Tag Archives: merging

Deplorable Drivers of the Lower Mainland

I have decided to start doing this weekly because the driving habits of many people are just terrible. Let’s mention inconsiderate and selfish too. I remember a few years back when driving in Saskatchewan, I couldn’t believe how polite drivers were. If you were coming up on a car on a single lane highway, it would just automatically pull over to let you by.

In BC and Alberta, that car would drive like no one was on the road, or even slow down to irritate you. If it was a two lane road, that car would not move from the left-hand “fast” lane and if you then tried to pass in the right-hand lane, it would speed up.

Road rage. One man has just been charge in the murder of a young man last year, when the guy first forced the people off the road and then came back to run them over. In one sense I can understand road rage because people are just not paying attention or think that the world does in fact revolve around them. Listen up, people. You’re unique because no one else quite has your DNA but everyone is unique and everyone has a right to a decent life.

You don’t own the world or even your patch of road. You may not even own your car but if you do, you’re responsible for driving in a polite and safe manner. Remember, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means, don’t wait for someone to be nice to you first, just carry out your life and do things as you would like to find them. Let someone in in traffic, if you would like to be let in at some time. Don’t sideswipe someone, unless you want it done to you. Don’t shoot someone, unless you want to be shot. It seems a pretty simple principle to live by but obviously it’s not.

Today, I’m listing two losers of the week. The first, Mr. Sporty Red Truck with a cherry red finish (BC licence # BA 9595) decided that he owned the road on Monday, January 12th on Commercial Dr. at Gravely. I was waiting at the corner to cross, but in Vancouver, you can’t just wait, even though by law, pedestrians have the right of way. I step off the curb and start to walk out slow. It was dark, yes, about 10:30 pm, but I moved out slowly (and I always watch because I have a good reason for not trusting drivers). I was into the middle of the oncoming lane when Mr. Sporty Red Truck decided that he wouldn’t stop for me and swerved around me, missing me by two inches. I yelled, “Hey, asshole” at him and was so mad that I’m writing this. Plain and simple, pedestrians have the right of way at ever corner, whether there is a crosswalk or not.

If you don’t know this, you should turn in your licence. There are rules of the road, which are law, and there are rules of the road, which come into common courtesies. The latter would be letting someone in who is signalling and not blocking them out.

The second loser of the week was  Thursday, January 15th, at 10:50 am, one Mrs. Silver Van (BC licence# 809 LBX) at the merge lane of the #1 Highway joining onto the Brunette Highway going west/south. It’s a merge lane. It says merge. The lane disappears.  Merge means just that. Like the large semi before me, I came up the ramp and signalled to get into the lane. The semi merged. I let the car in the left lane go by and, continually signalling, began to merge into the lane as is the way. One car from the left, one car from the right, one car from the left, etc. BTW, signalling is not an option; it’s the law.

Mrs. Silver Van not only closed the gap on me but start pushing me back into that disappearing lane, laying on her horn. The thing was that lane also ramps off to a right-turn lane, but there was no way she was going to let me in, into the thick of traffic. I really would have loved to see her shove over the semi. So Mrs. Silver Van, giant asshole that you have exhibited yourself to be, may you get a flat tire in the pouring cold rain, and find your jack doesn’t work and that no one will stop to help you because you could exhibit a common courtesy.

I have stronger words for these two people running through my head but I’m trying to censor myself. I really wished I had rotten tomatoes for that van, and the truck, though for the truck a sharp piece of metal would have worked, and I wouldn’t even have reached out. I always try to stop for people at crosswalks and corners. Once in a while I don’t seem them until it’s too late, but if they’re on the road, I do always stop.

So, drivers, you don’t own the road, you won’t die if you stop for someone, or let someone in. And if next time you’re trying to merge or change lanes and no one will let you in, well that’s why. People aren’t always in a race against you. Sometimes they just want to turn a corner or get to their destination. Play nice in the sandbox or your mother will ground you.

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Driving Me Crazy: Merging

I would love to have a job where I didn’t commute. This is the place (the road) where the self-centeredness of people becomes evident, and aggressive, distracted or stupid moves can be worth someone’s life.

Today’s aggravation is merging and merge lanes. A merge lane has one of two signs (in BC). One will say “Merge.” The other will show two lanes merging into one. The protocol, the rule, the law (in some areas), in fact,  good common sense says to do the following.

Merge does not mean come to a full dead stop. Merge does not mean follow the car right in front of you and butt in too. Merge does not mean cut off a person merging into the traffic flow. Notice that word “flow.” Merge lanes are designed to try to keep the traffic flow steady. Many areas are now extending those merge lanes even farther. The Number 1 Highway between Kensington and Gaglardi (Greater Vancouver) and along the I405 (Seattle and surrounding areas) have lengthened merge lanes to try and alleviate traffic flow problems.

Merging means oncoming traffic and merging traffic alternates, one by one into the flow. If you’re on the highway and in the right-hand lane, you have two choices: either move into the left-hand lane to facilitate the merging people, or slow down so that they can merge without crashing into you. Speeding up and driving side by side is pigheaded and stupid. Pay attention to what traffic is doing and try and make it a dance, not a traffic accident.

If you are the person merging, then merge, slowly, safely, coming up to speed if possible. Don’t stop but continue pulling ahead in the merge lane, shoulder checking and looking in your sideview mirror. Do not merge at the very entrance where the ramp joins the highway, but continue pulling ahead in the merge lane. This does two things: alerts the cars on the highway that you are merging and allows for the flow of the cars behind you who then won’t be backed up and stopped. It completely wrecks the flow if someone decides to merge too soon onto the main thoroughfare.

Traffic going east on the number 1 where it went from North Vancouver over the Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge into Vancouver is the only place where I’ve ever seen merging work flawlessly. People do that commute everyday. Whether they still merge politely, I don’t know. Sometimes there is just too much traffic for the flow to be anything but slow, in the merge lane or on the highway. But if people try to pay attention, to alternate cars from both lanes and adjust their driving accordingly, it will certainly keep the pace going much better and keep tempers down. Presume that it’s the law to be polite and then just try it for fun.

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