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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my driving peeves, hurrah for this article:

All hail the zipper merge: How Canadian politeness is killing the efficiency of our highways

I usually stay in a terminating lane until it requires a merge, and have often had two or three drivers snug their vehicles together and refuse to let me merge because I was "rude" in not lining up politely back with others in the remaining running lane.

They'd be prigs except that the little people are not defending any law or even any reasonable convention. They're just ignorant, and probably feel very self-righteous, much like drivers who won't pull over and vacate the passing lane for faster-moving traffic.
 

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In my area, there is a lane on the expressway that serves as both entering lane and exit lane for two successive turnoffs. Far too many drivers treat it as their own personal passing lane, zipping past all the other drivers until they arrive at the painted partition between the exit lane and main traffic, and then make puppy-dog eyes to try and enter into the flow of traffic. I hasten to remind such folks that the passing lane is on the left, not the right.

But this is different than the so-called zipper merge, which pertains to the ending of a lane that might normally be in service (often accompanied on many highway by a big lit arrow sign). Circumstances vary, but as the driver of a lower-profile vehicle, with a much shorter horizon than folks sitting a foot and a half higher, one often finds oneself not being able to see the need for a lane merge until late in the game. In which case, zipper merging is sensible. On municipal expressways, where some drivers treat service lanes as their privileged pathway, zippering, rather than merging at the first available opportunity, is misbehaviour. I decline to allow them entry. Either you're entering the flow of traffic, or leaving it. You can't pretend like you're leaving and then decide to enter when it's advantageous for you.

Of course, one has to wonder what the future of self-driving vehicles holds for that sort of behaviour. Bit of a monkey wrench in the works, I would think.
 

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Grr, pet peeve time. Here is the actual problem ...

I don't agree with the approach in these articles and discussions. Zipper merge is the right way, but pretty much 100% of signs are LANE ENDS, not merge, with associated invalid road markings that further support LANE ENDS rather than merge interpretation. Until our roads and construction setup use proper merge marking and setup, trying to get people to merge is simply NOT GOING TO WORK and is a completely invalid assertion -- we are asked to do one thing, and this article implies we should somehow mind-read every situation and intent to be something else entirely? Nonsense. Fix the roads and traffic managers, THEN get on the high horse for drivers.
 

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Grr, pet peeve time. Here is the actual problem ...

I don't agree with the approach in these articles and discussions. Zipper merge is the right way, but pretty much 100% of signs are LANE ENDS, not merge, with associated invalid road markings that further support LANE ENDS rather than merge interpretation. Until our roads and construction setup use proper merge marking and setup, trying to get people to merge is simply NOT GOING TO WORK and is a completely invalid assertion -- we are asked to do one thing, and this article implies we should somehow mind-read every situation and intent to be something else entirely? Nonsense. Fix the roads and traffic managers, THEN get on the high horse for drivers.
So is your issue that they don't put correct signage or you don't agree that the zipper is more efficient?

The article alludes to education on the subject including signage where certain jurisdictions saw fit to do it as well as informing people of the more efficient way to handle a merge. These things don't happen over night but it's good to start getting the word out there. I wish it was enforced and had proper signage too.
I was one of those people who lined up and got pissed at everyone seeming to rush in to cut the line but after examining it more closely and being willing to view it objectively I'm a convert.
 
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A lot of these problems go back to lack of training before a person gets their license and driving tests being too easy and incomplete.
 

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As I stated, I strongly believe (know) that zipper is the right approach. Full stop.

My issue is that the signs and road setup are 100% lane ends, not merge. Lane ends rule states "change lanes when it's safe to do so" for the driver whose lane ends and states nothing at all for the driver in the non-ending lane. Articles and pundits telling the drivers they are doing it wrong are, themselves, completely wrong for nearly 100% of signs and road setups.

First, change signage and standard road setup to properly represent a merge. Then teach drivers. Then go after idiots that don't do it. In that order.
 

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I want to know why I see more adults aged roughly 30+ passing on the right. It seems more frequent compared to just a few years ago.
My own hypothesis is that, as more people end up having to commute longer and longer distances on a daily basis, their patience declines, and their incivility on the road increases. Perhaps having commuted more years also increases impatience and incivility?
 
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For some reason, most want to drive in the left lanes.
It leaves the right all open to me. lol.
Eventually, the left lanes back up leaving the right still flowing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
In my area, there is a lane on the expressway that serves as both entering lane and exit lane for two successive turnoffs. Far too many drivers treat it as their own personal passing lane, zipping past all the other drivers until they arrive at the painted partition between the exit lane and main traffic, and then make puppy-dog eyes to try and enter into the flow of traffic. I hasten to remind such folks that the passing lane is on the left, not the right.<snip>
If entering a highway on an on-ramp, and traffic is stopped or slow, I drive to the end of the ramp before merging which means I may pass cars before attempting to merge. Just like a lane-closed or lane-ending situation, it makes sense. If you're suggesting that drivers must merge into traffic as soon as possible after the road markings make it legal regardless of open ramp lane ahead of them then you're asserting (and causing) the problems described in the article I posted.

The distinction of the lane being both on- and off-ramp lanes does not change this. In fact it exacerbates it since drivers sharing your made-up rule of behavior by hanging back to merge early and line up politely with other traffic will be impeding the drivers trying to exit on that lane as well as others trying to enter the highway on it.

In both of these types of on-ramps drivers should travel down the ramp, merging before the end of it only when they can do so smoothly without braking and impeding anything behind them. Otherwise they should brake near the end of the ramp and drivers should let them in there, and by not doing so you are part of the problem.

As for the drivers who skip out of a clogged lane to zip down the on-ramp and then wedge back into traffic, we agree. There's a special place in hell for those drivers. In Ontario (at least) we have law against that which is occasionally very-satisfyingly enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police. As an example, in the Toronto area the long on-ramp onto Hwy 404 from Steeles Avenue evolves into the long off-ramp for Hwy 407, which presents a great opportunity for these selfish pricks to get ahead by a kilometer or so. They can create a noticeable slow-down there by increasing the number of vehicles entering (re-entering in their case) the traffic lane so, not often enough, the OPP is there waiting to pick them off which brings great pleasure. However if coming off of Steeles when traffic is not flowing well, driving to near the end of the on-lane before merging in is not only legal, but sensible.
 

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I think this is a subset of the larger problem - many Canadians think 'polite' driving is better than driving by the rules.

The problem is the rules are universal to all of us. If you follow the rules, I can predict what you will do and vice versa. If you decide to bypass all known rules and, for example, stop when you have the right-of-way and wave me through a stop sign (one of a dozen dumb things I see regularly), you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I'm all for being civil and polite in traffic, but within the boundaries of the rules. If you can't do that, FFS text everyone in Canada you're revision of the rules so at least we know what to expect from you.
 

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We had construction on Hwy 11 last summer, taking it from 2 lanes to one. Approaching the merge, it was frighteningly common for me to see people deliberately driving halfway in EACH lane in order to prevent EITHER lane from passing in a safe manner. All this despite the fact that there might be 1 km or more until the actual merge. Absolutely ridiculous. You want to stay in the left, fine. You want to try to pass a few cars safely in the right lane before it merges, fine. Just don't purposely make yourself a moving road block, preventing people from driving LEGALLY in the lane of their choice, at the speed that that lane allows.
 

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If entering a highway on an on-ramp, and traffic is stopped or slow, I drive to the end of the ramp before merging which means I may pass cars before attempting to merge. Just like a lane-closed or lane-ending situation, it makes sense. If you're suggesting that drivers must merge into traffic as soon as possible after the road markings make it legal regardless of open ramp lane ahead of them then you're asserting (and causing) the problems described in the article I posted.

The distinction of the lane being both on- and off-ramp lanes does not change this. In fact it exacerbates it since drivers sharing your made-up rule of behavior by hanging back to merge early and line up politely with other traffic will be impeding the drivers trying to exit on that lane as well as others trying to enter the highway on it.

In both of these types of on-ramps drivers should travel down the ramp, merging before the end of it only when they can do so smoothly without braking and impeding anything behind them. Otherwise they should brake near the end of the ramp and drivers should let them in there, and by not doing so you are part of the problem.
My belligerence in this context only comes out when I see someone has zipped along the service lane, at 20+ clicks faster than the rest of the traffic, treating it as their personal passing lane. If they are moving at the speed of traffic, and no one has let them in, I'm merciful. But if their obvious goal is to treat all other drivers as suckers, f*** 'em. I don't owe them any favours.
As for the drivers who skip out of a clogged lane to zip down the on-ramp and then wedge back into traffic, we agree. There's a special place in hell for those drivers. In Ontario (at least) we have law against that which is occasionally very-satisfyingly enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police. As an example, in the Toronto area the long on-ramp onto Hwy 404 from Steeles Avenue evolves into the long off-ramp for Hwy 407, which presents a great opportunity for these selfish pricks to get ahead by a kilometer or so. They can create a noticeable slow-down there by increasing the number of vehicles entering (re-entering in their case) the traffic lane so, not often enough, the OPP is there waiting to pick them off which brings great pleasure. However if coming off of Steeles when traffic is not flowing well, driving to near the end of the on-lane before merging in is not only legal, but sensible.
What I suggested hinges on existing drivers in the right-hand lane making room for earliest-possible lane merges, without the entering driver having to slow down. Ideally, one either eases up on the gas a smidgen to give the entering driver a fighting chance, or moves over to the left or centre lane on an expressway such that drivers entering from an off ramp can accelerate up to the speed of traffic easily and without impediment. Sadly, there are inconsiderate people in BOTH the service lane and right-hand lane. Unfortunately, both options tend not to be available during rush hour, when the congestion and rampant lane-switching increases. Which is one of several reasons why I prefer to take the bus to work...I like to see people at their best, rather than their worst. Keeps me in a much better mood.

Many many years back, I worked with hamsters, chopping off their little heads, and delicately removing their pineal glands. One of the annoying habits of those little tribbles-with-eyes was that if you pestered one of them and it shrieked, ALL the others (and I had 360 of them) would instantly and reflexively back into a corner, stand up on their hind legs, and begin shrieking. Over the Christmas break, we were driving home along the 401 between Whitby and Ottawa, and you'd hit these vast stretches where everybody's break lights would be on, for kilometers at a stretch. You'd think "Hmm, there must be an accident or a lane closure up ahead". You'd inch along, often at less than 30kmh, and then 20 minutes later, the traffic would magically open up. No accident, no lane closure, and no exit to siphon off traffic. It was simply a case of somebody at the front of the pack touching their brakes and, just like the hamsters, hundreds and hundreds of other drivers behind them (the majority of which were tailgating) would hit their brakes, and things would grind to a halt. Took us 8hrs to complete what is often a 5hr trip. Sadly, if you leave enough space between vehicles so that all you need to do is take your foot off the gas momentarily, rather than stepping on your brakes, some putz will assume it is their God-given right to fill that space. It's their greed for "position" that all too often prompts the slowdowns. I used to lament that I had not bought a car with cruise control, but in truth, for 98% of any highway driving I do, I simply can't use it any more. Too damn many interruptions.

Potentially, that might be one of the problems that self-driving cars solve...maybe.
 

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Probably because some numb nut is blocking the left lane! (tongue in cheek)
I actually think that's correct. the left lane is so often congested and not used for passing, that the right lane is usually more open to use for passing.
 

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This assumes two things: 1. People can read 2. People follow instructions.
Once you have this on the roads, then you can complain about people. Until then, the actual rules for lane ends (ie change lane when safe to do so) are NOT the rules for a merge (ie zipper merge approach opportunity) and the signage and actual lane closure road setups ARE ALL LANE ENDS. Driver are behaving the way they behave now because they are told to behave this way by the signs and road setup. I am all for complaining about "other people" (do it all the time myself), but in this case, it's the road/sign design that is completely wrong.
 
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