Rules of the Road

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Mar 14, 2018.

?

Read the Situation in Post 1.

Poll closed Jul 12, 2018.
  1. Move to the left lane merging ASAP.

    12 vote(s)
    34.3%
  2. Stay in your lane until the merge point.

    12 vote(s)
    34.3%
  3. Merge whenever you want as long as it safe and orderly.

    11 vote(s)
    31.4%
  1. Huntn, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    The Situation:
    In my neighborhood on a dual lane road (two lanes each way separated by a medium), speed limit 45mph, about a mile before , a sign says Road Work Ahead. About a half mile before, a sign says Right Lane Closed, and traffic starts moving towards the left lane. However the right lane is still open, but in the left traffic has slowed down to 5mph or less. What should you do?
    1. Move to the left lane merging safely ASAP.
    2. Stay in your lane (if you are in the right lane, wait until the merge point (angled cones that direct the right lane traffic into the left), and then merge into a single lane in an orderly fashion.
    3. Merge whenever you want as long as it safe and orderly.
    The reason I ask, I was in this situation, in the right lane, and about 200’ prior to the merge point a car was straddling both lanes as if to say, I’m not going to lose my spot by letting you passing me on the right. Fortunately he did not straddle enough and I eased by him, and proceeded up to merge point about 15 cars ahead of him where I merged. No cursing or shots were fired. Maybe I was lucky. ;)

    Was I right or wrong, or is there no wrong answer?
    Here is my reasoning, when a lane is closed, from a traffic congestion standpoint, it makes more sense to fill both lanes equally until the merge point than to have one lane backed up twice as far. You keep your proper place in line, and no one passes you up because you were extra orderly and formed a single line early, which is also a valid choice, but not required.
     
  2. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #2
    Was she looking into her crystal ball?

    [​IMG]
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2018 ---
    On topic ...

    I think it's better for people to merge sooner vs. later, take an opportunity to do it while people are moving. Wait till the end, traffic _stops_, and 98% of those people are just trying to pass as many cars as possible.
     
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #3
    Yes, I was passing cars, but from a traffic congestion standpoint, my point is valid, at least imo. :) People around here are very good about alternating at a merge point. And there is no compelling reason to merge early, unless you are worried about people letting you in. Safety was not an issue.
     
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #4
    In my opinion, you're mostly wrong, because the issue isn't filling lanes equally -- the issue is precisely at the point of the merge, where everything changes.

    I'm going to argue for the earliest possible merge (avoiding the open lane that's going to be closed down the road), for two reasons.

    1. A practical one. Unless the line of cars in the through lane is very long and has been stacked up for a long time, there will be more room between any two cars than there will be at the must-merge point, because at the must-merge point people will have slowed down and bunched up. Therefore a merge will be smoother and (see the next point) less annoying to the person who has to let you in.

    2. An interpersonal relationship one. Although I've sometimes relented, when somebody goes whipping by me on the right, down a clearly-marked "you have to merge" lane and then flips on a turn signal and tries to nose in at the last possible minute, thus getting ahead of all of us, I don't let that person in. That's an "it's all about me" merge.

    I admit that there are local differences. At the end of NY State where I lived, the barge-ahead-squeeze-in manuver at a toll booth or gate was considered bad behavior. But when I would go down to the NYC area and curse about the same behavior, my son would say, "Dad, that's how we do it down here."
     
  5. mollyc macrumors 65816

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #5
    Studies show it is most efficient to merge at the last moment and keep both lanes full.
     
  6. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #6
    I accept your disagreement, but in the case I described, traffic in the left lanes was stop and go, and the people in the right lanes, were moving about 10 mph until the merge point. The speed limit was 45mph. If traffic was moving, an early merge while moving would be better, but when it gets backed up to a crawl, it makes no difference imo from a safety standpoint to wait until the merge point where traffic was moving from 1-5 mph.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2018 ---
    Exactly my point, the footprint of the backed up area remains smaller and there is no issue with hey, that jack ass passed me! ;)
     
  7. RootBeerMan, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    RootBeerMan macrumors 6502a

    RootBeerMan

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    #7
    You were correct in your method. That is the way you are supposed to merge and it is also the most efficient and keeps traffic flowing. I've had asshats like the driver in your scenario do the same to me. I just ease by to the left and smoke 'em.

    Here's a NYT article on the matter. We are correct.

    And a few others:
    https://www.cars.com/articles/2014/05/the-zipper-merge-convincing-motorists-isnt-a-snap/
    https://arstechnica.com/cars/2014/07/the-beauty-of-zipper-merging-or-why-you-should-drive-ruder/
     
  8. Allyance macrumors regular

    Allyance

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    #8
    For the safety of the workers, I would merge mid way down the lane, upsetting no one, you don't wan't to aggravate a hot head by racing up to the front. That is typical here in "Me first California". I was always taught to use alternate merge on ramps etc. I have an intersection near me that is 3 lanes on one side and two lanes across the light. Most people fill up the odd lane from a previous turn lane, sometimes I will run up to the front if there is a bus or truck in the middle lane. Most of the time people will us the alternating merge technique.
     
  9. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    Zipper merge at the point where the right lane disappears. Any other approach is both inefficient and inequitable.
     
  10. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #10
    This is all interesting. I read one of the zipper-merge articles and the only flaw I see in it is that everybody has to cooperate. If it happens where this is accepted -- then it's clearly the best solution. I often see this happening with ordinary merges onto highways at rush time, the old each-one-lets-one, which is what ideally happens with zipper merges.

    I continue to wonder about regional differences.
     
  11. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #11
    Yep. I've seen a number of studies, from a pure traffic flow analysis, at the merge point is best - factor in a little standard human psychology, no thanks, I merge early and just chill :D
     
  12. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #12
    I've heard this "zipper merge" theory often, and that waiting until the last moment is "the most efficient and only way to do it".

    This makes sense if the traffic is backed up and going slow even after the merge. But, if the issue IS the merge, then waiting until the end is what is actually causing the backup. If you wait until the end and need to get in, but there is no space, someone has to stop to let you in. That is going to create a problem.

    I also can't stand the people who think zipper merge means that you wait until the last second to get over for an interstate exit which is backed up. Here in Atlanta for one of my commutes, 25% of the 25-minute commute is spent getting past one exit because drivers block all four lanes of the interstate attempting to cut in at the last second.
     
  13. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    "Between the Hedges"
    #13
    I-285 and 400
     
  14. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #14
    I-85N to 400. Probably 285 at 400 also. Interesting fact: even as the population of Northern Atlanta has grown by millions, and 285 has grown from 2 or 3 to 6 lanes, the intersection of 285 and 400 has not changed in the last almost 50 years.
     
  15. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    Mar 20, 2004
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    "Between the Hedges"
    #15
    My daily commute takes me from Spaghetti Junction (I-285/85) across the top end of 285 to I-75 and back in the evenings
    The merging from 285 to 85N at Spaghetti is a fresh hell every day
     
  16. Huntn, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #16
    FYI, I have no issue with your method, but regarding worker safety, in my case the merge point was well before the work zone. I think what motivated me to post was the guy who decided to merge left and wanted to decide when I should merge left, and yes, he did not want me to pass him on the right. :)
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2018 ---
    I'm glad you made this distinction because I'm describing a single lane merge for construction vs an exit and for what you described, I agree completely, because it's a completely different situation on the highway/Interstate for an exit.

    For such cases, I usually get in line early for an exit because when traffic is moving, or is completely backed up, they might not be inclined to let you in while you are sitting in a moving lane holding up traffic trying to jam in.
     
  17. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #17
    What you are describing is a specific merging scenario when there is a lane(s) closed, and I personally have no problem in zippering for this
    Yes, people do try to block lanes at times to make their point, and there have been times I have wanted to
    MY biggest issue is like mentioned before, when it is a merging to an exit... where I feel people should plan for it and not expect to be entitled to break in at the last moment
     
  18. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #18
    Tell me about the mysterious lady and her crystal ball. I find her... appealing. :p
     
  19. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #19
    For myself personally, if I see a sign that says Right or Left 'X' Lane(s) Closed Ahead I merge as soon as I can into the lane that will be left open.

    I do this so I don't have to fight to merge at the merge point. Right or wrong, the people in the lane you are merging into at the merge point often see you as 'jumping the line'. And they are out to teach you a lesson by blocking your merge. "That ******* is NOT going to get ahead of ME!" is the mentality.

    I prefer not to deal with that.

    But I don't see people merging at the merge point as taking advantage of me. It's a legal lane…until it's not.

    I compensate in other ways. I long, long ago learned an old trucker's trick. Give people enough space ahead of you in traffic and all you have to do is let up off your accelerator and the engine brakes you. With enough distance you don't have to touch the brakes. I drive this way in traffic on the freeway and I drive this way when lanes are merging.

    The second benefit to that is that often the people in the other lane(s) are looking to merge at the last moment. If I have provided a few car lengths between me and the person ahead of me, that merger can take the space ahead of me. THAT in my experience keeps traffic moving.

    I don't have to slam on the brakes and I don't have to worry about people trying to push their way over on me. The only downside is that one guy that is looking for space at the last moment that floors it and then slams on the brakes ahead of me. I'm usually keeping an eye out in my mirrors for those people though.

    I have a personal hatred for using the brakes. It slows me down and I don't like to stop. I'd rather move forward at 1mph keeping space than have to sit on my brakes.

    Driving is not a competition, although a lot of people treat it like one. I'd rather come home with my car undamaged.
     
  20. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #20
    It depends on the state.

    Just like on the playground and in adult life the rule that usually means the most is the law of gross tonnage.
     
  21. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #21
    If I know the lane is ending/closing and I have room to merge at that point, I will. If the lane is at a crawl, then I will go up to the end and merge there. Not to be jerk, but because it is the most efficient way to merge. You let someone merge, then you go, person merges behind you, etc.

    But people are selfish. People in rush hour gridlock will use the exit/entrance lane as a way to cheat up a few cars. When one lane moves, others will cut in so they can keep on moving. This is why people won't allow people to merge when entering a highway that is at a standstill( not to confuse merging when traffic is at speed, as the person entering has to give way vs the people already on the highway). Why people tailgate each other during rush hour traffic. I try to always leave enough room in order to keep my car moving as long as possible vs constantly riding my brakes, pressing the gas to move 2 ft, and then back on the brakes. But it is agitating a bit when people take advantage of that and cut in front of me because at that moment, my lane is the one moving.
     
  22. samiwas macrumors 68000

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    Atlanta, GA
    #22
    That is the worst commute ever.
     
  23. D.T., Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

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    Vilano Beach, FL
    #23
    Holly hell, that's a _bad_ one. A long time ago I did some consulting work in the A-T-L, and stayed up / drove from in from Roswell.

    Yes, same, I like to creep along at a consistent pace, even if it's super slow and use the brakes as little as possible.
     
  24. Allyance macrumors regular

    Allyance

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    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    #24
    Here is a trick I used to see in Toronto years ago on the Don Valley Parkway; Driver cuts over to the shoulder and heads for the exit ramp, then at the last second cuts back into traffic!!
     
  25. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #25
    Arizona drivers often use the center lane on city streets to pass people in the left lane who are driving too slow.

    Arizona also tends to lead the nation in red light running…
     

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