Angered by drivers cheating to pass in interstate traffic jams? This may make you happy

Angered by drivers cheating to pass in interstate traffic jams? This may make you happy
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police stopped 42 drivers for "interstate surfing" Monday on I-77 at the Arrowood Road exit in south Charlotte. (Credit: Charlotte-Mecklenburg police)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A traffic operation that blanketed a south Charlotte interstate ramp with police Monday has apparently made a lot of people extremely happy.

Yeah, you read that right.

It was a crackdown on something called "interstate surfing," which most of us have likely never heard of.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they stopped 42 cars for doing it Monday on Interstate 77 at Arrowood Road. In all, CMPD says 57 citations were written.

What's "interstate surfing?"

It's the act of using an interstate exit ramp as a bypass to "surf" around traffic jams, says CMPD. Drivers who do it must illegally use a "turn only" lane to get back on the interstate, CMPD points out.

That's a $238 fine for violating the proper use of lanes, the department says.

Interstate 77 at Arrowood Road is considered the surfing "hot spot" in Charlotte, where thousands of motorists have learned they can save minutes stuck in traffic by using the exit as a quick detour.

CMPD's announcement of the operation set off a collective cheer on Facebook, with nearly 1,100 shares and hundreds of positive comments.

Many people responded by nominating other intersections for similar operations, including: Interstate 485 at Arrowood Road; Interstate 485 at Highway 160; Interstate 277 at U.S. 74; and Interstate 77 at Gilead Road.

"FINALLY. This crap has been going on for 16 years since I moved here," wrote Kelly Corrine on the CMPD Facebook page. "I've been almost hit several times because of people doing exactly that. I thank you."

"Someone almost side swiped me doing that," posted Terri Dee on Facebook. "I had never seen that before and didn't know it was illegal, but it was an experience that I will never forget."

"I don't know if it will hold up in court, but it will cause people to think before they make this move again," posted Tanya Hill on Facebook.

"I can't thank you enough for this!" wrote Greg Maynor. "If you work off the exit it's so frustrating ... I applaud CMPD for taking action."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police added an addendum on their Facebook post: "This will be an ongoing operation."