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.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.