The Urge to Merge


Merging Traffic — it isn’t supposed to be this difficult!
You hit the highway on-ramp, you come up to speed, and you seamlessly fit your car in between the other traffic that’s already going highway speed — whatever that might be. Merge

I don’t know why but it sure seems that this concept of merging if alien to an awful lot of drivers.  So, please excuse a minor rant.  Thank you.

I understand the concept of highway courtesy.  If there theres a highway on-ramp ahead, and there’s no one on my opposite side I try to edge on over and give the merging traffic as much room as they might need to merge safely into traffic.

Merging TrafficWe all know, however, that the lane next to you isn’t universally empty.  In fact much of the time the lane next to you is occupied by a big truck! (or so it seems)  In such cases there’s no where for me to go and I stay in my lane and I continue traveling whatever highway speed I happen to be going.  Because, after all, it’s the guy-or-gal-doing-the-merging who is supposed to match their speed to the traffic and not the other way around.Yield

I don’t know if you have noticed, but there aren’t as many YIELD signs on the highway.  I suppose that’s a cost saving trend, or the highway engineers think everyone should know all about yielding by now, or maybe they figure it doesn’t do any good to put up the signs because on one pays any attention to them anymore.

If there’s one dangerous aspect of driving a motorhome with a towed car it’s the fact that so many car drivers do not check their side clearance or their mirrors and they don’t always realize that there’s a towed car behind that motorhome they are merging behind!  Some car drivers PLAN on slipping in just behind that motorhome and never consider that the motorhome might be towing a car.  I have seen several on-ramp cars hit their brakes so hard when they realized there’s already something in that space that the nose of their car has dipped and they suddenly fall off the pace of traffic.merging traffic in construction

It’s really easy, this merging thing.  It’s easy if you have matched the speed of the traffic in the right-of-way lanes that is.  If you’re poking along in another world, then maybe it’s not so easy.

For example,  our motorcoach often cannot attain highway speed on the measly on-ramp we are given.  That means it’s MY JOB to try to merge seamlessly into traffic.  I’m looking for traffic on the highway even before I turn onto the on-ramp if I can see it.  I’m looking for a space I can fit into without causing others to brake.  Usually it’s pretty easy to time my acceleration and merge without much problem.  And when 18-wheelers see a coach on the on ramp they will usually change lanes to help accommodate the merge situation as they themselves have been caught in the same crunch many times!  Cars rarely think about common courtesy it seems and some would just as soon run you off the road as move over.

But then, it’s not their responsibility to move.  It’s our responsibility to merge seamlessly — go get up to speed!

The other day I was in one of those left-lane-blocked-by-a-truck situations as a new model car was entering from the right.  The guy — and it WAS a guy — wasn’t checking his rear-view mirror — I watched for head movement all the way down the ramp.  He was moseying along at about 35 when he hit the bottom of a LONG ramp that could easily have gotten him up to cruising speed before he hit the traffic lane, and he came down to the bottom of the ramp right even with the middle of our coach — evidently expecting that I would move over to give him room.  Except there was no place for me to move.  He drove that way until the merge lane  ended — matching my speed  — and then finally hitting his brakes and pulling in behind me when I didn’t move over.  And of course when he finally got sorted and up to speed he just had to sound his horn to voice his displeasure with me.

I doubt he had a very good day.  If you get all worked up about someone being unable to accommodate your stupidity then the day isn’t going to go very well no matter who you are.

Thanks for putting up with my rant.  I know it won’t do any good.  But tomorrow we’ll talk about something else.  Cheers, and see you tomorrow.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Well there’s one benefit of a fifth wheel over a motorhome…there’s no doubt that I’m towing something, Peter! ;). Just kiddin’. 🙂

    Oh, you are SOOO correct about this. Today’s cars will go from zero to infinity in 2.1 seconds. When you turn on the on ramp, put down the phone, look in your mirror and get on the accelerator. Don’t be indecisive…just get on the stick!

    There, I’m done ranting also. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL — some of it is the entitlement mentality — you have to make room for me. But I hate to tell ya that there are times a person is literally unable to make room. (as you well know) and in those instances the little guy gets the worst of the deal. I might have body damage but the car is gonna look like a metal-bad-hair-day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indecision, phones, testosterone…lots of reasons! On the other hand, nothing quite as cool as a successful merge. 🙂

        That leads to a memory. I was in drivers ed. Apollo Driving School, so you can guess the time period. One of my classmates was driving. We pulled over and the teacher told me to get behind the wheel. First time on the road…Detroit, Michigan, to set the scene. “Turn right”, he said. I-75 South entrance ramp….rush hour. Talk about baptism by fire !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL. Yeah — when we got married Peggy had never learned how to drive a stick. I was assigned to Chicago Wesley Hospital in downtown Chicago to do my 2 years as a C.O. and my first day on the job I drove our VW from the near south side to Ohio and Michigan avenue and she had to drive home — in rush hour. She’s as good a stick driver as I am now — but that one day she was mighty upset.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Shortly after my first trip, I start using the middle lane in the highway while passing through congested or Urban area. I’m sure many of the folks on the road curse while passing me on either side, but having to constantly move over trying to give clueless drivers entering the highway at less than highway speed is far more risky than just staying one lane over to the left.

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    1. Dave — I completely agree with you. In addition, there is usually a lane — 1 over from the right — that you can ride right through town no matter how many ramps and exits — without changing lanes at all. Every time you don’t change lanes is an accident avoided.

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  3. Couldn’t agree with you more! People are idiots on freeways. I think it’s because we rarely see law enforcement enforcing traffic laws.
    I grew up in southern California and second day of drivers training the teacher had us on the freeway practicing merging. I always thought California drivers were better than other states. That is until we were in California this spring! What horrible drivers! They don’t know how to merge either! Things sure have changed in forty years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya Karen. I’ve driven a lot of CA roads and I hear what you’re saying. I do remember that there have been a lot of really short entrance ramps in the metro areas – not sure if that has been corrected or continues to be a problem. Some of those are exceptionally hard to get up to speed on. But that’s no excuse for not trying.

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  4. I heard that GRRRR and totally agree. I thing we would have few accidents if people were aware of others on the road and respected their presence and ability to maneuver their vehicle.

    One other type I hate is the slow driver in the fast lane who wont move over, stacking up cars bumper to bumper behind him. They start to agitate the ones behind them who in turn begin making unsafe maneuvers to get around the slow vehicle. Half the time I can’t tell if the slow vehicle is unaware or simply stubborn but in either case he is a hazard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The lack of acknowledgement of other people is becoming a huge issue in our society I fear. From driving with ear buds on, to ignoring traffic laws, to sitting in a circle playing with your iPhone and never talking to people you are right next to. We seem to dislike conversation and personal relationship.
      Slow moving fast lane-ers are a big problem but it seems the more common — where we seem to be — are the people that scream down the right lane — or the RIGHT SHOULDER — going a gazillion miles an hour because they can’t wait to do it the right way. Seem to have seen a lot of those guys lately (and gals)

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      1. I don’t know where all of those guys have been coming from but lately it seems I can’t go down the road without encountering one.

        GRRRRRRRR

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    1. If it were only stupid that wouldn’t be bad. It’s also the fact that people think they are above the law, that the world should get out of their way, that they are privileged, and you should change your behavior just for them. (or that they are asleep at the wheel). GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

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