Merging Etiquette and Road Rage

8.07.2010

Yes, I know it's been forever since I last blogged and all...no need to state the obvious in snarky comments.  That being said, I have a topic that is just begging for a blog entry and is too big to fit in a Facebook status update so...here goes...

I recently had a friendly debate with a dear friend about the "right" way to merge when you hit construction on the freeway and traffic narrows to a single lane.  Do you a) merge as soon as you see the sign or b) be one of "those people" and speed to the front of the line past all the suckers and merge at the last minute?

Now before having this conversation, I actually thought it was common knowledge that if you were a good-spirited, moral, ethical person, you knew that the answer was to quickly merge and wait your turn in line and if you were a jerky, self-absorbed, idiot you don't care about the rest of humanity and so you just blow by everybody in line and go as far as you can and then wedge your way into the through lane at the last second whether somebody lets you or not.  And then my world was rocked when I talked to a person who fit profile a and whose opinion I happen to respect, but was practicing behavior b! So rather than let it go, like a sane person, I've tried to find an answer from an authoritative source. I finally got a response from the Idaho Transportation Department (oh yes...I really did).  I asked two questions: What is the right way to do it? Am I, as an early-merger, required to let the line-skippers merge?  Here is the answer I received from the head of the state driver's license program:
"Regarding your first question, a driver should merge into the though-lane as soon as it is safe to do so. If the driver waits until the lane ends before attempting to merge there may not be adequate time and space to merge smoothly and avoid interrupting the flow of traffic.
In answer to your second question, the through traffic has the right of way and merging traffic must yield. While the through traffic may be able to make some speed adjustment to allow interspersed merging, the through traffic is not required to yield to the merging traffic. The merging traffic does not have the right of way. If there is a collision, the merging vehicle is likely to be cited for failure-to-yield. Occasionally, traffic could be so heavy that merging vehicles may be required to come to a stop to prevent collisions and then only proceed when the way is clear."
All I'm going to say is that it makes sense to me.  This response pretty much follows the reasoning that I had assumed all along.  It just makes sense to me that if we all could just get along and merge while we're still moving at a decent speed, there would be no reason to have to come to a complete standstill down the road. In fairness, I do have to say that there could certainly be situations where traffic in both lanes is so heavy in a big city setting that it probably doesn't matter when people try to merge and it's going to become complete gridlock no matter what. Having said that, this has not been the situation I was in 98% of the time.  It's usually open Idaho Interstate, and I often get so angry watching huge trucks blow by me pulling campers and 4-wheeler trailers that I seriously consider what sort of road-rage action I could spring on them that would wipe that smug smile off of their faces and not get me and my family killed.  If anyone thinks of anything, let me know...

I'm only posting this, dear friend, for your safety and well-being (and for the sanity of us line-sitters).  I will refrain from gloating...at least I will try...very difficult...

OK, I feel so much better now having this burden off my chest.  I think I may start doing this blog thing more often.

1 comment:

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