Social Question

jca's avatar

When exiting the highway, or when the lanes converge due to bottleneck, are you a driver that gets in line ASAP, or do you stay in your lane as long as possible to cut in and get close to front?

Asked by jca (36043points) March 3rd, 2011

When there is a bottleneck (due to emergency vehicles, accident, road work, etc) or when you are exiting the highway and the exit lane is all backed up, do you get in line as soon as you can, or do you stay in your lane and try to cut in front of the line of cars and minimize your time in line?

Which kind of driver are you? If you are the “get in line” type, do you get angry at those who cut?

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25 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I move as soon as possible, especially for emergency vehicles. I used to work with an ambulance service and I know they appreciate it. Not to mention that now it is a law in my state that if you don’t get over you can get fined up to $500.

Austinlad's avatar

Drivers who wait till the last minute to jump over to my lane when theirs runs out is one of my biggest driving pet peeves. I never do that to another driver, and when I know from experience a lane will end, or when I see a sign, I always move into the ongoing lane as quickly as I can.

iamthemob's avatar

I get in line ASAP – those that wait are the debul in my mind. Waiting until you have no choice? As the church lady says “Well isn’t that convenient?”

optimisticpessimist's avatar

In the normal driving routine of lanes merging, the merge point is where the lanes meet up. To keep traffic actually flowing, it is better to merge at that point with a zipper action. In an emergency, I get over as soon as possible.

The pet peeve I have is when people make their own lane on the shoulder or shoulder and half a lane and purposefully try to pass everyone else.

zenvelo's avatar

This is a classic problem in highway management. Near where I live, there are three two-lane tunnels used to handle 4 lanes in each direction. The middle tunnel is switched back and forth to handle commute traffic, so one direction or the other is squeezing from four lanes to two.

This particular situation was even highlighted in a NY Times Sunday Magazine article a few years ago.

It turns out “side-zoomers”, as much as they infuriate the people who are sitting in line for a mile or more, are actually helping traffic flow more smoothly. Merging early merely moves the merge farther out, and has everyone in two lanes for a longer period of time.

It is best to use all of the available asphalt. And everyone has to be polite and allow traffic to zipper merge smoothly.

thorninmud's avatar

I read recently an analysis by a physicist (I’d never find it again) who demonstrated mathematically that traffic flows faster overall when drivers take the earliest possible opportunity to get into the appropriate lane.

I belong to the “we’re all in this together” school of driving. Let’s do whatever gets us all there a little sooner and safer. There’ll always be people who choose to minimize their travel time, even if it means slowing everyone else down. And I’m sure they do get there faster. But jeez, is that really the way we want the world to be? Really?

Bluefreedom's avatar

I try to merge as early as possible for both courtesy and safety reasons. I’ve seen drivers attempt to jam themselves into the traffic flow at the last possible occasion nearly causing sideswipes and rear end collisions.

ucme's avatar

Asap for me, those who don’t i’d like to see Fubar….if that’s not too unreasonable a suggestion.

theninth's avatar

ASAP. And then I somehow manage to not see the jackwagons who wait until the last second and then frantically wave to people to get them to let them in.

Summum's avatar

ASAP and there is always a couple of jerks that think their time is more valuble than those that are doing what they should. No wonder there is road rage.

jca's avatar

@zenvelo: I saw that article also. It was good to know that they actually study these things!

I remember once a few years ago, there was a guy who was trying to cut into an exit lane. The car that he was trying to cut in front of stayed so close to the rear of the car in front of it, in order to prevent the guy from cutting in, that when the front car stopped shortly, it was rear ended by the second car. The “cutting” car probably had a good laught and went on his merry way, meanwhile the guy who was trying to prevent cutting now had an accident on his hands.

I am one who tries to get in line asap.

YoBob's avatar

It really kind of depends.

I’m generally that guy who gets in my lane miles before the merge point and gets totally annoyed at those who push their way in at the front. OTOH, not making full use of the additional lane actually adds to the congestion rather than reducing it.

So, for me it is somewhere in between. I consider it extremely rude to push your way in at the head of the line. On the other hand, I see no reason not to use both lanes to their full capacity to reduce congestion (of course to to this properly everyone has to play nice in the sandbox). It’s a judgment call.

Bellatrix's avatar

Get in line asap and I let people merge in front of me too.

perspicacious's avatar

I scoot over as soon as it’s safe.

josie's avatar

It never hurts to be cooperative.
Well, I guess that depends, come to think of it.
But on the highway, it never hurts to be cooperative.

john65pennington's avatar

How many times have I issued traffic citations for this offense??? Many. There is so much road construction in my city, that the drivers have become impatient and make dangerous moves that cause traffic accidents. Cutting in line, without permission, is a key violation.

I was in my police car on the interstate. The cars, including myself, were backed for two or three miles. I received a non-emergency call. I was not close to the call, so I made every effort to advance in the stalled traffic, as possible. This one woman driver came to the end of the line and kept attempting to nudge her way in front of everyone else, including me. I would have let the driver in, but she had a bad attitude. You could hear her cussing everyone for not allowing her to cut in. She finally tried this manuever with me. She was a daring driver. She kept edging her left front wheel over the line and almost hit my police vehicle. We missed an accident by two inches. I pulled her over and issued her a citation for lane restrictions and careless driving. Needless to say, I was a hero that afternoon on the freeway. The other drivers honked their horns at me for issuing her a citation.

All the other drivers were happy. I received several thumbs up.

ninjacolin's avatar

lol, I love traffic questions.

I fall in line when I have time to wait.
I dodge and cut into the line when I don’t have time to wait.

I appreciate when other drivers let me in at the front of the line when I’m in a rush and I certainly allow any driver who might need to cut in in just in case they are in a rush.

I never do rules for rules sake. I do whatever works. As long as it’s safe.

Bellatrix's avatar

Officer Pennington, while it is irritating that people do jump to the front of the queue and push in, you aren’t advocating that people stand their ground and not let them in and therefore risk causing bingles to prove a point are you? Just asking!

jerv's avatar

It depends on teh flow of traffic, but I never do anything that may be dangerous. (Sometimes aggressive, but never dangerous.) One nice thing about driving a 70HP car with two-star crash test ratings is that it keeps my ass in line :D

john65pennington's avatar

No, not advocating that at all. I let people in front of me all the time. My point was that this woman was in a full blown road rage and most of the in-line drivers saw this, including myself. Had I not stopped her, there would have been an accident.

Courtesy on the road is what being a defensive driver is all about. The road is for the use of everyone, not just a select few that think it just belongs to them.

Thanks for the comeback.

Bellatrix's avatar

:-) welcome, it was a bit tongue-in-cheek… although that doesn’t show in text.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I tend to get in line early on. I don’t like trying to cut in because I feel like a fool when no one lets me in.

Austinlad's avatar

We jellies are such good and thoughtful drivers… maybe we should get ALL drivers to join Fluther. ;-)

anartist's avatar

I used to work by the theory of be submissive and get in line early 4 days a week and on the 5th day be a bastard and crowd up front then try to insert yourself. I could not hande the disapproval on my “break-out day” and gave it up. Shortly after that I freed myself from rush hour altogether.

Gabby101's avatar

@Zenvelo is absolutely correct. After living in cities with really bad traffic, San Francisco and Los Angeles, I can tell you that you allowing people to use the blocked or ending land for as long as possible will move traffic along much better than expecting everyone to merge asap. SF tends to follow this rule, where in LA you will actually have cars come to a dead stop in the middle of a lane waiting for someone to let them over (when there is still plenty of room left to merge naturally).

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