Who’s ready for another traffic rant? I am!
On the way home from work, we often take Highway 62 eastbound. There are three lanes, but the leftmost lane comes to an end after a mile or so and drivers in that lane must merge into the next lane.
Many drivers know about this left lane ending and the inevitable merge, so they choose to get in the right lanes immediately, a mile back down the road before the left lane ends, and they’ll be damned if some sneaky driver speeds around them in the barren left lane and tries to merge in front of them.
So here we are, leaving Lauren’s office and heading eastbound. We can either fall into form with 96% of the other vehicles and get in one of the righthand lanes right away, or we can zip around a mile of traffic in the lefthand lane at 65mph and merge when the lane ends, cutting at least five to ten minutes off our drive.
Motorists who have waited patiently in the right lanes have no tolerance for the lefthand motorists, and refuse to allow merging. When the left lane begins to end, many drivers in the center lane will move over slightly to their left to make sure no left lane drivers can get around them.
For a long time, I was one of those guys. Not wanting to get stuck at the end of the left lane and receive angry gestures and block attempts from those in the center lane, I just fell into form right away and waited the extra time. But then Lauren persuaded me otherwise, and we began taking the left lane and dealing with the angry motorists. I realized that 30 seconds after the unpleasantness, all is forgotten.
Tuesday night we once again took the left lane and were comfortably cruising around all the stopped cars, when all of a sudden, a quarter mile before the left lane ends, an angry motorist from the center lane pulled out in front of us into the left lane as if to say “no one is getting ahead of me!” and proceeded to drive 5mph all the way to the end of the lane. Of course he now was in the same position as us; even though he had won the battle against us and didn’t allow us to get ahead of him, he now had to force his way back over to the right.
I think there should be signs that tell drivers to utilize all three lanes and get over this stupid childish behavior. Drivers in the left lane are actually the ones adhering to the law. But then again, if a sign was put up and all three lanes were used, our drive time would be much slower. Maybe it’s best to just leave it as is and take the brunt of someone’s frustration each night.
Update: Thanks to one commenter for posting this article that explains what the correct procedure is, regardless of how unpopular it may be.
The same thing happens to me all the time! Gosh, traffic on Cherry St can be really cut-throat sometimes…. Ha.
I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to drive in the left lane. I’d be a sheep and put along slowly after everyone else. Merging is frightening!
Something similar happens to me on the 494, 169 stoplights. I hate.
I have so many feelings on this topic. I am a “left lane til it dies” guy about 20% of the time (and 100% of the time when Sarah is with me, otherwise I get yelled at), and when I do that, I actually try to wait for three cars to pass after I come to halt before I try merging. It is kind of a “make up” gesture to that lane for being further along then them.
ooooh. i get mad at you just reading this.
I’m with Jordan on this one…I always err on the side of caution, so I’d get in the middle lane from the get-go and stay there. I hate merging, too. Also, I’d start a “nice driver” campaign and allow those in the left lane to merge ahead of you as a good will gesture. You could become known as the ” polite Hwy 62 guy”.
Physics says the late merger is correct, and that’s what MNDOT says, too. If everyone would get over their fear of merging and fill the left lane when it is open, everyone’s commute would be shorter.
I love people who try to merge in front of me when the lane runs out. I always make the rest of the drive a living hell for them. Your’e going to brake and find a spot behind me, or you might have car full of missing paint from the guard rail.