View Poll Results: Merge sooner or later?

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  • I wait until the lanes actually merge.

    14 58.33%
  • I need to merge ASAP.

    4 16.67%
  • Honk, gas, punch!

    1 4.17%
  • I don't ever drive a car, and neither should you.

    5 20.83%
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  1. #1
    Grey Manrod
    Reputation: Brick Tamland's Avatar
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    Traffic question: merge lanes.

    Here's the scenario: you're driving in your car on the freeway/interstate whatever in stop-and-go traffic. The lane you are in merges with the lane next to you. (Think about an entrance ramp onto the interstate). Do you:

    a.) Try to merge into the other as soon as possible?

    b.) Continue in your lane until the two lanes actually merge?

    I believe in merging when the two lanes merge. Here's my argument: by attempting to merge as soon as possible, you wind up basically blocking two lanes, and further backing up traffic behind you. If you stay in your lane, traffic keeps moving, and then you just time your merge when the lanes merge thus resulting in mimimal stoppage. Also, you don't save any time by trying to MERGE RIGHT NOW!

    I have tested this hypothesis numerous times, and I think I'm right. But, people tell me that I'm basically cutting in line and it's unfair to all the other people. My response is that the lane is basically open, I'm helping traffic behind me by not being stopped in the middle of the lane while trying to get into the other lane that isn't moving? The point is to keep traffic moving......

    Really, it seems like a no-brainer to me. That's why the DOT gave you a half-mile of merge lane to use.

  2. #2
    MB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Tamland
    Here's the scenario: you're driving in your car .....
    There is your problem right there.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
    Grey Manrod
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1
    There is your problem right there.
    Check the poll-------------> you read my mind.

  4. #4
    waterproof*
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    Where's the option for "speed up the shoulder until the very last instant, then merge" ?

    I think TXDOT released a study on this a couple years back and they concluded that the fastest thing for all participants is to cruise up the open lane and merge as late as possible. Talk radio had a fun few days with that one.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  5. #5
    Lets Go Hokies!!!
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    I typically merge whenever I can, regardless of where I am on the merge lane. I take 95 to and from work everyday, so I get plenty of practice.

    The thing that messes it all up is when people are in the merge lane and decide they want to merge early and STOP in the lane while trying to get over through the traffic. That blocks up the entire lane and forces people to pass on the shoulder to keep going in the merge lane properly. Happens every few days to me and it is really infuriating.
    Its not over till you're underground


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  6. #6
    waterproof*
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    This is why I think that cars should be equipped with paintball guns, aimed by eye-tracking lasers.

    So when an idjuct pulls an idjuct move, the offended drivers can pelt idjuct's car with paint. After a while, the idjuct will have to either pay for a repaint, or resign him/herself to the fact that s/he is an idjuct. Perhaps a few people will change their ways.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  7. #7
    Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
    Reputation: bikeboy389's Avatar
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    Waiting until the end works as long as everybody takes turns and merges in an orderly fashion. When we were in Switzerland, all the merges had signs that illustrated one-car-at-a-time merging, and had the words, "Like a zipper."

    It worked great, and you never had one lane that was stopped while the other was empty or still moving.

    You get the one stopped lane because some asshats refuse to let another car in, or because of people changing lanes a lot to get into the "best" lane, or people trying to force their way out of the disappearing lane.

    So your way only works if people realize that driving is a cooperative activity, not a competitive one. Something most people do not understand at all, I should note.

    Are you doing it right? Only if everybody else is doing it right too.
    "jazz gives you large testicles"--aliensporebomb

  8. #8
    Captain Obvious
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    i wait unless it's obviously open and people are being slow.
    And it just hurts in the very best way possible without a high priced dominatrix.---Ronsonic

    I'm pretty confident that I've pissed off several dozen random strangers on the internet tonight.---Creakyknees

    disclaimer---I make sh!t up as I go along.

  9. #9
    Steaming piles of opinion
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    It's not where, it's how.

    Get up to the speed of the remaining lane, pick a slot, signal, and slide over. It's all good if you do that where you first can, or where the lanes end. The trouble is with folks that shove their way in from a stop, rather than merging gracefully. Predictably, that happens most often at the far end of the lane, as aggressive drivers try to get one more bumper ahead and fail.

    Also, you should follow the car in front of you. Stopping to wait for a moreon to get in badly then taking the next slot is better than jetting around. The reason isn't strictly with your behavior, but with other folks' perception of fairness.

    If everyone is merging in a semi-orderly fashion and see you 'cut' ahead of them, they'll tighten up and tailgate to try to keep you from entering ahead of them. That will lock you out until the end, forcing you to shove in instead of merge, clogging the flow. And that's the best case. The worst case is that all of the tailgating causes a fender bender, clogging things horribly for the next 45 minutes.

    Around here, passing to the outside of a merging vehicle can earn you a ticket. Merges for road work are the most popular spot, or as an add-on when there's been an accident. I've seen state patrolmen stand at the flashing arrow trailer, and flag off people who get close enough to make eye contact.

    There is also a social responsibility for drivers in the 'intake' lane. Every driver should allow one car to slot in ahead of them, if there's one that eyes your slot. Letting in none, or letting in more than one at a time disturbs the process. There aren't any laws about that, but it's mathematically and socially responsible.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  10. #10
    Lets Go Hokies!!!
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    danl1, that is a good point on the intake lane. On the days where I don't get stuck behind some asshat trying to shove his way in, I get the people in the intake lane that seem oblivious to the fact that there may be traffic approaching from beside them. Many refuse to change lanes even if there is no one in the next lane over. That can clog traffic nicely.
    Its not over till you're underground


    http://hokierider.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    eminence grease
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    I don't understand your options. But that doesn't matter because my strategy is to just close my eyes and floor it.
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

    My travel blog: http://tbaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    If you know your current lane is going to merge, why not get over before it is even a problem?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by largegiant04
    If you know your current lane is going to merge, why not get over before it is even a problem?
    Because you'll be adding to the number of cars in the other lane, and therefore slowing its speed, instead of staying where you were in the clearer lane until it's necessary.

    The key to driving safety and efficiency for everyone is to simply drive such that no other driver ever has to put on their brakes because of our behavior. This means you must always be travelling at a speed faster than the lane you are pulling in to before you do so. Changing lanes is a FORWARD movement, not a sideways or backasswards one. Always speed up and pull in in front of someone instead of slowing down and tucking in behind them because you'll always slow down too much and the people behind you will have to brake, setting off that chain reaction that causes traffic jams some minutes later.

    Let's say a guy in the left lane needs to get over to the right lane. He's travelling 60 mph and the right lane is travelling 55 mph. Two scenarios:

    1) he decides to slip in behind a car next to him. to do so he has to be going slower than that car, so he slows down to like 50 mph and then pulls into the lane behind the car. the car behind him in the new lane was travelling 55 as well, but now they need to slow down to avoid hitting the new guy, so they slow down to like 45. then the next car has to slow down to avoid them, and they slow down to like 40...and on and on until it's stop and go traffic.

    2) he decides to keep going forward until he spots a gap up ahead, accelerates to it, pulls into it. no one behind him has to do a damn thing. everyone carries on as usual.
    Last edited by pacificaslim; 03-27-2009 at 07:31 AM.

  14. #14
    waterproof*
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    I luff you guys, such a bunch of starry-eye idealists.

    Come to Texas, where on the interstates we have large signs that say "LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY"

    Then spend an hour at 57 mph behind the dude in the left lane, blocking traffic.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  15. #15
    Captain Obvious
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    I luff you guys, such a bunch of starry-eye idealists.

    Come to Texas, where on the interstates we have large signs that say "LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY"

    Then spend an hour at 57 mph behind the dude in the left lane, blocking traffic.
    that's why your paint ball gun idea should be a .50 cal.
    And it just hurts in the very best way possible without a high priced dominatrix.---Ronsonic

    I'm pretty confident that I've pissed off several dozen random strangers on the internet tonight.---Creakyknees

    disclaimer---I make sh!t up as I go along.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I didn't mean to sneak into a lane. If you know the lane is ending the smart thing to do, in my mind, would be to get over well before the lane merges, before it would be a problem and slow others down.

    Its not the highway but the lanes merge... We have this one intersection, 20 or 30 yards after the intersection the right lane merges into the left. Why not get in the left lane before the intersection so you dont have to fight your way in.

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Not sure exactly what 'honk, gas, punch' means but I'm goin' with that option. Sounds about right given the way I get when I'm in a car.
    Whoever is running her foot up my leg, I love you.


    New Tour de Cure support link thing!! HERE!

  18. #18
    Steaming piles of opinion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    I luff you guys, such a bunch of starry-eye idealists.

    Come to Texas, where on the interstates we have large signs that say "LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY"

    Then spend an hour at 57 mph behind the dude in the left lane, blocking traffic.
    Quit whining.

    Add to that the moreons that drive down the on-ramps at 35mph (because they haven't yet seen a sign telling them it's OK to go faster,) then move over as the lane runs out without any sort of signal or attempt to look to see if the lane is clear. Only once fully in the lane do they decide to - slowly - accellerate to highway speeds.

    And when you eventually get to three-lane highway, please note that the middle lane is the low-speed lane, the left for barely faster, and the right for the clinically insane.

    Combine the three, and there's a strong chance that you will be surrounded by Ohio license plates.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  19. #19
    Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Tamland
    I believe in merging when the two lanes merge. ... But, people tell me that I'm basically cutting in line and it's unfair to all the other people.
    I agree with you on this one, if you're already in the lane that's going to merge. What would be kinda shitty is if you left your lane to get into the merge lane, thereby cutting in front of the people who were just in front of you. People do that all the time here: jump into the on-ramp's merge lane, which of course creates a bottleneck when the two lanes finally merge.
    "He groaned when we hung the rope over the tree but was relieved to see the white pinata."
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  20. #20
    Grey Manrod
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRoebuck
    I agree with you on this one, if you're already in the lane that's going to merge. What would be kinda shitty is if you left your lane to get into the merge lane, thereby cutting in front of the people who were just in front of you. People do that all the time here: jump into the on-ramp's merge lane, which of course creates a bottleneck when the two lanes finally merge.
    I don't do that. Those people deserve a punch in the nads.

  21. #21
    Grey Manrod
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    And thanks to all for the replies. I'm going to take it as tacit approval of my lane-merging behaviour and continue on with the hoking, braking and punching.

    Thanks, Lounge!

  22. #22
    Lets Go Hokies!!!
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    Hey Brick, drive how you want man! Its not like you live by me!! Oh....wait....d*mn.....
    Its not over till you're underground


    http://hokierider.blogspot.com

  23. #23
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    There's a federal study on this...

    I've seen a study on this in the last couple of months, but can't find it now. The results, basically, were twofold:
    1. From the standpoint of efficiency, you're right.
    2. Everybody thinks you're a dick anyway.
    The problem, as it nearly always is when you talk about drivers in America, is stupidity and territorialism. The most efficient use of the road is for everybody to keep going, and to merge seamlessly at the point where the other lane disappears. Everybody has to adjust a little, but nobody has to stop and traffic flows smoothly.
    What actually happens is that some "courteous" and "forward-thinking" drivers move over early, which slows the flow of traffic earlier than it has to slow, and both lanes accordion backward, and then some dick like you says, "Well, this is stupid" and races up the disappearing lane to the real merge point, where people say, "Look at that dick" and won't let you in, and the whole thing comes to a stop. Every day. On every onramp in the country.
    I may have some of the technical language wrong, but that's the gist of it.

  24. #24
    It's all ball bearings
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Tamland
    Here's my argument: by attempting to merge as soon as possible, you wind up basically blocking two lanes, and further backing up traffic behind you. If you stay in your lane, traffic keeps moving, and then you just time your merge when the lanes merge thus resulting in mimimal stoppage. Also, you don't save any time by trying to MERGE RIGHT NOW!
    How do you block two lanes by merging early any more than you would by merging late? All the cars are going to merge eventually, it doesn't make any difference whether it happens now or later in terms of disrupting traffic flow.

    It boils down to courtesy. Sure, it's legal to wait until the bitter end when your lane runs out and you MUST merge, but if most people are merging early it's courteous to join in with them and alternate with the lane next to you. If everyone is merging early and you gun it to the end of the lane, passing everyone who has already merged in their courteous fashion, it's absolutely no different than cutting to the front of the line at the grocery store IMO.
    Last edited by BenWA; 03-27-2009 at 11:59 AM.

  25. #25
    Cat 6
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    I wait as long as possible...then I wait some more.

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