It’s been too long since I’ve dedicated a post to a rant about idiot drivers, right? (See this post from February if your mind needs refreshing.)
Austin drivers are quite a bit different from Minneapolis drivers. In general, I’d say they are a little less cut-throat here. Not so many people blowing through red lights. A lot more slowing down to let people merge.
But there is one thing that drives me crazy and it happens at least once a day on the drive to or from work. I don’t think this applies quite as much to Minneapolitans just because of the way the roads are built here, but it happens everywhere.
Say for instance I am entering Highway 183 from the entrance ramp. There is another fellow driving behind me who has the same intentions: drive onto the ramp and merge into traffic on the highway. As I get to the end of the ramp, I still must continue on for a few seconds in a dedicated lane for those of us entering the highway. This lane is marked with a solid yellow line, or in many cases a double solid yellow line, as if to say “it is illegal to cross this.” I continue driving until the solid line turns into a dotted line, then attempt to merge into traffic nice and legally.
But all too often, the jerk behind me attempts to make a move before I get the chance to. See the crude diagram below for a little visual clarification.
Fig. 1 – (Imagine the traffic is flowing upward.)
Why is this such a big deal? For starters, he is going out of turn! He knows that this ramp is ending in 300 feet and I, like him, am going to have to merge within a few seconds as well. Getting around me now is saving him like what, 0.8 seconds? It’s also annoying. It’s also unlawful. It’s also screwing it up for everyone else who has to merge, but mostly me.
See Figure 2 below. Now that he has successfully gone out of turn and merged ahead of me even though the yellow paint on the road clearly indicates that he wasn’t supposed to have done that, he is now blocking my entrance to the highway, and now as a result the cars behind me will also get to merge before me because they have an opening while I am stuck driving alongside the guy who was behind me! I just somehow was passed by two cars while on an entrance ramp.
Now I’m out of time. The lane has ended and I’m stuck inching along at the end waiting for an opening while the jerk is way down the road. If he would have just stayed in line, waited for the dotted lines, and played by the rules, we all would have successfully merged onto the highway. Of course he would have lost that precious 0.8 seconds of his life.
A few seconds later, once I have managed to finally make my way onto the highway, I will make sure to catch up with this jackass and blow around him, reminding him that had he just stayed in line, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal because as it turns out, the car he blew around to apparently save time is in fact traveling at a higher rate of speed than himself, and his move really didn’t gain him anything.
This is just one instance of how annoyed I am by the car behind me making a move out of turn. I could go on and on about Hwy. 5 and Lake Drive in Chanhassen, where several times a week the car behind me would pull into the shoulder and zoom around me to turn right while I waited for the actual turn lane to make my turn despite having had my blinker on the whole time.
We don’t have that problem around Carpenter. Traffic is much less. For instance, yesterday Nick Nelson was coming down our road with his stack mover when the left front wheel bearing went out and the left front tire and wheel came off his truck and took off rolling down the road in front of him. He crossed the road, went through the ditch and wound up several yards out in the field and nobody even knew about it until Alex was on his way out here and saw him. No injuries, no vehicles damaged, no big deal. Imagine that happening in Austin or Minneapolis.
I loved that last scene! The “jerk” is probably at home right now, blogging about some a-hole who pokes along in the merge lane, then has to gun it down the road and passes him. I’ve never had either problem in Carpenter.
One instance that is absolutely similiar in Minneapolis. I-94 Eastbound between 35W & Hennepin/Lyndale exit. The right lane is DOUBLE SOLID WHITE until shortly before the exit, but people blow it all the time! AHHH!