MERGING TRAFFIC SAFELY

THE WRONG AND RIGHT WAYS TO MERGE TRAFFIC:

Merging two traffic streams into one lane is one of the most difficult parts of driving. Even the Indianapolis 500-mile race often has merging accidents.
There are several reasons why this is so difficult:

RULES FOR MERGING

take turns sign ALWAYS OBEY THESE RULES FOR MERGING NO MATTER WHAT SIGNS ARE THERE.

  1.  ALWAYS TAKE TURNS.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE.

    Being selfish makes drivers brake hard and slows down all traffic.

  2. NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT-OF-WAY IN A MERGE.

    Those in front should have priority over those behind. This is taking turns.

  3. merges sign IT IS ALWAYS YOUR DUTY TO MAKE ROOM FOR OTHER CARS TO MERGE.

    The MERGE sign is a command to do this.

  4. SPREAD OUT JUST BEFORE THE MERGE.

    Leave room for merging traffic to enter.

  5. NEVER PASS OTHER VEHICLES WITHIN THE MERGE AREA.

    NEVER SPEED UP to keep vehicles from merging in front of you.

  6. CHANGE TO LANES AWAY FROM THE MERGING AREA IF YOU CAN.

    Leave more room for merging traffic to enter.

  7. NEVER BE SELFISH. MAKE ROOM FOR CARS TO ENTER. SLOW DOWN TO LET THEN IN.

    The merge lane is not long enough for drivers to suddenly select other gap openings.

  8. NEVER LEAVE CRUISE CONTROL ON IF IN A MERGING LANE.

    You need precise throttle control to match the gaps in the other stream.

  9. IF YOU ARE PULLING A TRAILER, GET OUT OF THE MERGE LANE IF YOU CAN.

    Your vehicle is too long for a merging driver to find a safe gap. This includes semis.

THE CORRECT WAY TO MERGE A LANE DROP

THE WRONG WAY TO MERGE bad merge
Wrong methods:
  • Traffic lines up bumper-to-bumper in the lane that continues.
  • Some traffic tries to pass in the lane that ends.
  • The traffic that tries to pass has to wait for drivers in the line to let them in.
  • Drivers in the ending lane have to look behind them to find a gap.
  • Drivers have to make split-second decisions.
  • Selfish drivers can cause all cars to have to stop.
THE RIGHT WAY TO MERGE good merge
Correct methods:
  • Traffic is not told which lane ends until the merge.
  • Traffic flows slowly in both lanes as directed by signs.
  • As traffic approaches the merge point, it spreads out in staggered form to leave room for merging.
  • Drivers know not to pass other cars once the cars line up in staggered form.
  • There is plenty of time to line up cars with gaps in the other lane.
  • Drivers don't have to look behind them to find gaps.

If there are two lanes to the left of the ending lane, some cars can move to the left lane to make room.

The correct way should really be used for all merges.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF MERGES

Priv = traffic has privileged right-of-way.     Burd = traffic is burdened to yield the right-of-way.

MERGE TYPEDRIVER VIEW SIGN INDEX LETTERDIAGRAM
MAINRAMPSIGN
-
NO MERGE LANE - Bad DesignRFLB MMA FFB dead merge
STOP Sign
Score: 0
PrivBurd           stop sign
YIELD Sign
Score: -2
PrivBurd           yield sign
No Merge Area
Score: 2
EqualEqual merge no merge area merge here no merge area merge here merge here
-
MERGE TYPEMAINRAMPSIGN DIAGRAM
MERGE LANERFLB     ABC merge lane
YIELD Sign - Wrong Design
Score: -6
PrivBurd         yield sign  
MERGE Sign
Score: 6
BurdPriv       merge    
MERGE Sign - Long Merge Lane
Score: 8
BurdPriv       merge   lane drop
-
MERGE TYPEMAINRAMPSIGN DIAGRAM
ADDED LANERFLF     GAB added lane
ADDED LANE Sign
Score: 9
EqualEqual         add lane add lane 2
STAY IN LANE Sign
Score: 10
EqualEqual       add lane 2 add lane stay in lane
-
MERGE TYPEMAINRAMPSIGN DIAGRAM
WEAVERFLB DDA ABE added lane
STOP Sign
Score: -6
PrivBurd         stop exit
YIELD Sign
Score: -4
PrivBurd         yield exit
Weave Signs
Score: 2
EqualEqual       merge weave 2 exit
TAKE TURNS Signs
Score: 4
EqualEqual weave 2 take turns weave take turns merge here exit
-
MERGE TYPELEFTRIGHTSIGN DIAGRAM
LANE DROP MERGERB & RFLB & LF HHI JKL added lane
Lane Closed Sign
Score: 0
PrivBurd   rt lane closed lane ends lane drop lane drop Arrow
Zipper Merge
Score: 8
EqualEqual use both

Post 1

rt lane closed

Post 2

take turns merge here Merge here Arrow
Zipper Merge - Don't tell lane
Score: 8
EqualEqual use both use both take turns merge here Merge here Arrow