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Traffic Fury: Merge In Turn

Traffic Fury is intended as an irregular feature (that is to say it will appear often, sometimes or never again) whereby I take a single motoring complaint and have a furious moan about it whilst castigating the general driving standards of this nation’s car users. At this stage it is unlikely I will have have a feature called Traffic Joy, but we live in hope. Now read on about Merge In Turn:

Merge In Turn.

That’s what the signs say: Merge. In. Turn. This rule can apply at roadworks or where two or more lanes merge into a single lane. For example, there exists near to me an urban dual-carriageway which, at either end, becomes a single carriageway and it is clear to me that few people understand what needs to be done.

To make it easier there are usually signs carrying the instruction to Merge In Turn or advising that lanes are about to merge. Sometimes they are augmented by little drawings to give a visual clue for slow readers. You would think, wouldn’t you, that the instruction seems simple enough? Not so.

Things Not To Do

Urban clearways tend to attract shoppers heading for the big malls. They have an annoying habit of moving into the lane they will need to turn off MILES before they need to, often slowing other traffic, some of whom will undertake righteously but illegally. It is as if they believe they will become trapped in the wrong lane. These people are the exact opposite of the people who think that the action of signalling means they can pull out at the same instant; but that’s fury for another day.

These same lane-hoggers will do the same if they know they are approaching a merge so as not to be trapped on the outside. By their very action they defeat the object of merge in turn by slowing the surrounding traffic.

Others, knowing it is coming, will straddle two lanes blocking cars both lanes from progressing and merging smoothly. In short, failure to merge in turn will lead to unnecessary problems.

Using The Outside Lane

It is a fact of life that some people will shoot up the outside in an effort to gain ground. When they arrive at the merging point they find to their consternation that the other lane of patient drivers has taken umbrage and the result is a mixture of hooting, glaring, a variety of inventive hand gestures – and a jam.

When traffic is heavy it just makes sense to use both lanes and filter in a polite manner one car at a time. What do you gain by not letting the bloke next to you filter in? One car length. Does that get you to work quicker? No.

Stress Relief

Selfish driving leads to traffic fury. Traffic fury causes stress. Stress makes you ill. Stress makes you drive badly and that makes you more stressful. It is a mystery to me why the concept of merge in turn so carefully explained in an ancient and much neglected book called The Highway Code is (a) so difficult to grasp or (b) to accept with good grace.

Check out the internet. The rise of dashcams reveals the number of times that ignorant MIT driving causes the very problems that smooth merging in turn is designed to avoid. For pity’s sake make an effort when the road narrows. Geoff Maxted