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(Inc)   Should drivers merge as soon as possible, or should they wait to merge until the lane actually ends? Here comes the science   ( inc.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, lane, closing lane, left lane, center lane, rude drivers, Traffic, about-to-close lane, traffic flow  
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2964 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Oct 2017 at 1:02 AM (2 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



104 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2017-10-05 10:32:56 PM  
And free burritos!
 
2017-10-05 10:39:20 PM  
Meege when the lane ends.  But don't think you can cut into an exit by driving down an open lane that isn't part of the exit lane and cut in at the last second.
 
2017-10-05 10:51:29 PM  
I'm not giving Inc a click for another "zippers are good" story. One-a-month is enough.
 
2017-10-05 11:53:29 PM  
Dunno, but they should get the fark out of my way when I drive up behind them in a parking lot. I waited a full 30 seconds for this idiot to move earlier tonight before honking. He then pulls up to the light and when it turns green he just sits there. I wait ten seconds then honk again. Then this inattentive dickbag has the nerve to flip ME off.

/nscsb
 
2017-10-06 12:04:31 AM  
When traffic is backed up behind you because you stopped to try and get over early you are farking over the people trying to get into the collector-distributor lane behind you. Going from WA 520 to I-405 is a prime example in my area of poor merging on one highway leading to extra congestion on the one feeding it. Stop wasting everyone's time with your "I do what I want" bullshiat and learn to zipper merge.

/harrumph
 
2017-10-06 01:23:24 AM  
Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.
 
2017-10-06 01:30:00 AM  
We need signs that say "Let people merge you farks".
That'll work.
/totally
 
2017-10-06 01:32:02 AM  
i don't know.. by the time you've chased down the guy who cut you off, pit maneuvered him, dragged him out of the car, beat him to a pulp with a window scraper, and served out your sentence, 4 or 5 years have passed.
 
2017-10-06 01:35:44 AM  
If the lane is ending, merge late. If the lanes are dividing, merge early.
 
2017-10-06 01:36:29 AM  

crinz83: i don't know.. by the time you've chased down the guy who cut you off, pit maneuvered him, dragged him out of the car, beat him to a pulp with a window scraper, and served out your sentence, 4 or 5 years have passed.


A Glock-9 is much more efficient.
 
2017-10-06 01:37:44 AM  

Befuddled: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.


I didn't realize driving was a benefits and penalties sort of activity.
 
2017-10-06 01:40:29 AM  
What a poorly built website.

*loads entire page*
Then tries to redirect you to the more local version because... Page load times?

Literally got pictures and started reading the article when this popped up. The most local version is now already on my phone.

img.fark.net
 
2017-10-06 01:54:44 AM  
Fine. But that asshole that gets in the right turn lane and cuts in front of everyone when the light turns green can still die in a fire.
 
2017-10-06 01:55:01 AM  

dyhchong: What a poorly built website.

*loads entire page*
Then tries to redirect you to the more local version because... Page load times?

Literally got pictures and started reading the article when this popped up. The most local version is now already on my phone.

[img.fark.net image 422x750]


They're publishing things that have been known for a decade.  Don't expect quality from them.
 
2017-10-06 02:04:09 AM  
No to both! They should all get in a multi-car pile up on the on ramp so everyone already on the freeway can get where they're going.
/harrumph harrumph
//I didn't get a harrumph out of that guy!
///3
 
2017-10-06 02:12:16 AM  
upload.wikimedia.org

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city. Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under her breath as she drives up the onramp. She says, "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." Though that sentence shouldn't bother me, it stays in my mind for an uncomfortably long time. Nothing else seems to matter. Not the fact that I'm eighteen and it's December and the ride on the plane had been rough and the couple from Santa Barbara, who were sitting across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk. Not the mud that had splattered on the legs of my jeans, which felt kind of cold and loose, earlier that day at an airport in New Hampshire. Not the stain on the arm of the wrinkled, damp shirt I wear, a shirt which looked fresh and clean this morning. Not the tear on the neck of my gray argyle vest, which seems vaguely more eastern than before, especially next to Blair's clean tight jeans and her pale-blue shirt. All of this seems irrelevant next to that one sentence. It seems easier to hear that people are afraid to merge than "I'm pretty sure Muriel is anorexic" or the singer on the radio crying out about magnetic waves. Nothing else seems to matter to me but those ten words. Not the warm winds, which seem to propel the car down the empty asphalt freeway, or the faded smell of marijuana which still faintly permeates Blaire's car. All it comes down to is the fact that I'm a boy coming home for a month and meeting someone whom I haven't seen for four months and people are afraid to merge."
 
2017-10-06 02:20:11 AM  
This is actually mandated in Germany. There are many variations of this topic in the driver's license study materials.
 
2017-10-06 02:21:48 AM  

HighOnCraic: Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under her breath as she drives up the onramp. She says, "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." Though that sentence shouldn't bother me, it stays in my mind for an uncomfortably long time. Nothing else seems to matter. Not the fact that I'm eighteen and it's December and the ride on the plane had been rough and the couple from Santa Barbara, who were sitting across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk.


That's the stupidest, most unbelievable thing I've ever read.  Nobody flies first class from Santa Barbara to LAX.  If you could afford that (if it existed) you could just fly a charter to Burbank or somewhere similar and avoid LAX all together.
 
2017-10-06 02:24:11 AM  

Befuddled: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.


So, did you not read the article or did you just decide that you know more about traffic patterns than the people who did the studies?
 
2017-10-06 02:26:23 AM  
FTFA: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along, in much the same way water flows faster through a funnel than through a straw.

Damn I hate it when people maul physics. Water flows faster through a funnel because there is increased pressure and the water has someplace it can go, so it does. We are not physically pushing cars through - the amount of traffic behind you doesn't increase your speed.

The fastest way to move things is with laminar (smooth) flow. The ONLY way that can happen with people merging at the last minute is if all of the cars have plenty of space between them. That doesn't happen because the cars behind are going faster than the cars in front, so they bunch up. People trying to get in at the last minute disturb the laminar flow of traffic. Someone has to slow further/stop for that dick-weed to get in, which slows the process more, making people bunch up more and around we go on the vicious cycle thing.
 
2017-10-06 02:27:19 AM  
Stupid question that should not be overthought. Think of yourselves as cogs in a gear or a zipper. If you space out and merge before the lane ends you can all ways keep the line moving. Wait till the end and then each lane has to stop moving to let the other lane turn in.
 
2017-10-06 03:02:29 AM  

xraygun: And free burritos!


ikr. I want a fucvking burrito.
 
2017-10-06 03:03:32 AM  

NotARocketScientist: FTFA: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along, in much the same way water flows faster through a funnel than through a straw.

Damn I hate it when people maul physics. Water flows faster through a funnel because there is increased pressure and the water has someplace it can go, so it does. We are not physically pushing cars through - the amount of traffic behind you doesn't increase your speed.

The fastest way to move things is with laminar (smooth) flow. The ONLY way that can happen with people merging at the last minute is if all of the cars have plenty of space between them. That doesn't happen because the cars behind are going faster than the cars in front, so they bunch up. People trying to get in at the last minute disturb the laminar flow of traffic. Someone has to slow further/stop for that dick-weed to get in, which slows the process more, making people bunch up more and around we go on the vicious cycle thing.


Username checks out
 
2017-10-06 03:06:08 AM  
I don't care where they merge, as long as they get up to farking speed before they do it.
 
2017-10-06 03:06:33 AM  

dyhchong: What a poorly built website.

*loads entire page*
Then tries to redirect you to the more local version because... Page load times?

Literally got pictures and started reading the article when this popped up. The most local version is now already on my phone.

[img.fark.net image 422x750]


Should a website redirect as soon as possible or should it wait to redirect until the page actually loads? Here comes the science.
 
2017-10-06 03:13:43 AM  

fragMasterFlash: When traffic is backed up behind you because you stopped to try and get over early you are farking over the people trying to get into the collector-distributor lane behind you. Going from WA 520 to I-405 is a prime example in my area of poor merging on one highway leading to extra congestion on the one feeding it. Stop wasting everyone's time with your "I do what I want" bullshiat and learn to zipper merge.

/harrumph


That's just one shining example that is the crappy driving experience in our area.
 
2017-10-06 03:26:01 AM  
The worst for merging is in Georgia when I lived there it seemed nobody would speed up to merge, but would actually slow down while getting on the freeway..very annoying.
 
2017-10-06 03:54:08 AM  
We (Germany) needed a law that regulates merging. You have to stay in your lane until it ends and the drivers in the other lane have to let you merge (zipper style)

It actually works better IMHO based on the decades of driving experience and the few years that we now have this law.
 
2017-10-06 03:55:02 AM  
I have always admired the French expressway merge as practiced/perfected by rural drivers in a 50's Citroen...
Step 1. Don't look - you may drop your cigar.
Step 2. Merge - the Lord will provide.
Step 3. What air horns?
Step 4. Never exceed 40 km/h...
Just to jack off tourists at home, I do a reanamed version of this in the RR Sport before engaging afterburner. We call this "Doing a Farmer Jones".
 
2017-10-06 04:08:32 AM  
LA Freeway driver for 30 years says:

You're still a self-entitled asshole.  Chew on my stalk.
 
2017-10-06 04:33:20 AM  

Befuddled: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.


www.cbc.ca

i.ytimg.com
"My gods.  The chaos.  Stop."
 
2017-10-06 04:39:42 AM  

ArcadianRefugee: Befuddled: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.

[www.cbc.ca image 460x460]

[i.ytimg.com image 480x360]
"My gods.  The chaos.  Stop."


The main issue from the US side seems to be twofold:

1. I'm in this lane ahead of you, aka: Fark you I got mine

2. Zippering and making allowances for the merging cars isn't generally mandated by law.
 
2017-10-06 04:59:41 AM  

ArcadianRefugee: Befuddled: Those apparently rude drivers are putting more of the roadway to use and thus helping speed things along.

No, they are not. They are creating a bigger bottleneck where the lane ends. They benefit at the expense of everyone behind them. If their explanation made sense, then the way you change from four lanes to one is shut all three lanes at once rather than one at a time gradually.

[www.cbc.ca image 460x460]

[i.ytimg.com image 480x360]
"My gods.  The chaos.  Stop."


What the fark is that mess? Are they serious?

Zippers don't group then spread.

Match speeds, make gaps, then offset and flow at speed.

Negative speed changes accumulate and grow as multiples in heavy traffic. The bigger the change, the slower the traffic.
 
2017-10-06 06:21:22 AM  
Zipper Merge is fine, IF both lanes are moving at the same speed and drivers in the lane to be merged into allow people to insert.

Unfortunately, those "rude drivers" speed much faster, and attempt to jam themselves in between cars too tightly packed, forcing traffic to halt while they cut people off.

It is the very same "rude drivers" who continue to use these idiotic "zipper merge" studies as justification for jamming up traffic, ignoring the part where they must not speed past the stop and got lane at 80mph and disrupt the flow at the merge point. In slowing down the merge into lane, more congestion is created, and the situation gets worse.

In theory, zipper merge works, in practice, it fails spectacularly.

Note that when a trucker or other driver pops back out into the merge-from lane, and maintains the same speed as the merge-into lane, traffic always speeds up in the merge-into lane. Assholes may not like it, but they are assholes. Fark them. Everybody on the highway just wants to get to their destination in a reasonable time.
 
2017-10-06 06:22:40 AM  

LesserEvil: ignoring the part where they must not speed past the stop-and-go lane at 80mph


FTFM
 
2017-10-06 06:36:03 AM  
Bad highway behavior that I see daily, and drives me nuts:

1. Idiots who brake at everything. Someone slowing down in the lane to the right? That's a brake stomp. Someone merge into your lane 20 cars ahead? That's a brake stomp. Getting within 40 car lengths of the car ahead of you in the fast lane, while 10 cars are stuck behind you? That's a brake stomp.
2. Tailgaters, who have to brake constantly then speed up, thus beginning the accordion effect.
3. Delayers. Stopped in traffic, they wait until the car ahead of them advances way too far before starting back themselves, then race ahead, thus making the accordion effect even worse.
4. Rubberneckers. If you need to look at the two cars on the side of the road, pull over and take pics, it will last longer; just get the fark out of our way.
5. Cell Phone Lane users. No, Charlene, the people behind you, bobbing and weaving and flipping you off are not the ones who are wrong. Put the damn phone away. If you aren't passing somebody (and at more than a 2mph difference), get the fark out of the fast lane.
6. Lane shifters. The morning drive isn't about how you can advance three car lengths by changing lanes ten times every mile. "Threading the needle" isn't a driving skill, it's just being an asshole and making things worse for everybody by causing Driver #1 to hit his breaks, and driver #2s to start the stop-and-go traffic.
7. Fast Lane Procrastinators, who travel the fast lane until their exit. And by that, I mean they wait until the last possible moment and shift across 3 or 4 lanes of traffic within a hundred feet of their exit, jamming up everybody in the process. Stop that. You drive the route every day, and fark things up for everybody else every day. Fark you. (I've personally seen this cause a massive pileup)
 
2017-10-06 06:40:10 AM  
Just don't drive to affect other drivers, drive to have the minimum effect on other drivers. It really is that simple.

Don't straddle two lanes to stop other drivers passing, don't sit in the overtaking lane to slow down the road, don't pull out just as a car is about to overtake to stop them getting past.

Those are on one hand illegal (in the UK at least) but also the actions of a dick, don't be a dick.
 
2017-10-06 06:41:16 AM  

LesserEvil: Bad highway behavior that I see daily, and drives me nuts:

1. Idiots who brake at everything. Someone slowing down in the lane to the right? That's a brake stomp. Someone merge into your lane 20 cars ahead? That's a brake stomp. Getting within 40 car lengths of the car ahead of you in the fast lane, while 10 cars are stuck behind you? That's a brake stomp.
2. Tailgaters, who have to brake constantly then speed up, thus beginning the accordion effect.
3. Delayers. Stopped in traffic, they wait until the car ahead of them advances way too far before starting back themselves, then race ahead, thus making the accordion effect even worse.
4. Rubberneckers. If you need to look at the two cars on the side of the road, pull over and take pics, it will last longer; just get the fark out of our way.
5. Cell Phone Lane users. No, Charlene, the people behind you, bobbing and weaving and flipping you off are not the ones who are wrong. Put the damn phone away. If you aren't passing somebody (and at more than a 2mph difference), get the fark out of the fast lane.
6. Lane shifters. The morning drive isn't about how you can advance three car lengths by changing lanes ten times every mile. "Threading the needle" isn't a driving skill, it's just being an asshole and making things worse for everybody by causing Driver #1 to hit his breaks, and driver #2s to start the stop-and-go traffic.
7. Fast Lane Procrastinators, who travel the fast lane until their exit. And by that, I mean they wait until the last possible moment and shift across 3 or 4 lanes of traffic within a hundred feet of their exit, jamming up everybody in the process. Stop that. You drive the route every day, and fark things up for everybody else every day. Fark you. (I've personally seen this cause a massive pileup)


Also this
 
2017-10-06 06:58:37 AM  
The thing with merging is that you can only do it when someone else makes a space to let you merge.  If someone makes a space early enough, take it.  But if you pass several opportunities to merge and wait until the end, then someone has to slow down THERE to let you in and that slows down everything.

We keep reading stories about the proper way for the merger to merge, and not how existing traffic should treat people that are TRYING to merge.  It's a dance, you can't get in until someone lets you in and sometimes people are assholes about it, and sometimes it's the merger who's the asshole about it.
 
2017-10-06 07:05:01 AM  
Everybody knows this but incompetent drivers are going to merge right away and end up backing up traffic even worse .
 
2017-10-06 07:19:51 AM  

LesserEvil: Zipper Merge is fine, IF both lanes are moving at the same speed and drivers in the lane to be merged into allow people to insert.


Translation: Zipper merging works great except when people are assholes.

LesserEvil: In theory, zipper merge works, in practice, it fails spectacularly.


Zipper merging, in practice:

MnDOT | Zipper Merge Traffic Camera Instructional
Youtube ZcPby71TNC0



The cars seem to be moving at the same speed, but since there are TWO lanes, and not just ONE, twice as many cars are getting through the merge: overall traffic delays are reduced. In a standard selfish American merge, that backup would be way longer and potentially impact other traffic (say, those who aren't heading to the merge point and are planning to exit before that).
 
2017-10-06 07:20:52 AM  
There's a spot on my morning commute where two lanes merge immediately after a traffic light, and the merge lane is about 100 feet long.  The regulars know it and all line up in the left lane at the light.  So traffic in the left lane, at a red light, will be 40 cars long.  And there will be NOBODY in the right lane.

What do you do in that scenario?  Drive past the backed up traffic to the light and hope that someone lets you in immediately once the light turns green?  Or line up as car 41 and hope you make in through before the light cycles and you sit through another round of red?
 
2017-10-06 07:26:11 AM  
People that speed to the end break the first rule of merging: Match the speed of the lane you're merging into
Passing everyone with your turn signal on and then being frustrated when you run out of road is idiotic.
 
2017-10-06 07:38:33 AM  
I've had a 60 mile daily work commute since 1980 (30 there + 30 back), on the perpetually-under-construction Detroit highways, so I know a thing or two about lane closures and merging. Someone touched on it upthread, but the biggest issue with the zipper-type of merge is the people who are supposed to let the closing lane in hit their brakes if they see a car on their left or right trying to merge in. Once one person hits their brakes, everyone down the line does as well. Also, 50% of the people trying to merge in don't look for an insertion point until it's too late, they get to the point where the lane is closed and hit their brakes, then so does everyone in back of them. I noticed it getting way worse as manual transmissions in personal cars went away, as people use their brakes instead of downshifting to try and match speeds.
 
2017-10-06 07:43:19 AM  
There's a spot near my house that has two lanes at a stop light.  Not far on the other side of the stop light it drops down to one lane.

Even though all the signs at the light say to use two lanes to go straight, most people line up in the left lane.  I pull up in the right lane and usually get 1-2 cars in front of me rather than the 10-15 on a busy day in the left lane.

Unless the person in the left lane is being a dick, there's always a gap that I can use to merge.
 
2017-10-06 07:57:32 AM  

PoweredByIrony: There's a spot on my morning commute where two lanes merge immediately after a traffic light, and the merge lane is about 100 feet long.  The regulars know it and all line up in the left lane at the light.  So traffic in the left lane, at a red light, will be 40 cars long.  And there will be NOBODY in the right lane.

What do you do in that scenario?  Drive past the backed up traffic to the light and hope that someone lets you in immediately once the light turns green?  Or line up as car 41 and hope you make in through before the light cycles and you sit through another round of red?


Go in the right lane and get the fark on it when the light turns green. Why would you expect someone to let you in?

Now not only are you in front of the 40 cars, you won't affect any of them unless you're an asshole and drive too slow at the front of the line.
 
2017-10-06 07:59:10 AM  

fragMasterFlash: When traffic is backed up behind you because you stopped to try and get over early you are farking over the people trying to get into the collector-distributor lane behind you. Going from WA 520 to I-405 is a prime example in my area of poor merging on one highway leading to extra congestion on the one feeding it. Stop wasting everyone's time with your "I do what I want" bullshiat and learn to zipper merge.

/harrumph


Yep, fark the rest of the states mentioned...WA state drivers need this drilled into their heads.
 
2017-10-06 08:07:21 AM  
...and if the car in front of you has jammed the zipper and sits there with their blinker on?  What then, hmmm?
Not that it ever ever happens, of course.

Chances are it will be a "white blocker" (tm) .

Test it yourself the next time you see a cortege of cars,

Chances are better than even it's white (full disclosure: I have twowhite vehicles) and better than the 23% +/- white vehicles in the total population.

img.fark.net
 
2017-10-06 08:25:08 AM  

slykens1: PoweredByIrony: There's a spot on my morning commute where two lanes merge immediately after a traffic light, and the merge lane is about 100 feet long.  The regulars know it and all line up in the left lane at the light.  So traffic in the left lane, at a red light, will be 40 cars long.  And there will be NOBODY in the right lane.

What do you do in that scenario?  Drive past the backed up traffic to the light and hope that someone lets you in immediately once the light turns green?  Or line up as car 41 and hope you make in through before the light cycles and you sit through another round of red?

Go in the right lane and get the fark on it when the light turns green. Why would you expect someone to let you in?

Now not only are you in front of the 40 cars, you won't affect any of them unless you're an asshole and drive too slow at the front of the line.


That's what I do, and most mornings I wind up racing the front 2 or 3 cars who don't want to give up their position at the head of the line.

Nothing like seeing a Camry and a minivan laying patches of rubber at an intersection, jockeying for position to drive a couple of miles on a one lane, 35mph road.

Did I mention I hate that light?

/that's right, I drive a Camry
//a beige one
///invisible to cops, V6 engine
 
2017-10-06 08:26:51 AM  

PoweredByIrony: There's a spot on my morning commute where two lanes merge immediately after a traffic light, and the merge lane is about 100 feet long.  The regulars know it and all line up in the left lane at the light.  So traffic in the left lane, at a red light, will be 40 cars long.  And there will be NOBODY in the right lane.

What do you do in that scenario?  Drive past the backed up traffic to the light and hope that someone lets you in immediately once the light turns green?  Or line up as car 41 and hope you make in through before the light cycles and you sit through another round of red?


Have one of those by me. Never understood the huge line that forms.

Thankfully, I've got great pickup in first gear, so I usually hop into the empty lane then floor it and jump into the other.

I still feel like kind of a dick when I do, but fark it: I'm not going to get stuck at the same damned light three times in one go just because everyone is a dolt.
 
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