HOV lanes? Do you use them?