Friday, March 04, 2011


What is it about merging into an interstate or freeway that is so difficult to understand? Admittedly, I learned my freeway driving in L.A., back when I had good reflexes and the speed limit in town was 70 mph and that only for the timid, but they know how to do it down there.  C'mon–how hard is the concept if people in the land of Charlie Sheen can do it?

You approach the main road on a feeder, you increase your speed to that of the flow, and you pick a spot, before somebody or after somebody, speeding up or slowing down as necessary, and you merge.

Somebody eases up to let you in, you give them a thank-you wave.

If I am on the highway and I see you coming in next to me, I'll either speed up to get out of your way, or slow down so you can move ahead and achieve this with the least amount of fuss, and it's all good, right?

There may be worse automobile traffic mergers than in Oregon, but I haven't ever seen them. It's like somebody offered a hundred thousand bus rides under a big sign that said "Clueless Idiot Drivers Ride Free Here!" and transported them all to Oregon. 

You've seen it:

Some loon slows to a stop on the feeder road. Yeah. That works.

Or they try to merge at thirty when everybody in the slow lane is doing sixty. It's not like they can't see the cars are zipping past. Or maybe they can't. Maybe they are all blind, but got licenses anyhow. It wouldn't surprise me. 

If they get onto the road without killing themselves, they don't bother to speed up then, either. 

Of course, there are maroons on the main drags, too.  If I am merging into a mostly-empty lane, accelerating through sixty in a fifty-five zone and there is a guy three hundred yards back, you can bet the farm and your gramma's silverware that the stupid son-of-a-bitch is going to stomp on the accelerator and try to cut me off. 


God only knows.

If I were running the DMV–and I bring this up because I had to go to the inspection station there today to get my car's new license tag stickers and nearly got killed twice by fools on the highway–I would require that drivers taking the test merge four times at a minimum into the local interstates. Plus four times in the slow lane with others merging into the traffic,  and if they couldn't pull it off smoothly six out of the eight, they'd fail. 

If you can't get on the freeway without risking everybody's neck anywhere within a mile? Stay on the surface streets. Better yet, stay home, or take the bus. 

1 comment:

A Meatgoat said...

I have never witnessed anyone come to a stop on an on ramp in any place other than the Portland area.