What to do???  You’re cruising down the road, when up ahead you see that the right lane is closed, and you have to merge!  You can either immediately merge into the left lane, or you can wait until you get right up to the merge point, and THEN merge.  I asked for your 3 cents on Facebook, and you had opinions.

 James said, "Merge early. People running down and cutting in at the last minute is what backs up traffic. Everyone has to stop to let them over because they are more special than others and that’s what causes the backup. If everyone merges early when they have a chance then traffic keeps moving and we don’t have to stop and let the “special” ones in."

 Anne chimed in, "Merge as early as you can. don’t be the person that goes all the way up to the lane closure and then make everyone stop for you so you can merge when you saw the sign 2 miles ago. Also, there’s no need to slow to 20 mph unless the speed limit says so. you don’t need to see everything that’s going on, just keep moving!"

I’m sensing a lot of road rage for the person that goes to the front.

 Sue said, "I know I merge early and get it done, but I have been the one who blocked the right lane as it begins to narrow and forced folks who try to race down the right lane to merge."

 Sue, say it ain’t so!  You’re a lane blocker! 

 Terena took it to the next level.  She said, "I’m that horrible person who merges early and will die before I let you get in front of me if you are in the shut off lane and wait till the last minute to get over ......... you ain’t fooling no one, you just thought you could cut your wait time by waiting till your lane ends."

Well, from that timeless classic Mister Mom, to all of the people who merge early thinking you are being polite by merging early…

 “You’re doing it wrong.”

By merging early, you are actually causing MORE of a backup.  So the person who is so rudely zipping past you to the front is actually the only one doing it right.

Some of you get it. 

Nathaniel said, "Use both lanes to minimize backups then at merge use correct zipper merge for a constant smooth flowing traffic pattern. There ideally should be no one cutting the other off. And if everyone concentrates on moving through the traffic hazard and no rubber necking. Then everyone will back to free-flowing traffic pattern."

That’s exactly right.  Zipper merge?  A study by the University of Nebraska found that “Late Merge improves the safety and efficiency of merging operations, especially during congested flow conditions.”

Now I know a lot of people are still going to get over as soon as possible, but at least know that while you might make that choice, others will make the choice to do it correctly, and that doesn’t mean they are being a jerk. 

So maybe next time you see that, don’t rudely block them and maybe even wave at them… with all 5 fingers. 

That’s my 3 cents. If you have something on your mind, I want to hear you rant about it!  Give me a call at 423-643-9722 and give me your 3 cents.