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When do you merge in a merging lane?

When do you merge in a merging lane?

  • As early as you can.

    Votes: 40 63.5%
  • At the end of the merge lane.

    Votes: 23 36.5%

  • Total voters
    63
Thread revival!

Well, as I continue to drive in this city, it still appears as though the whole concept of the zipper merge is still lost on many people. The National Post today just published an article on this very subject. Hopefully it encourages drivers to be courteous, efficient and coordinated with others on the road.

All hail the zipper merge: How Canadian politeness is killing the efficiency of our highways
URL: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/c...ess-is-killing-the-efficiency-of-our-highways
 
I would have thought 'Canadian politeness' implied merging like a zipper, since everyone takes turns, it's fair, we're all nice about it, etc. But as often happens, the much vaunted Canadian politeness is just a façade for passive-aggressiveness, silently judging and trying to punish each other.

The other place this happens is at four-way stops. Part of it is that most drivers have forgotten what the procedure is in terms of who yields and what order to go in, the rest of it is either not wanting to be judged in case you (accidentally) usurp someone else's turn or pretending you've got blinders on and just barrelling forward before anyone can object. I find it really annoying to encounter a driver who wants me or someone else to go first when it's actually their turn.
 
I have always thought that Californians have this nailed the best. They are the best lane changers ever.

In LA, a turn signal is not a polite request. It's fair notice that a lane change IS happening. Ignore it at your peril.

When LA drivers change lanes, they aim directly at the bumper of the vehicle they are merging behind. That's sensible because with their crowded roads, the space between vehicles is usually only a carlength or so anyways. You merge, then you space out if you feel you are too close.

It seems rude and dangerous at first, but once you get the nerve to try it, you realise it works.

- Paul
 
...
The other place this happens is at four-way stops. Part of it is that most drivers have forgotten what the procedure is in terms of who yields and what order to go in, the rest of it is either not wanting to be judged in case you (accidentally) usurp someone else's turn or pretending you've got blinders on and just barrelling forward before anyone can object. I find it really annoying to encounter a driver who wants me or someone else to go first when it's actually their turn.

Speaking of 4-way stop intersections, I find the larger ones which consist of 2 forward lanes in each of the 4 directions are the worst. Complete chaos when cars don't arrive at the line at the same time.

4-way.jpg
 
Speaking of 4-way stop intersections, I find the larger ones which consist of 2 forward lanes in each of the 4 directions are the worst. Complete chaos when cars don't arrive at the line at the same time.

4-way.jpg
In short, it becomes an eight-way stop, but we all know how people managed during power outages on main arterials.
 
Trouble with stop signs, also, is that motorists do not approach the intersection at the same speed. Just because you've approached the stop sign at top speed and screeched to a sudden stop while others have done a more controlled speed reduction and stop doesn't make you the first to the intersection. Nor does stopping 8 feet short of the intersection and proceeding through in order to be the 'first' through.

Also with the zipper merge, the issue I have is those motorists who use the merging lanes as queue jumping lanes. Motorist manners goes both ways.
 
I myself have never driven when the traffic lights are not working (rarely drive), but won't it be hell at a 6x6 lane 4 way stop intersection? Of course a traffic officer will get there ASAP, but has anyone ever been in this situation?
 
Also with the zipper merge, the issue I have is those motorists who use the merging lanes as queue jumping lanes. Motorist manners goes both ways.

Zipper merging has its place, particularly when traffic has slowed to a crawl....but there are exceptions.

Have you ever come south on the 400 towards the 401? Often the lane to the WB 401 backs up for a mile or more to the north....people come whizzing down the lane to EB 401 and then slam on the brakes when they realise they have come all the way to the fork in the lanes without finding a space to merge into. If no one lets them in quickly, they come to a full stop in the south-to-east lane with 100+km/h cars coming at them from behind. Same thing happens on SB 427 at QEW. After doing that a few times, one learns to move over early! Waiting til the last minute is unsafe in that scenario. This kind of experience reinforces the habit of merging early .... seems like the safest and most courteous way to drive.

My other complaint - often seen at the west end of the Park Lawn to WB Gardiner on ramp - is that service vehicles, police cars, and tow trucks pull off on the shoulder immediately beyond the end of the on ramp (which is the first point that they can reach the shoulder without crossing the on ramp). Takes away any margin of error for cars coming onto the expressway from the on-ramp. Drivers coming onto the expressway move over early out of fear that after accelerating they won't be let in and won't be able to stop before reaching the parked vehicles. There should be painted hatching on the shoulder in that area to reinforce that it's one of the most dangerous places to pull over.

- Paul
 
Zipper merging has its place, particularly when traffic has slowed to a crawl....but there are exceptions.

Have you ever come south on the 400 towards the 401? Often the lane to the WB 401 backs up for a mile or more to the north....people come whizzing down the lane to EB 401 and then slam on the brakes when they realise they have come all the way to the fork in the lanes without finding a space to merge into. If no one lets them in quickly, they come to a full stop in the south-to-east lane with 100+km/h cars coming at them from behind. Same thing happens on SB 427 at QEW. After doing that a few times, one learns to move over early! Waiting til the last minute is unsafe in that scenario. This kind of experience reinforces the habit of merging early .... seems like the safest and most courteous way to drive.
...

Oh, I know precisely what you're talking about. I've been caught on the 400 South at that 401 split. Westbound is always busier in the afternoon rush hour. Those people stopped in the 401 Eastbound lanes trying to squeeze into the 401 Westbound lanes are a terror. So much so that it reduces the 401 Eastbound lanes to just 1 usable lane. Drives me nuts, pun intended.
 
I myself have never driven when the traffic lights are not working (rarely drive), but won't it be hell at a 6x6 lane 4 way stop intersection? Of course a traffic officer will get there ASAP, but has anyone ever been in this situation?

I remember one time not that long ago, during a blackout, I unfortunately found myself driving westbound along Steeles on my way towards the 404. All the traffic lights were out. It was a nightmare. People were so confused as to who and which direction goes first. It was seriously an accident waiting to happen. Once I made my way through each intersection, I breathed a sigh of relief.

For reference: https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.8141...4!1se6Mkp1coWaDE-CXLzDYkHQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
 
Oh, I know precisely what you're talking about. I've been caught on the 400 South at that 401 split. Westbound is always busier in the afternoon rush hour. Those people stopped in the 401 Eastbound lanes trying to squeeze into the 401 Westbound lanes are a terror. So much so that it reduces the 401 Eastbound lanes to just 1 usable lane. Drives me nuts, pun intended.
This is just like the 401 and DVP split on 404 southbound. The 2 401 lanes are usually backs up all the way to Finch, so people use the other 2 lanes to go up to the end and merge. It blocks up the lanes and only allow 1 lane + the HOV lane to use, where people illegally go into the HOV lane. BTW, the GO bus I take usually merges at the last minute to get to 401 East, so the driver has balls ;)
 
When do I merge?

It depends. In busy, but fast moving traffic, I'll merge as soon as I see an available spot for me to squeeze in. Typically there's only about 300 metres to merge, and I don't want to get stuck at the end of the lane, with no room to merge in. Getting stuck at the end of the lane seems like a rather dangerous situation to be in.

In lighter traffic, I'll take advantage of the entire length of the merging lane to match my speed to the other cars and gradually slot myself in.
 
I myself have never driven when the traffic lights are not working (rarely drive), but won't it be hell at a 6x6 lane 4 way stop intersection? Of course a traffic officer will get there ASAP, but has anyone ever been in this situation?

I have. The rules say "treat it like a four way stop", but in reality its awfully difficult to keep track of six or twelve lanes of traffic and remember who has right of way. People just crawl through the intersection slowly, to check that their path is clear.
 
Zipper merging has its place, particularly when traffic has slowed to a crawl....but there are exceptions.

Have you ever come south on the 400 towards the 401? Often the lane to the WB 401 backs up for a mile or more to the north....people come whizzing down the lane to EB 401 and then slam on the brakes when they realise they have come all the way to the fork in the lanes without finding a space to merge into. If no one lets them in quickly, they come to a full stop in the south-to-east lane with 100+km/h cars coming at them from behind. Same thing happens on SB 427 at QEW. After doing that a few times, one learns to move over early! Waiting til the last minute is unsafe in that scenario. This kind of experience reinforces the habit of merging early .... seems like the safest and most courteous way to drive.

- Paul
Yes, but this is not the same situation as a "merging lane", as they are simply in the south-to-east-lane, not a lane that ends. In a merging lane, you would not have the problem of the 100 km/h cars coming from behind (hopefully) as the lane is ending.
 

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