The age old question

31 Oct

So I’ve been working.  A lot.  Which means I’ve been commuting.  A lot.

For the past two years, construction crews have been building a new bridge across the Mississippi to help alleviate some of the congestion.  Yay!

Except now, it’s starting to cut into my drive time. Boo.

It already takes me an hour to get to work, and with two of the three normal traffic lanes closed off, it’s even longer.

And with all that time, I got to thinking.

What IS the correct way to merge when a lane is closing?

I recently listened to a debate on the radio about the right thing to do.  And of course, I agreed with the guy who thinks like me.

Some people believe you should merge as soon as the first “lane closure ahead” signs begin.

Some people think it’s okay to stay in the soon-to-be-closed lane for a little while longer, and then merge.

And some people, ahem, think you should use the lane until it actually closes.  Then merge.

The people who merge right away find themselves sitting still in a long line as other cars pass them in the not-yetCLOSED! lane.  I’m sure they are seething with resentment that their lane is not moving because the late mergers are pulling in front of them.  I know this, because I used to be one of them.

It didn’t take too many times of sitting in a long line, foaming at the mouth, to see the error of my ways.  Traffic flows best when you continue to use all the lanes and then merge once the move-over arrows are blocking your progression.  Or maybe I just flow best when everyone merges and I continue to use the not-yet-closed lane.

In my search of the correct way to merge, I came across this article.

I’m actually the kinder, gentler merger. (After I’ve passed the line-uppers of course.) Which one are you?


At least I keep my distance.


Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Commute, Mustang


Tags: , , , ,

14 responses to “The age old question

  1. Abby

    October 31, 2013 at 2:35 am

    AH! I’m a lineupper too. Don’t like those sidezoomers, so I don’t want to be one!

    I hope your commute isn’t too ugly with all the construction. I’ve actually got a little patch of orange along my bicycle commute that swallows the bike lane completely! In that case, I’m a check-behind-me-and-make-sure-no-one-is-very-close-and-then-haul-a$$-through-the-cone-zoner!

    • shadowrun300

      October 31, 2013 at 3:52 am

      Yabut. (We use that term a lot around here. Yeah but…)
      Anyway, yabut if everyone lined up right away the line would go back SO far that we’d be using one lane for way longer than we need to. I wouldn’t say I’m a sidezoomer, but I do use the lane as long as I can. And I politely wait for one of you sweet liner uppers to let me in. 🙂

  2. Rock Chef

    October 31, 2013 at 9:25 am

    As a cyclist, this is not an issue for me, but:

    When travelling as a passenger, I know that the late mergers are not popular (over here at least!) and have seen the main lanes close up to stop them merging…

    While travelling back from my son’s Uni, we had a long stretch where we were told that a lane was closing but it never did! Luckily the road was fairly quiet so it made little difference…

    • shadowrun300

      October 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hmm. So the early liner-uppers were probably disappointed. I’ve seen that before a well.
      I just think that if people get over as soon as they see the line forming, the line would reach so far back that the one lane restriction would go on forever and not just at the construction site. I don’t like the zoomers, but I DO think it’s ok to use all the lanes while you can. And the liner uppers should too. 🙂

  3. agg79

    October 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I am usually a lineup per (the key word being USUALLY), however I have to admit to jumping the line on occasion. I do try to be polite/grateful about it, tho. I have even seen a few instances of road rage between zippers and the stradlers. While zippers do generate a bit of hostility, I tend to get really po’d at the ones driving and talking (no blue tooth) or texting. I saw a real character last week on the toll road – riding his Harley AND texting. I can think of a few names for that idiot…

    • shadowrun300

      October 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      You’re kidding! Texting on a motorcycle? WTH.
      In my opinion, the liner-uppers should zip too. Then, when we’re all evenly matched, we take turns merging. Nothing to be hostile about.
      But you do get those idiots who are oblivious to what’s going on because they’re concentrating on their phone and not the traffic. I could write a whole other blog on people who hang out in the passing lane – without passing anyone. ugh.

  4. territerri

    November 1, 2013 at 12:39 am

    When I need to be in a lane to exit, I get there well ahead of time. So when a lane is closing, I tend to get in line. Drivers are angry people. I don’t want to tick anyone off.

    We’ve had a LOT of construction in this area the past couple of years. We’ve actually had some of those electronic signs encouraging drivers to use both lanes, then utilize the zipper merge when it’s time to move over. If you think about it, THAT makes the most sense and keeps things moving as much as possible.

    • shadowrun300

      November 1, 2013 at 12:43 am

      YES! Everybody should use ALL the lanes until the actual closing of the lane and then zipper in. I sometimes want to wave at the people I’m passing, and tell them to “come on over!” Don’t get mad, join me! This way everyone keeps moving.
      I feel vindicated. 🙂

  5. Practical Parsimony

    November 1, 2013 at 4:31 am

    I hate those side-zippers who rely on the kindness and manners of the lineruppers to allow them in line at the end of their lane. Nope, we just keep the cars close so they cannot nose their way in. I am polite but firm!

    • shadowrun300

      November 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Good to see you here, Practical Parsimony!
      I happen to be of the opinion that you should use the lane for as long as you can. To me, it seems the best way to keep the traffic flowing instead of having it back up for miles longer than it needs to. I don’t mean to “zip” around the liner-uppers. In fact, I drive slow enough hoping some of you liner-uppers will help shorten your line by joining me. Then when we get to the end, we politely take turns zippering in.
      See? We’re all friends. 🙂

  6. llcooljoe

    November 6, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I tend to get pissed off when people push in at the last minute and I try to block them. Ha, did I mention I’m a bad tempered, stroppy driver? 😀

    • shadowrun300

      November 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Stroppy. I need to look that up. ‘Bad tempered’ I know about as I used to be that way. I’m a much calmer driver now that I’m on the road for 2 hours a day. Not worth it to get upset.
      I don’t like the drivers that speed on by and cut over recklessly. I’m talking more about using all the lanes while they are open and then zippering into one lane at the construction site. To me, that would cut down on everyone’s anxiety.

  7. Mike

    November 11, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Haha… an interesting question. I tend to be one of the folks who gets where he needs to be early on. I suppose I’ve never thought of those “side zoomers” as people who make efficient use of the roadway. Admittedly, I’m usually one of the people in the long line who is cursing under his breath at the people who “think they are too good to wait in line like the rest of us.” 🙂

    It makes it worse, though, when it’s some hot-shot kid in a fired up car, or some jerk in a big truck trying to shove their way in. There is an incredible sense of camaraderie when a team of cars lines up and works together to stay bumper to bumper and block people like this from getting in. Childish? Maybe. Inefficient? Maybe. Gratifying? Yup!

    • shadowrun300

      November 12, 2013 at 3:13 am

      The hot shot drivers get me upset too. I may not line up as early as some, because I really do feel it’s best to use all the lanes up until they merge, but I’m not a jerk about it.
      And I certainly have my own childish yet gratifying stunts that I’ve performed once or twice. 😉


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