Merging 101: (Rant)

Discussion in 'Questions To Truckers From The General Public' started by Firebird, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Firebird

    Firebird Light Load Member

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    It seems that the majority of car drivers and some of our fellow truckers have forgotten what it means to merge.

    If you ask any truck driver how times in one day they "almost" had an accident they will give you several incidents and I would bet donuts to dollars that at least one of them will be caused by someone not knowing how to merge onto a highway.

    People, you need to understand that the traffic already on the highway has the right of way and is under NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER TO ASSIST YOU IN ENTERING THE HIGHWAY SAFELY!!!!!!

    You need to be at highway speed when you reach the top of the ramp, hence the "acceleration lane" designation. Do you understand this? You need to match the speed of traffic BEFORE you enter the highway.

    You MUST match the speed of the traffic at the top of the ramp, then adjust your speed to "merge" or 'blend" with the traffic SAFELY!!

    The problems I see are that the people who are on the highway are just as guilty as the people as the ones trying to merge.

    As a vehicle already on the highway I (and this is important) don't HAVE to move over for you. I will move over or slow down slightly if I can do it SAFELY!!

    DO NOT slow down to unsafe speed on the highway to allow someone to merge. I , as well as many others, greatly appreciate the courtesy being shown, but if that courtesy creates the potential for accidents (probably even more severe) on the highway, then don't do it.

    Now some may argue with me that trucks don't enter the highway at the same speed as cars. Yep, it's true and believe me I would love to be able to be at 70 MPH at the top of the ramp every time weighing 40 tons, but it isn't possible.

    A-HA some of you might be thinking. You are preaching about the 4-wheelers when you truckers don't follow the rules. There is where you are somewhat correct. Trucks DO have to operate by a slightly different set of rules. We know the rules(most of us) but it is not possible for us to always follow them, and of course in some cases it isn't possible for 4-wheelers to follow these rules either.

    So now what? We have rules that can't be followed? What do we do?

    Courtesy

    But never at the expense of safety. I will do all I can to be courteous and helpful on the road and I will go out of my way in some cases, but never at the expense of safety.

    So next time you get to the top of the ramp and that big truck didn't get over for you, instead of riding down the shoulder at 70 mph blowing your horn and flipping the driver off and risking death, how about dropping your speed a little and dropping in behind him and think about being safe instead of how that "Richard Cranium" wouldn't get over for you. After all, he had the right of way. Or the next time you see someone attempting to merge, look around and see if you can move over "SAFELY" or adjust your speed "slightly" but if you can't, then don't.

    Sorry this got long and turned into more of a rant,

    Be safe out there,

    Dave
     
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  2. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

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    You said it . You're preaching to the choir . Why don't you put all this in an editorial to " USA Today " or in automotive magazines ?
     
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  3. Ducks

    Ducks "Token Four-Wheeler"

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    In an ideal world (with adequate acceleration lanes, courteous drivers, and a moderate amount of traffic), I would agree. But many times this simply is not possible.

    Just last evening I went out to dinner with a group of friends. Attempting to merge onto Route 422 at 6:00 p.m., had I reached highway speed by the end of the acceleration lane, I would have been dead meat. I had to come to a COMPLETE STOP at the end of the lane and wait for a break in traffic to get onto the highway.

    This is not uncommon in my neck of the woods. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in a line of traffic attempting to merge onto a highway around here.

    In all fairness to drivers who preach about the proper way to merge, I admit that I generally do not have this problem on non-city stretches of interstate. (I specify "non-city" because attempting to merge onto the Schuylkill Expressway --I76 -- as you get into Philadelphia can be another nightmare.)

    My own experiences locally influence how I merge. I refuse to reach full speed in an acceleration lane if I do not see an existing opening in the line of traffic. I can't predict the behavior of drivers already on the highway. Some will move into the left lane early enough to allow me to merge, but some do not move until they're within a car length or two of my vehicle. Some don't move at all. And some can't move because they have no place to go. Similarly, some vehicles will slow down to allow merging traffic onto the highway in front of them while others will accelerate in an attempt to create space between them and the vehicles behind them. There is no universal behavior.

    I wish I could say that I follow the advice above. It's great -- under IDEAL CONDITIONS. But as drivers, I think you know as well as I do that ideal conditions are more often the exception rather than the rule. I can drive by the rules or I can drive defensively... and with all the dime store licensees out there, I'm sticking to my defensive driving. If my merging would cause a highway driver to use his/her brakes to accommodate me, I'll wait.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  4. Firebird

    Firebird Light Load Member

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    I think you miss my point.

    SAFETY

    Merging is one of the more difficult maneuvers a driver has to face. Of course parts of what I say are in ideal conditions, but you can't teach intelligence.

    I'm not going to argue or go over this a million times. I just had to get it off my chest after laying 18 skid marks on the highway just before I got home because some idiot decided to go from 65 to 20 to let someone on.

    Dave
     
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  5. Dukefan8408

    Dukefan8408 Light Load Member

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    Whether im in a truck or my opv *own personal vehicle* I cannot stand to get behind you slow people on the on-ramps. Just get up and go grandpa I want to get up to speed so I dont have to gun it to get on interstate. In my car I can get up to speed easily enough and outrun these trucks on interstate but when im in my truck and you're going 20 on the on-ramp and I have to STOP before I get on because you were too stubborn to speed up, or if I have to get on interstate going 15 mph impeeding traffic with my flashers on hoping nobody gets mad at me Im sitting there cussing you because you made me be the one that risked causing an accident on interstate or having some guy with road rage cuss me when all I am trying to do is get my load somewhere safely and on time so people can have their TVs or Tampons and live on with their happy little lives.....or something like that.
     
  6. tucker

    tucker Road Train Member

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    Did 4 wheelers merge better in the old days before they had that cellphone stuck to their head?
     
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  7. Wiseguywireless

    Wiseguywireless Road Train Member

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    I had a girl just yesterday merge on. Never looked to see that there was a 40 ton killer beside her, I could not move over, and with traffic I wasn't going to slam breaks, So a quick air horn tap and she looks up from the BOOK that she was reading and nearly looses control!
     
  8. Ducks

    Ducks "Token Four-Wheeler"

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    Nah... we were probably idiots back then, too. :biggrin_25525:

    I've been doing it wrong for 35-plus years. Long before cell phones.
     
  9. MrMustard

    MrMustard Road Train Member

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    I am in a governed truck. If I'm rolling 62 mph and traffic is zipping along on my left at a steady 70 mph clip, and I roll up on one of these morons, I have no choice but to slow down, they aren't going to give. And what is it about Missouri? No one in that state has a clue how to merge. They drive 35 mph all the way to the end of the ramp then expect to get out in traffic with the brake pedal.
     
  10. MrMustard

    MrMustard Road Train Member

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    I had a black woman the other day in Memphis on I 40 come to a compete stop in the middle lane, there were 5 lanes in each direction, because she wanted to get off the exit ramp 50 yards ahead and there were two lanes of traffic to the right rolling 45-50 mph in her way, so she decided it was a good idea to stop and wait for them to clear. When I laid on the air horn she stuck her head out the window and started screaming profanities at me.
     
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