Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traffic Etiquette

Tim Challies had an interesting blog this morning concerning the late merger. He explains the situation like this:

You know these people. Most of you, when you are crawling along the highway in heavy traffic and see a sign telling you that the lane will end in one mile (or one kilometer if you’re up here in Canada), quickly bump over into the lane that will not end, glad that you’ve immediately sorted out that problem. Now you can be assured that you won’t find yourself squeezed onto the shoulder or parked endlessly with your light blinking, trying to squeeze your way out of that dying lane while everyone else tries to block your progress. Yet, as you sit there, content that you’ve done the right thing, you can’t help but notice all those people speeding by to your right, driving their cars to the edge, to the brink, to the very last car-length of the lane that is about to end. You grouch, your grumble, you remark on their complete lack of care for the other people on the road. And yet you have to admit that they will get where they are going before you will. They seem unaffected by your plight, content to further their own goals even at your expense.

Tim uses an example from Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, to explain why he has switched from the conservative, early merger to the late merger. It is evident from the responses that this is an emotional issue for many people. I personally can not stand the late merger. It is as if he cannot be forced to wait in line like everyone else, and thinks it is his right to be in front of everyone else. I applaud the semi-trucks that drive side by side in these situations to prevent the late merger. Essentially I think the late merger is using the right lane to pass, and therefore illegal lane usage. I found one example of a driver ticketed for late-merging, and successfully had it overturned. I liken the situation to the person who uses the center turn lane as their personal merger lane in heavy traffic. The law on this issue may vary in different states. The one I found is for Michigan and it states:
It is unlawful to use the center left turn lane for a right turn or as a merge lane when entering the roadway.

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