April 17, 2010

Soapbox Saturday - To Merge or Not to Merge.....


Okay, I'm a bit stubborn, but I can usually admit when I'm wrong.  Here's the topic....merging.  Tell me if I'm right or wrong.

When you know a lane is going to end, shouldn't you scoot your booty over asap?  One of my biggest pet peaves is when I merge, even when it slows me down, and then I watch a couple of cars floor it until they get to the last possible point to merge.  It's like they are saying, "I'm more important than you and you have to let me in!"  I think to myself, you better have a woman in labor in that car.  Maybe I'm over-reacting, but that's how I feel.

Flashback: I started dating a guy right before I met Mr. Right.  He completely disagreed with me on this topic.  He thought the lane should be used until the very end.  I was floored.  The relationship didn't progress after that.  (Okay, that obviously wasn't the only issue.)

So, what do you think?  Am I a raging pyscho with pent up anger or is it an unspoken rule to merge sooner than later?  Give it to me straight.

35 comments:

  1. I totally totally totally agree with you. When it happens to me I don't let them in. hehehe

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  2. I agree with you. I even think the "woman in labor" thought, too!

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  3. Totally on board with you. I am also one of those people who will absolutely NOT let those people who fly by in. Rage on woman!

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  4. I totally agree with you, it drives me nuts; having said that there was an article in the paper the other day that said merging soon than you need to actually slows traffic down. Just a thought. :)

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_14860149

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  5. I completely agree! I hate when people do this, like they think they own the world and so their time is worth more than ours.

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  6. Ooooh I hate it when they think they are that important!!! I try not to let them in... safely of course ;)

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  7. I've never thought about the merge lane, but on a related note, I like to put my turn signal on BEFORE changing lanes, to alert other drivers of my plan. And if I'm in heavy traffic and need to get over, I'll put it on until someone lets me in. My hubby, on the other hand, turns it on AS he is changing lanes. And if he's in heavy traffic, he'll just cuss and swear until he finds a spot. I think my way is MUCH better.

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  8. Umm, definatly agree with you on this topic. It is called being polite. Kind. Not selfish. Safety. I just feel sad for the people though. (although, I do get annoyed too)

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  9. I'm with you. I'll even go ahead and admit that I'm mean enough to hope that (in the case of a freeway, traffic jam, merging situation) the dude who is flying past us all in the lane to be merged, won't get let in up ahead for over 30 minutes as punishment. Jerk.

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  10. I've lived in 6 states since I've been driving. I must say that traffic flows much smoother when everyone merges at the end of the lane. States where people merge earlier tend to have slower traffic in merging areas. So while I grew up learning to merge right away, it is now my pet peeve when people do because it slows traffic. If everyone drives to the end it is ultimately safer. Less people slamming on breaks for merging cars. But, if you live in an area where it isn't common practice I see how it could be considered cutting.

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  11. I always merge at the end of the merge. I thought you were suppose to - I don't do it to sneak in there usually. What I hate is that no one will let you in when you are merging and traffic is heavy. Just a view from the other side of merging! LOL!

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  12. This has always been a peeve of mine too! I was just ranting and raving about it to my hubby in the car the other day! You're not a raging psycho...and if you are, I must be too because my blood pressure is up just thinking about it! haha

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  13. I'm a merge in the middle person. Not right when they say but not till the end. I used to do it right away but then I got so mad of people speeding in ahead of me I decided to wait a little, though not till the end. Just somewhere in the middle.

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  14. I think it's possible to wait until the end AND be a jerk about it (I hate that guy), but traffic flows better if you wait until the end and it makes an I-go-you-go-I-go-you-go pattern. While I can't actually explain WHY it makes all the difference in the world, when I'm driving in a lot of traffic, it turns an ugly mess into a predictable and polite transition. You all know what to expect, and no one gets angry.

    So, to reply to the idea that I wait until the end because I'm more important than the person who moved over 50 feet before the end of the lane - I don't think I'm more important, but I'm doing what I think is best for everyone, given my experiences in congested traffic. Your experiences may have lead you to a different conclusion (merging early is better), but my experiences have taught me both that preventing me from merging when my lane ends make me behave unsafely - I have no where to go, and your refusal to allow me in forces me to either cut you off (accident, anyone?) or run myself into a ditch hoping the person behind you is nicer - and that it's better for all of us if I merge when I'm told to rather than when I'm warned it's approaching.

    The flip side is that when you stop so far before the end of your lane, you prevent everyone behind you from making any progress either, which can lead to more mess (your lane not moving) or unsafe practices (speeding past you in the shoulder/ditch) to maintain the flow of traffic. Something to ponder :)

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  15. I am in the group that uses the lane until the end when it's time to merge.. then it is the little dance of me then you to merge at the end.. I love it when everyone is in my boat and it goes smoothly..

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  16. I merge early to be polite and so I don't freak out when I run out of lane to merge with. It's one of the little things I do to be a nice person.

    Merge on my friend, merge on.

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  17. Well, I don't know if anyone else said this or not, but...I think it's up to everyone to cooperate. People who are in the lane that's ending should merge as soon as it is possible for them to do so, but people in the lane next to it need to make opportunities for those who are trying to merge....often times, I find myself waiting til the last possible second to merge because no one will let me in. If people were more cooperative with each other, merging in general would go much smoother!!

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  18. Ewww that makes me so mad! I totally agree with you!!!

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  19. I am in complete agreeance with you!! I happen to think that you should think about all of the other drivers when you drive! So I am there with you!

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  20. I totally did not read all the responses, but enough to know I must not be part of the norm. Traffic gets backed up way worse when people merge so far ahead of time. If you have like half a mile to merge, why would you not use a quarter mile of two lanes that you can before plugging up traffic? I think it makes traffic worse when people merge right away. I don't condone waiting until the last minute, but there certainly is a happy median...

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  21. Ok, I just read all of the comments and am glad to see the 50/50 split. And I think that it is funny that to help keep traffic flowing (merge at the end) is considered 'impolite," but blocking it by merging early is somehow "polite."

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  22. I totally agree with you!

    I merge early when there is available space to merge into. Late mergers drive me crazy! Why do you have to squeeze your way between cars? And they really do SQUEEZE! :)

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  23. Forgot to add this to my last comment...the worst of the worst are the ones that are already in a lane, get out of that lane to get into the merging lane and try to speed past you in order to gain a few extra feet. Are you serious?!

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  24. OK.....you don't even know the meaning of merge until you've driven here in Vladivostok Russia! The word here is BUTT IN! If there's an inch between you and the next guy, your out of luck, they butt right in...not to mention if you're making a turn then they come up on the right or left, 5 deep and turn right with you or better yet cut you off big time. Just ask your parents. They are white-knuckled every time we're in the car.

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  25. I agree entirely - and I seethe with rage when cars 'sit' in the middle or outer lane here - when you have finished overtaking PULL OVER YOU $%^&$

    I'm getting wound up just thinking about it.

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  26. I live in the land of non-driving idiots (NoVA). They all try to wait until the end...and it causes so many issues. I also hate when people get over early by crossing over the striped area on the road. Jeez!

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  27. I agree with you and force others to participate. When I see that a merge is approaching, I drive right in the middle between the two lanes so people can't get around me on either side. A little trick I learned from my Dad. I KNOW it's probably VERY irritating to the other drivers, but I can't help but smirk as I do it! hehe

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  28. This irritates me also!!! Although now that I have read some of the comments and they say you should wait until the end of the lane to merge, I don't know what to do. Because if I do wait, people are going to think that I'm a jerk. Here's what I think--they need to have a nation-wide news story on this telling people that you should wait until the end to merge because it helps the flow of traffic so that we are all on the same page about it. Maybe they could also hand out a little card stating this when you go to renew your driver's license. Otherwise, everyone is still going to think I'm being a jerk!!!

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  29. I don't know if it's different where I live but when I took driver's ed we were taught that you are supposed to use as much of the lane as you need to to get up to the same speed as traffic AND find a space. Sometimes that requires that you use the whole lane, sometimes not. I find that sometimes to find a gap I have speed around people who are trying their hardest to not make room for me (perhaps those people that merged early and think I'm just being a jerk by waiting to merge?).
    MY pet peeve on the road is when people just move over into 120km/h traffic without getting up to the speed of traffic first. That's just downright dangerous!

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  30. It goes much more smoothly if you merge at the end. They have finally started putting signs up here in construction zones that say "Use both lanes to merge point".

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  31. Oh my goodness - this is exactly how I feel about this subject, too. In fact, I wish all people would band together to NOT let people in who think they deserve to go right up to the end of their lane. I always complain to my husband about these idiots, and he just laughs. But that is why merging in Utah sucks - everyone thinks they are so much more important.

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  32. Okay, and I just read all the other comments. I think it's appropriate to merge with traffic, sure. But that is often before the very end of the merge lane - because if it isn't you actually have to stop because there is no where else for you to go. In my opinion, you get over as soon as you are comfortably able to. And I hate the idiots who think they get to speed up to the very end of the merge lane just because the rest of traffic has already figured the merger out.

    See, this really is a hot button issue for me. Haha.

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  33. I think people are making this an emotional issue when it is actually a logistical issue.

    Waiting till the end does not make you a jerk or make you more important than anyone else.

    Waiting a little before merging helps to keep traffic flowing. If you have a half mile of two lanes to use up, people should use them, then at the end it's a "you go, I go" effect, keeping traffic running more smoothly. If everyone immediately merges over, then what you have is a half mile of cars that are bumper to bumper when they could spread out and use both available lanes.

    I think it's funny that using the available lane till the end is considered jerk-like, but then trying to shut those cars out at the end isn't?

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  34. Ha ha. I used to think the same way until I married my husband. He is a transportation planner and tells me that the correct way (and the way it is designed to go)is to merge when one lane ends is for cars to go to the very end and NOT to merge as soon as they see the sign. It actually slows the traffic down when people merge right away. He best explained it to me by saying it is sort of like a zipper and if all the cars stayed in the lane until the end and then cars merge at that point, traffic will always merge faster and smoother instead of getting stuck behind the car trying to slow down to get in right away.
    Just found your blog and LOVE it, getting some cute ideas for our RS super saturday coming up.

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  35. I've lived in 4 states over the last 5 years, and I must say that I USED to merge immediately (and I still do when it appears to be what the rest of the traffic is doing...I feel awkward being the only one using both lanes to their full potential). However, most recently my husband and I have been living in Pittsburgh, PA, where I'm pretty sure that half of the city is under construction at any given moment (that's another pet peeve of mine - why can't they just focus on a few construction projects and get them over with quicker instead of sort-of focus on a million projects and take forever doing so?? -My neighborhood's exit from the highway has been under construction for SIX MONTHS and isn't supposed to be done for at least that much longer because they only work on the darn thing about one or two days a week! But that's another rant...). What I've really appreciated in all of the construction mess in Pittsburgh is that the construction crews actually post signs up instructing everyone to "use both lanes until the merge point", and I must say that traffic has flowed better here than any other place that I've lived. When we move yet again next summer, I think I'll continue the trend of using both lanes. I do agree that those cars zipping by way too fast, however, can be very dangerous and I wish that they'd slow down a bit to reflect the fact that there are a bunch of idling/slow-moving cars in the next lane over.

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