Update on Driving Rules

John Fleck: I agree that I shouldn’t speed, but I was trying to get to class. Yes, I know I should have left earlier, but I will accept the consequences if I get caught speeding. And no, I don’t think it’s my right to drive drunk; I think it’s retarded.

Also, I would like to update one of my rules. It was pointed out to me by one of the readers of my blog that rather than merge early, drivers should merge at the merge point. I had no clue what the merge point was, so I went searching. It brought me to a study done by the Minnesota Department of Transportation which states that in normal driving conditions, drivers should merge early, but when conditions are congested, drivers should merge at the merge point. I also found a study about merge control in rural areas from the Federal Highway Administration.

I’m still confused as to what the “merge point” is. If someone could explain it to me, I’ll put a condition in my earlier statement about merging. Thanks.

7 Replies to “Update on Driving Rules”

  1. Hi,

    Consequences of high speed is not only a risk of being caught speeding. That’s a really selfish reasonning.

    You may have an accident, which may causes injury or death, and not only to you, but perhaps to others.

    Are you really sure shortening your travel by a few minutes justifies that risk ?

  2. I generally merge at or shortly after the sign for the merge. ASCII style:

    ““|`|““

    “`/“|““

    “|“`|““

    “|“`|““

    “““““`

    Which is generally shortly before the lane starts getting smaller and the dotted line appears. I agree that at speed you should merge early to avoid being forced into the shoulder or construction, but if you are going 5-10mph, you can just alternate with the other lane wherever they put the sign.

  3. I think that "merge point" means the point where the lanes physically merge (i.e. where one of the lanes ends).

    Emmanual: Isn’t that true of driving a car at any speed? Should you always walk everywhere in order to reduce the risk of collisions? Obviously there is some point of acceptable trade-off, and some disagreement about exactly where that lies.

  4. I believe the merge point is where (in my country) the solid line between the highway and the acceleration field becomes a dashed line.

    As I’m not from US/UK, there is good chance things are not the same over at your place, and that I managed to mix up some terms. In short: YMMV 🙂

  5. Matt: acceptable trade-off is fixed by law. You may disagree with speed limitations in some areas, but accepting them doesn’t cost you much in time and can save lives.

    What bothers me with Bryan blog entry is he only fears being caught speeding, without thinking at other consequences, which are much more important IMHO.

    And yes, you can walk or use bicycle. That’s less dangerous (at least for the others 🙂 ), and very healthy (well, if you don’t take into account air pollution)…

  6. In the UK we previously merged early but since this provided an incentive for idiots to jump to the front of the line and barge in at the last minute we’ve recently introduced the "Merge in Turn" system were both lanes are used until 400 yards before one lane ends and then the cars in both lanes merge like a zipper.

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