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Lane closed ahead: Merge now, or at the sign?
Old 05-19-2008, 11:02 PM   #1
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Lane closed ahead: Merge now, or at the sign?

When I see a sign indicating a lane is closed ahead, I usually take this to mean I should merge out of the closed lane as soon as practical (and keep moving away from it if it looks like there's going to be congestion). However, I have a friend who claims that the legal and proper thing to do is to go up to where the lane closes and merge there. His argument is that when there is a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic, things move best if the cars in the closed lane go right to the end, then alternate with the cars in the next lane. Furthermore, he says this is the law in Florida.

Any FL residents ever heard of this? Does it seem to make sense? What do you do?
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:38 PM   #2
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However, I have a friend who claims that the legal and proper thing to do is to go up to where the lane closes and merge there. His argument is that when there is a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic, things move best if the cars in the closed lane go right to the end, then alternate with the cars in the next lane. Furthermore, he says this is the law in Florida.
Logic & law notwithstanding, many Hawaii drivers feel this is rude and "cutting in line".

Drivers in the VA/DC/MD area used to veer out of the line-up lane to block both lanes and prevent drivers from "cutting in".
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:33 AM   #3
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Logic & law notwithstanding, many Hawaii drivers feel this is rude and "cutting in line".

Drivers in the VA/DC/MD area used to veer out of the line-up lane to block both lanes and prevent drivers from "cutting in".

Same here for Texas.... cutting is not good...


And if I see someone who bypassed all the considerate people to try and cut... I will block him off myself...
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:50 AM   #4
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Living in a city with a rush hour this kind of merge is frequent,it makes sense if traffic is backed up to have just one merge point where drivers alternate at the merge point.to do it any other way creates chaos.On open interstate with light traffic merge when safe to do so.
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:47 AM   #5
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In Pennsylvania signs are posted to use BOTH lanes up to the designated merge point. I still am unsure weather that means that I should straddle the center line or to weave back and forth traveling an equal distance in each of the two lanes.

Some day when I’m feeling civic minded I’ll reveal the ultimate solution for this problem to the highway department.

Traffic won’t back up if there’s simply an adjustment to the speed limit signs. Instead of reducing the limit to 45 mph in the single lane construction zones the posted limit should be doubled. If reducing from two lanes at 55 mph to one lane at 110 mph there will be no reduction in flow.
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:56 AM   #6
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Going to the end of the lane that is closing is rude and selfish. It is in effect saying that "My time is more valuable than yours".

I've seen people get beaten with tire irons for doing that.
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:17 AM   #7
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Going to the end of the lane that is closing is rude and selfish. It is in effect saying that "My time is more valuable than yours".

I've seen people get beaten with tire irons for doing that.
Nonsense. Take advantage of the space available.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:34 AM   #8
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:09 AM   #9
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As much as practical, I anticipate bottlenecks, and try to avoid them...

During my commute to former j*b, I always stayed in the right lane. Normally, I'd think this was a bad idea, creating extra congestion for people entering the freeway. But I found that getting other folks to let me change lanes, first to the left as I entered the freeway, then back to the right as I neared my exit, was an exercise in road rage frustration...
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:07 AM   #10
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When I lived in NY everyone would rush to any inch they could get so both lanes would be full.

I was amazed that in Fla. no one would do that and everyone just waited their turn and not rush to the front.

I think it's all part of the rat race and I'm glad I'm out and I'll just wait my turn.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:09 AM   #11
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I'll stick in the closing lane for a while and then slow down and merge soon before the merge point. Maximizing capacity of the roadway is all I'm doing!

My time IS more important than everyone else's.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:12 AM   #12
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Same here for Texas.... cutting is not good...


And if I see someone who bypassed all the considerate people to try and cut... I will block him off myself...
ditto
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:21 AM   #13
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Same here for Texas.... cutting is not good...


And if I see someone who bypassed all the considerate people to try and cut... I will block him off myself...

Vigilantism, two wrongs do not make a right.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:36 AM   #14
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The typical tactic here is to rush up and ride on the shoulder if you think you can get a little further than where the lane ends. If someone else is trying to merge and you want to get to the end of the lane (or further) before doing so yourself, then you pass that person on the shoulder, being sure to stomp on the accelerator on the way around them.

I prefer to merge over when there is a sufficient opening and after I've signaled.

My analysis is that traffic would move much better if everyone 1) understood how to merge (it's a freaking zipper, people) and 2) merged when was safe to do so rather than driving to the end as fast as possible and then cutting someone off to get in (yes, cutting off, as in the other person ends up standing on their brakes... further backing traffic up).
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:48 AM   #15
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In Vancouver it is the law to use the lane to the end and then the merge rule applies where cars alternate from each lane. Unfortunately people are ignorant of the law and chaos is the result.

If half the people merge before the end, then they must also yield to the ones that follow the law.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:13 AM   #16
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I'm not aware of the law on this subject in Idaho.

In practice, we have a mixture of folks. Some merge as soon as they can see that they need to; these folks slow down, signal, and are usually let into the remaining lane reasonably quickly. Then there's the "rude" folks who will take advantage of the empty lane; these folks may signal but they also generally will try to cut in and usually get away with it. This still bugs me but I'm working on letting it go.

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Old 05-20-2008, 10:29 AM   #17
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When I see a sign indicating a lane is closed ahead, I usually take this to mean I should merge out of the closed lane as soon as practical (and keep moving away from it if it looks like there's going to be congestion). However, I have a friend who claims that the legal and proper thing to do is to go up to where the lane closes and merge there. His argument is that when there is a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic, things move best if the cars in the closed lane go right to the end, then alternate with the cars in the next lane. Furthermore, he says this is the law in Florida.

Any FL residents ever heard of this? Does it seem to make sense? What do you do?
Traffic will flow best if all traffic merges at earliest point possible. It is basic math. If all cars move at same speed, merging will not require anyone to stop.

I slow down with my 4x4 in the lane which is being lost, forcing traffic to merge as far back as possible. Then the traffic in front of me can move, creating space for me to merge.

YES- that SOB which cut you off was me.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:32 AM   #18
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When traffic is flowing well, I move over as soon as safely possible. In stop and go traffic with heavy congestion, I think going to the end and merging is more effective, if only because if you do it sooner, some yahoos behind you will pass a bunch of traffic until they get to the end anyway -- unless a passive-aggressive type only merges "halfway" and stays there so no one can pass him in the open lane that's ending soon.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:40 AM   #19
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There are definitely a lot of factors at work here. From a technical standpoint, I'd guess that when traffic is flowing smoothly that average speed of all cars is optimized by early merges, and that maybe in stop-and-go situation things would be best if everyone went to the end.

But, since we aren't insects/computer models, the "optimum" strategy is quickly overwhelmed by the impact of human emotion.

There's definitely grist for a master's thesis or two. Maybe by a traffic engineer or a sociologist/psychologist.

I'll bet there's a lot more courtesy (letting folks into the lanes/not cutting people off) in locales with more gun racks/higher rates of gun ownership.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #20
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When traffic is flowing well, I move over as soon as safely possible. In stop and go traffic with heavy congestion, I think going to the end and merging is more effective, if only because if you do it sooner, some yahoos behind you will pass a bunch of traffic until they get to the end anyway -- unless a passive-aggressive type only merges "halfway" and stays there so no one can pass him in the open lane that's ending soon.
I agree with Ziggy. If traffic is crawling, half the cars in the through lane and half the cars in the lane that's closing, and merging at the close point is the fairest and most efficient for all. If I'm in the through lane, I'll always let one car in. If I'm in the merge lane, I expect to be let in.

Otherwise, you know that there will be people flying to the end and cutting in front of both the people in the through lane and the people who have cut in early. If I'm crawling in the through lane, I'd rather see the cars in the other lane crawling at the same speed with than see someone signal to merge in front of me early, and the car behind him move up and then expect to be let in at the merge point.

That said, if everyone has merged and it is open road to the merge point, I follow the crowd and merge in as well.

If traffic is moving reasonably well, I look for a gap big enough that someone won't have to put on their brakes and merge in. Sometimes that means speeding up to find the gap, sometimes it means slowing down.

I've seen two truckers on the interstate force the alternate merge. They drove side by side for the last half mile, even though there was a big gap in front of the one in the closing lane. As they got to the merge point, the other truck let him in. Everyone else alternate merged. We got through the bottleneck in reasonable time.
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