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jca's avatar

When driving, when your lane is ending or merging, do you usually change lanes and get over as soon as possible or wait until the last minute?

Asked by jca (36043points) May 6th, 2016

When you’re driving and your lane is ending (due to construction, accident, obstacle or just merging), do you usually try to get over and change lanes as soon as you see the lane is ending? Do you wait until the last minute?

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20 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I do both just depending on traffic patterns and how much time I have. Usually, I’m somewhere in the middle.

Pachy's avatar

When I see that a lane will be ending, I ALWAYS immediately move to the lane that will be continuing. Drivers who wait until the last minute and then cut in make me CRAZY—I just don’t understand why they do it. !

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

It’s not last minute, it’s the best way if everyone does it.

The fastest way to get everyone through is to use both lanes, and “zipper” merge at the end, alternating cars from left and right.

People have to be taught, though, and few places do. Minnesota has taken the lead.

Minnesota Dept of Transportation – Zipper Merging
Reduces differences in speeds between two lanes
Reduces the overall length of traffic backup by as much as 40 percent
Reduces congestion on freeway interchanges
Creates a sense of fairness and equity that all lanes are moving at the same rate

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Early merge with turn signal.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I get over as soon as I can safely using my turn signal.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

It depends on how much traffic there is and the type of drivers surrounding me.

Judi's avatar

I’m with Janet. If I’m beside a truck or a travel trailer I’ll probably speed up. I have horsepower though so I can get out of their way pretty fast

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I would prefer to change lanes earlier rather than at the last minute. Sometimes if the merging lane is short, there’s no choice. I’d much prefer to move early though.

ucme's avatar

I sit in the back, clipboard in hand & monitor the chauffeur’s reactions, his job is very much on the line

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I hope they can communicate that well to all (most) drivers.

It’s like when there are two left turn lanes and only arrows to get through. I never understand why the most left lane is twice the length of waiting cars than the right left turning lane. If we all just get through the light you can change lanes once through.

Same with braking on the highways. Brake lights cause traffic waves, which essentially is slower moving, more dangerous, traffic conditions.

Same with tailgating instead of flashing beams to signal a driver to move over. Tailgating causes more braking, more traffic waves, and more likelihood of crashing.

I wish MN luck.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I hope they can communicate that well

I have seen one sign (in Indiana) that said “Use Both Lanes”.

Ta da! Problem solved.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Oh, it’s not just about telling drivers and having signs, you actually have to change the behavior of the drivers. We’ll see. Some states, like NC and MD, are pretty good at letting cars one by one from alternating lanes merge into one. Especially, if it is a regular traffic pattern during high traffic times like rush hour. Other states, like TN, suck at it. Courtesy and awareness of others on the road is not their forte. Not in the Memphis area anyway.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here in B.C when in the lower mainland around Vancouver , the drivers wait till the very last second then try and bump ahead of everyone that had the common sense to change lanes when the signs indicated to do so.
So we Transport drivers do one of two things to keep the traffic moving ,and I ask have you seen this where you live as well, around the last couple of hundred yard before the lane ends and you have to get over, we will straddle both lanes to keep idiots from rushing up and stopping traffic while they try and butt in.
The other is we will sit side by side each other to prevent this as well,and just before the lane ends the driver in the trough lane backs off for a second to let the other driver in it is remarkable how well it works to keep traffic moving.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’ve seen truckers ride tandem and allow the other in. I don’t see it often though. I have wondered if they were communicate with each other to orchestrate it.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I have seen truck drivers riding herd on the cars. Once you realize what they’re up to, it’s interesting to watch.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@JLeslie we VHF radios of course we talk to each others but when cars drivers are being extra stupid sometimes we don’t need to just a gesture is all that is needed..
@Call_Me_Jay when done right it’s a real art.

kritiper's avatar

I’m a very defensive person, on the road and otherwise. Keeping an eye out for, and anticipating, potential trouble is a great habit to get into. I change lanes early so I won’t find myself in a jam at the merge. ALL DRIVERS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO TAKE A DEFENSIVE DRIVING COURSE!!!

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
OpryLeigh's avatar

I generally try and get into the correct line as soon as I realise that I need to be in that line.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I move as soon as I realize it’s ending.

I also watch other drivers carefully. Many of them just follow the line as it narrows down to the one lane. They don’t look or anything. I have a feeling some never even realize they changed lanes or that their lane ended!

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