Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Minnesotan's Bi-Polar Merging Phenomenon

This article I discovered on WCCO.com (or WDFL as some of us call it) finally ends the argument over traffic merging when a lane ends. Amr Jabr works at the Minnesota Department of Transportation and states, "We all want to be nice guys and merge right away but that's not really what we want. Merge at the very last moment possible."

This goes counter to what many Minnesotans do and is clearly an unpopular thing to do. According to the WCCO article, "MnDOT's research shows that 34 percent of us merge immediately, 62 percent wait for an opening and just 3 percent merge at the very end."

Who of us has not witnessed the meek Minnesotan merging as soon as possible and then getting into a rage when someone merges at the last possible moment? Minnesotans are bi-polar on the road--too meek to actually do what MNDOT wants us to do, seemingly out of courtesy; but when someone follows MNDOT's plan, but gets in front of the previously meek driver--you'd better watch out! That meek driver just became your worst enemy.

HT: Prof. S @ Roadguy


Psyclist said...

You have no idea how aggrevated I get regarding this phenomenon in Chicago. Not only do Chicagoans merge at the last minute, there is yet another group that sails down the shoulder and then merge. This is in part why I ride my bike. I cannot accept how rude people are and ultimately how much more valuable their time is compared to the other drivers on the road.

The MnDOT rep states ""The responsibility is all on the traffic that is trying to merge," said Jabr. This means we should be at freeway speed before we merge and other drivers do not need to make room for us."

I would imagine at no point should the merging traffic be traveling at a faster rate than traffic on the primary road. What peeves me is when the merging lane of traffic is progressing faster than the primary.

Tom said...

This is a great blog post (and good story by WCCO). I hate the drivers who decide to creep over and block the merging lane, they just don't get that it just backs up traffic further. They are just "selfish" as the people shooting by them to the merge point. Anyway, good post.

Mike said...

I think the problem is the meek drivers move over too soon, artificially slowing down the through lane and leaving the ending lane wide open. Maybe MnDOT shouldn't say which lane is closing - instead of "right lane closed" they could make a sign that says "single lane ahead." That way, "meek" drivers wouldn't know which lane move into too early, and the desired zipper effect could actually work.

David said...

So I'll admit to being one who merges early. And yes, I get peeved when someone in the lane that's ending zooms by just to seemingly get ahead of the thru-lane traffic. Guilty as charged.

However, the thing that gets me is that MnDOT has actually tried to solve this scenario, particularly on the very dangerous north 35W-to-west 94 ramp, by painting on those double white lines that drivers are prohibitted from crossing and putting up signs that say "Do Not Cross Double White Lines." So I don't. But many others do anyways. Too bad the State Patrol isn't enforcing those... they could make a mint and improve public safety from those that cross anyway.

Michael P said...

MNDOT needs to take the lead on this and re-educate drivers. I used to live in Pennsylvania. Portable signs were placed down the road that said "Use all lanes to merge point." At the merge point, another sign said, "Alternate merge." One from the right, then one from the left, back and forth, smooth as silk. No ruffled feathers, no wanna-be troopers blocking a lane, no road rage. All it takes is two signs ... and some LEADERSHIP.