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Mar 15, 2019 - 5:51:13 AM
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2353 posts since 7/28/2015

I cannot believe that people don't know this by now.   The proper thing to do when there is a lane closure is to merge at the end of the lane that is closing.   Merging early causes slower traffic.   

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/us/why-last-second-lane-mergers-are-good-for-traffic.html

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/trans-canada-highway/traffic-will-move-faster-if-you-cheat-and-merge-late-at-a-bottleneck-study/article33596301/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX0I8OdK7Tk

I mention this because I have been seeing people do this awful thing where they try to block people in the merging lane from driving up.   They will do something like try to drive in both lanes simultaneously or swerve into the merging lane of someone who is driving.   I can understand the impulse.   It seems like the late merger is cheating, but in reality they are doing the thing that is best for traffic flow.  Trying to block the lane is dangerous and it will do nothing to improve the traffic, so please don't do this.

Mar 15, 2019 - 6:04:09 AM
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figmo59

USA

28804 posts since 3/5/2008

Phew...

N... here I thought You were gawnna have...
Fly Talk......

About bein ..cault...up..... :0o

Mar 15, 2019 - 6:07:56 AM
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2353 posts since 7/28/2015

Well fig, be careful either way.

Mar 15, 2019 - 6:21:42 AM

Owen

Canada

3411 posts since 6/5/2011

I expect people have heard about  it, but might not really believe it... around here there has been virtually no public education.  I realize it's pretty self-explanatory, but since the norm so far seems to have been to "block" the merging traffic, I think it'll be a l-o-n-g time comin' without legislation, and public education [which might even incorporate some actual in-car training]??   Inertia is a very powerful force.

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:16:53 AM

mander

USA

3232 posts since 10/7/2007

quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory

I cannot believe that people don't know this by now.   The proper thing to do when there is a lane closure is to merge at the end of the lane that is closing.   Merging early causes slower traffic.   

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/us/why-last-second-lane-mergers-are-good-for-traffic.html

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/trans-canada-highway/traffic-will-move-faster-if-you-cheat-and-merge-late-at-a-bottleneck-study/article33596301/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX0I8OdK7Tk

I mention this because I have been seeing people do this awful thing where they try to block people in the merging lane from driving up.   They will do something like try to drive in both lanes simultaneously or swerve into the merging lane of someone who is driving.   I can understand the impulse.   It seems like the late merger is cheating, but in reality they are doing the thing that is best for traffic flow.  Trying to block the lane is dangerous and it will do nothing to improve the traffic, so please don't do this.


I was under the impression folks merged early because they live in fear of road rage and what folks will do when one is preceived to cut ahead of those with limited patience. 

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:23:11 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by mander
 

I was under the impression folks merged early because they live in fear of road rage and what folks will do when one is preceived to cut ahead of those with limited patience. 


I guess my point was to educate the road-ragers that simply because someone merges late, does not mean that they are cutting ahead, but rather that they are doing what is best for traffic flow.  Maybe if the road-ragers knew this, they wouldn't be so angry.

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:37:29 AM
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8584 posts since 1/15/2005

Of course the truth is that people driving in the merging lane are trying to get through the bottleneck faster, not trying to speed up the process for everyone .... akin to breaking in line. I'm always a little miffed when others try and take unfair advantage even if they are inadvertently right. That said, I always let someone in who is signaling and is courteous.

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:41:57 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Of course the truth is that people driving in the merging lane are trying to get through the bottleneck faster, not trying to speed up the process for everyone .... akin to breaking in line. I'm always a little miffed when others try and take unfair advantage even if they are inadvertently right. That said, I always let someone in who is signaling and is courteous.


That is simply not true.  The only reason I do not merge early is because I want to keep congestion down.    Why would you try to stop someone from doing something that accrues advantage to both themselves and the rest of the people driving?   Why would you think that preventing someone from doing so is helpful?

This driver shouldn't have gotten out of his car.   But the two traffic vigilantes here made traffic much worse for everyone.

Edited by - prooftheory on 03/15/2019 09:42:51

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:45:16 AM
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8584 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Of course the truth is that people driving in the merging lane are trying to get through the bottleneck faster, not trying to speed up the process for everyone .... akin to breaking in line. I'm always a little miffed when others try and take unfair advantage even if they are inadvertently right. That said, I always let someone in who is signaling and is courteous.


That is simply not true.  The only reason I do not merge early is because I want to keep congestion down.    Why would you try to stop someone from doing something that accrues advantage to both themselves and the rest of the people driving?   Why would you think that preventing someone from doing so is helpful?

 


Where did I say I would try and stop someone?  I know that most of the people that go zooming by in the merging lane are doing it to get through sooner, not improve traffic flow.  And the reason I know this is the same reason that you know that those same people are doing it to improve traffic flow ...... because the great majority of people have not read your links!

Plus, I have rarely ever seen a car block the merging lane, but have seen 18 wheelers do it ..... and I guess they don't know anything about driving.

Edited by - BanjoLink on 03/15/2019 09:46:56

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:52:49 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink
quote:

Where did I say I would try and stop someone?  I know that most of the people that go zooming by in the merging lane are doing it to get through sooner, not improve traffic flow.  And the reason I know this is the same reason that you know that those same people are doing it to improve traffic flow ...... because the great majority of people have not read your links!

Plus, I have rarely ever seen a car block the merging lane, but have seen 18 wheelers do it ..... and I guess they don't know anything about driving.


I'm sorry for my miscommunication.   When I said "you" in the above I didn't mean you specifically.  I meant "one" or "anyone".  You specifically said you would not try to block someone and I appreciate that.  I would also encourage you to not merge early in order to keep the traffic down, even if there are some people who may think badly of you.   If everybody did this, there wouldn't be anybody getting an advantage at all.

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:13:03 AM
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Mooooo

USA

6681 posts since 8/20/2016

Thanks Prooftheory, I never realized how nice I was being to my fellow drivers. I always thought I was getting ahead of a few suckers who were dumb enough to let me squeak through. Apparently, I am one of the few smart drivers out there who instinctively knew how to best keep traffic flowing. I now wonder if there may be some alternate interpretation of "the finger" that I usually get when I am being such a courteous driver. Maybe they're saying "thank you".

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:19:47 AM

Owen

Canada

3411 posts since 6/5/2011

I'm too lazy to try and figure the math/physics involved, but my understanding is that for any given speed, with the recommended following distance/gap, then a certain specific # of vehicles will pass a checkpoint per unit of time.   

Theoretically, does the distance the traffic merges before coming to the actual lane merge  [eg. point  where 2 lanes become 1... the "checkpoint" previously mentioned] matter?    Will traffic flow better if the vehicles merge very close to the checkpoint compared to 200 yd. before? ... 400 yds?  

 Given the absence of a specific law, I can see how uncertainty and mistrust of the driver in the other lane could cause "jockeying" or stop/start/guessing which would slow things down.

Edited by - Owen on 03/15/2019 10:23:04

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:38:06 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

I'm too lazy to try and figure the math/physics involved, but my understanding is that for any given speed, with the recommended following distance/gap, then a certain specific # of vehicles will pass a checkpoint per unit of time.   

Theoretically, does the distance the traffic merges before coming to the actual lane merge  [eg. point  where 2 lanes become 1... the "checkpoint" previously mentioned] matter?    Will traffic flow better if the vehicles merge very close to the checkpoint compared to 200 yd. before? ... 400 yds?  

 Given the absence of a specific law, I can see how uncertainty and mistrust of the driver in the other lane could cause "jockeying" or stop/start/guessing which would slow things down.


The studies that have been done have all been empirical but I agree with you that the math is hard to reason about.   If there were some compromise optimal merge point based on the speed etc., it would be nice to know about.

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:39:21 AM

267 posts since 11/17/2015

That theory works as long as everyone drives the legal speed limit and leaves the correct space between vehicles. The problem in our region, so many people drive in the left lane, usually below the speed limit, everyone pulls up behind them to a few inches, zooms around (with or without the finger), speed up to 80-90 mph in a 55 zone to pass everyone that has already merged, pull over in the first hole a car will not fit into when the lane ends then slam on their brakes. Any one close by slams on their brakes, chain reaction behind them, then a 3 or 4 vehicle pile up (usually a fender bender). Then the accident vehicles sit still, blocks traffic, now an hour wait. There are a few spots on the interstate locally like this, accident every rush hour, long delays.

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:45:41 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

Part of my thinking with the late merge is that everybody in the non-merging lane would know that they need to let one driver in from the merging lane at a single point. There wouldn't be any guesswork about whether someone is going to randomly pull into my lane or not and thus would make everything safer.

I also don't think that if you are in the non-merging lane that you should pull into the merging lane, even if it is comparatively empty. Everyone should just stay in their lane until the merge and that way there will be fewer lane changes and they will be more predictable.

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:53:29 AM
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slammer

USA

2717 posts since 12/30/2008

We’ve had a bridge rebuilding for going on 2 years now and a lane closure with a terrible merging system that backs up traffic forever. I know for fact nobody in our area knows this merging fact and seems the only ones that do are Hot Blondes in a full-size loaded black Suburban on the phone going twice as fast as anyone else because the are so much more important than anyone!!!
Slammer!!!

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:58:27 AM

Mooooo

USA

6681 posts since 8/20/2016

I believe they are talking about when the traffic has slowed down to a crawl. At normal speeds, pass when you feel safe.

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:02:48 AM

chuckv97

Canada

40040 posts since 10/5/2013

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:25:23 AM
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8487 posts since 2/22/2007

NO sorry, but racing ahead of others who are trying to comply with the road conditions so that you can get ahead only works if only a few are doing it. If everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else then you have chaos. The late mergers only win through intimidation, or else they count on someone ahead of them being "nice". Either way they are rudely pushing themselves to the front of the line without regard for anyone else and deserve having a burrito thrown at them! (from the linked story)

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:42:50 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

NO sorry, but racing ahead of others who are trying to comply with the road conditions so that you can get ahead only works if only a few are doing it. If everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else then you have chaos. The late mergers only win through intimidation, or else they count on someone ahead of them being "nice". Either way they are rudely pushing themselves to the front of the line without regard for anyone else and deserve having a burrito thrown at them! (from the linked story)


Bill, your characterization of "racing ahead of others" isn't accurate.   Assuming that the people merging late are following the posted speed signs, the only agressive drivers are the people who are actively trying to prevent them from either driving ahead or to merge when it is time to merge.  Being able to merge into a lane isn't a result of people being "nice", it is a result of people following the rules of the road and allowing proper distance between drivers.   If everyone simply stayed in their lane (not rushing ahead or trying to move to the fastest lane, but staying in their lane) until the merge, traffic would move faster and there would be less chaos, not more.   I understand your indignation.   The way things are now, the late mergers get an advantage that the early mergers don't get and that doesn't seem fair, but this is a case where doing the thing that "seems fair" is actually hurting everybody as a whole, something I'm sure you can understand.   This is not people simply arguing that they should be self-entitled but is based on actual empirical research.

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:46:13 AM

Owen

Canada

3411 posts since 6/5/2011

Methinks there could be widespread psychological and emotional benefits of  zipper merging that could be more beneficial than simply getting more vehicles past some point in a given time period.

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:54:23 AM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

Methinks there could be widespread psychological and emotional benefits of  zipper merging that could be more beneficial than simply getting more vehicles past some point in a given time period.


The way things are right now, there is at the very least the motivation of getting where you are going faster.   I say we take that away by having everybody follow the zipper merging so that neither lane is at advantage.

Mar 15, 2019 - 12:06:42 PM
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8487 posts since 2/22/2007

Would traffic not move just as quickly if nobody tried to force their way to the front? If late arrivals could just accept their fate and take their turn? Why should rude and reckless behavior be rewarded?

Mar 15, 2019 - 12:11:01 PM

2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

Would traffic not move just as quickly if nobody tried to force their way to the front? If late arrivals could just accept their fate and take their turn? Why should rude and reckless behavior be rewarded?


That is exactly the point.  When people merge early, they are slowing down traffic in the non-merging lane.  If everybody simply waited to merge until before the merge point, there would be no slowing down of either lane.  People should just stay in their lane until the merge point.   That isn't being reckless or rude, it is simply being sensible.   We are not talking about someone driving on the shoulder or jockying in and out of lanes to go faster but merely someone who merges at the latest safe place that they can.  If everbody did this, nobody would accrue any advantage and everyone would get to their destination faster.  It is just as possible to see the early mergers as being the people who are rude and reckless.

Edited by - prooftheory on 03/15/2019 12:14:18

Mar 15, 2019 - 12:21:17 PM

8487 posts since 2/22/2007

So maybe the highway dept. should not give so much notice? Maybe just spring a surprise on everyone---"merge NOW!".

Mar 15, 2019 - 12:26:31 PM
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2353 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

So maybe the highway dept. should not give so much notice? Maybe just spring a surprise on everyone---"merge NOW!".


I actually think it might be better if they put up signs that said "Merge point in 200 ft.", "Merge point in 100 ft." ,  "Merge here", with maybe an additional 100 feet before they close off the road.  I think that might get the zipper effect without people feeling like they were being taken advantage of.  If anyone still rushed up that last 100 feet to get ahead, then we would all know that those were jerks.  Or maybe "Merge zone in 200 feet."  Maybe they could even have a sign that says.  "Stay in your lane until the merge zone."

Edited by - prooftheory on 03/15/2019 12:28:13

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