Merge Time!


This topic is from my friend Laurie: merging in this high-traffic area. How do YOU handle it?

Let’s start with the Demure Driver who sees the “merge left” sign and immediately moves to the left lane. Meanwhile, about 49 cars proceed to zip past her on the right, and she finds herself feeling a bit resentful.  No wonder traffic is backed up during rush hour! All these cars are cutting in at the front of the line!  She feels it would be fair to allow one or two cars in front of her, but not ten or twenty!  She starts to wish she had a much wider vehicle, so she could just block both lanes and keep any more people from getting in front of her. She inches closer to the car in front of her, hoping to prevent these rude drivers from butting in, but they simply squeeze in further up the line.

Now, pan over to Efficient Operator, who sees the same “merge left” sign and takes that as a warning that eventually the road will narrow.  He sees that there are two lanes of traffic, and he understands that, like water, the high volume of traffic should take up those two lanes until it is forced into a smaller pipeline. At that point, they would ideally do an “alternate merge,” but seeing that there are a lot more cars in the left lane than the right, he chooses the right lane and flows on up to the ultimate merge point.  Some days, he has some trouble squeezing in; it seems that the people on the left don’t seem to want to merge. He finds that inefficient and, frankly, annoying.

Do you identify with one of these?  Do you feel frustration with the other?  Do you see both sides?  Comment below!  But remember the rule: BE NICE OR LEAVE.

And send me your pet peeves for future posts.