Let’s Be Nice, People.

An acquaintance of my said she was at a light, and the light had just turned green when someone came speeding up behind her, honked his horn and flipped her off. To be honest, she drives painfully slow, but there’s still a lesson here.

This tends to be a problem in a lot of places.  People aren’t very patient at lights.  When my mom was here she noted that if you don’t move within about half a millisecond of the light turning green, people will honk at you.

Now, there is also the problem of people that legitimately don’t move when a light turns green, and it’s always hard to decide when it is the correct time to honk.  I’ve been stuck behind someone at a turn light that did not move for about 10 seconds.  I was too far back in the line to see what exactly was happening, but I felt that I was out of place to start honking since I was so far away and didn’t want the person in front of me to think I was getting mad at them.  I don’t have a sure-fire answer to the “to honk, or not to honk” question.  I don’t like honking, so I only do it in emergency situations when someone’s about to hit me (never a fun experience), but I never honk at someone going too slow in front of me, and I hate honking at people at lights (but it has been necessary unfortunately).  The only time I do honk at someone at a light is when a significant amount of time has passed, and it’s obvious they’re probably texting (GET OFF THE PHONE!).  Keep your anger inside the car unless your life is in danger—someone accelerating or driving slowly (in most circumstances) does not warrant such outrage… even though some people feel like it does.

Try to remember that, as you approach a light that has just turned green, the people that were previously stopped at the red light will not be going as fast as you are going.  I get annoyed when this happens too, but it’s one of those things where you just have to slow down and let the people in front of you speed up… hopefully they’ll speed up.  I’ll have a rant about speed limits sometime soon, but that’s a whole other issue.

Overarching message here is to be patient.

The other overarching message here is honking etiquette, but we’ll save that for a later post.

STAY IN YOUR GODDAMN LANE!

Well.  It happened again today.  The same kind of incident that led to the start of this whole blog thing.  Someone else decided to completely ignore my existence and come on into my lane right into me.  Thankfully I was able to avoid any kind of collision this time, but this does warrant a rant and pictures.

So here’s a diagram of the incident:

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Twice I’ve had the inside lane follow the orange trajectory.  THIS IS SO VERY VERY WRONG!!!!  Sure, it could work if there’s no one next to you, but ALWAYS ASSUME THERE IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you really need to get into my lane, get into my lane before the turn or signal and make your way into my lane some other time.  Is this really that fucking difficult?!  No.  No it is not…  It’s simple really:

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I stay in my lane, you stay in your lane, and everyone is happy.  Every gets where they’re trying to go without having to file an insurance claim.

The next area where I get constantly cut off is actually the next intersection after the above intersection on my way to work.  I really need to find a different way to go to work.

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This is what the turn SHOULD look like, however, people in the outside lane seem to think that they can just slip into the inside lane through the turn.  This happens a lot at other intersections as well.  If you are in the right lane of a double turn lane, you will end up in the right lane after the turn.  If you are in the left lane of a double turn lane, you will end up in the left lane after the turn.

Please maintain your lanes.  It’s really simple and can save you a ton of hassle and heartache.

Merging

So, today we’ll be talking about merging onto highways.  A fair number of problems on the highway could be solved if people knew how to merge properly.  The rest are fixed through knowing proper lane assignments.

Here, I’m just going to talk about regular highway merging.  Construction zone merging and other such stuff can be solved in sentences, not pictures:  take turns and don’t be the dick that tries to speed to the front of the line.  It’s still going to take forever no matter where you are.

Back to my point.  In essence, merging is just changing lanes.  Only difference is that your lane is ending soon.

Let’s just start with some basics.  For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT TRY TO MERGE ONTO A HIGHWAY GOING 45 MILES PER HOUR!!!!!!!  (unless traffic is moving slow, then fine, but under normal circumstances, don’t ever do that.  It doesn’t work and pisses off everyone else trying to merge behind you.)

So, let’s diagram this.

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If you happen to be the white or blue car in this situation, move into the other lane.  It’s common courtesy to move out of the lane that people are trying to merge into when you can.  You then move back into the right lane once you’ve passed the  merging cars.

If you are the black or red car in this situation, your goal is to get up to speed.  The purpose of an on-ramp is to give you ample time to get up to highway speeds… so use it!  It is so aggravating to be behind someone cruising down the on-ramp at a steady 40 mph when traffic is clearly going 20mph faster.

Now, if merging was always that simple, there would be no need for this post and life wouldn’t suck.  Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, but still.

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“difficult” merging doesn’t have to be that difficult.  As you probably didn’t notice, there is no speed limit and no one has an indicated speed.  These rules apply at any speed.  Whether traffic is steadily moving at 55, 65, or 6 miles per hour (though I doubt there’d be gaps going 6 mph) these are rules to go by to assure a safe merge.

At the number 1 diamond thing, you want to be checking the road.  Quick glances at the lane of interest are best–don’t run off the road, that’s bad.  It’s the “gathering intel” stage of the merge.

Orange diamond number 2 is planning. *start signalling*  After you have collected information about the lane, it is time to adjust your speed (reasonably… not slowing down to 30 until something opens up) so that you can seamlessly move into the space that you found.

Several spaces are circled in magenta (or pink for those who didn’t grow up with a 64 box of crayola crayons).  Some of them are a bit tight, others have more space.  Depending on the size of your car, you should plan to hit one spot over another.

Again, the people in the right lane have responsibilities too.  Driving is a group activity as much as each of us doesn’t want it to be.  The green car is able to move into the left, so it should do so.  The other cars are unable to move into the left lane, but they can still slow down or speed up to create openings for cars merging into the lane.  (some people don’t appreciate when you allow them to merge in front of you though… I’ve gotten the middle finger for doing this.  I hate people.)

Anywho, it’s a bit of a difficult dance sometimes when merging into heavy traffic.  Some people merging don’t get the hint that there is a space being created next to them that they can easily take, and then there’s people that for some reason will not for the life of them have someone merge in front of them.  Other times no one is cooperating and you basically have to cut someone off to get on the highway (D.C., I’m looking at you.)