View Full Version : Road Etiquette
05-31-2000, 10:17 PM
Okay, you're changing lanes or merging and some poor bloke lets you in. A few moments later, while still directly in front of your benefactor, someone wants to cut in front of you. What do you do?
A) You pass along the kindness and let him in. The guy behind you gets annoyed that not only is he now FURTHER back in line, but you may be one of THOSE people who hangs back and lets everyone and his mother get in front of you. You've also been generally disloyal to your current lane by letting the merging lane sneak in an extra car.
B) You hug the bumper of the guy in front of you, trying to live up to the trust given you by your benefactor. Meanwhile, he's sitting back there thinking: "what a jerk... I let him in and now he's being a greedy ass and tailgating!" You've also been disloyal to your original lane and grown unsympathetic to their plight in the pitifully few moments since you merged.
Seems like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Generally, I don't let anybody else in during the same merge, but will recommence such niceties miles down the road, regardless of who's behind me.
What say the teeming millions?
05-31-2000, 11:17 PM
I say that every car should come equipped with a paintball gun. If your car has five or more splotches, you get pulled over and are given a ticket. :)
meara, can you, somehow, read my mind? I wonder that all the time, in exactly those same terms! Hmmm...
06-01-2000, 01:53 PM
....Like in every day life, you show others the courtesy that you would expect them to show you. Do that and you can wave a fond farewell to all road rage incidents.
As for the guy behind you, well, just like you and the rest of the teaming millions on the road, he has to learn to play well with others and share the public roads. My speculation is that since he/she let you in, he would not object to you showing a similar courtesy to another fellow motorist. If he/she does object, then he/she is a dork and who gives a flying rat's ass - you are in front of him anyway and you are entitled to make your own decisions while behind the wheel of your own automobile, as long as those decisions do not impact the safety of your fellow motorists.
As far as I recall, my driver training course (20+ years ago) stressed safety and courtesy on the roads. It did not mention anything about trying not to inconvenience the guy behind you by not letting other traffic merge in front of you.
06-01-2000, 04:44 PM
That was funny, meara! I'm one of the people that waves in those stuck at the sides of the road. Though, I'm not fond of the ones who pull out then decide they like LEFT better, it's a four lane road, making everyone stop. But, hey, it happens, and you move on! I think that QuickSilver is right on the money. Road rage would stop in a heartbeat, if people remembered and lived by, these are public roads. It isn't MY lane, MY turn off or MY parking space.
Though, I still like the paint ball idea too!
06-01-2000, 07:34 PM
Yeah, but the problem is that in most merge situations, if everybody in the desirable lane lets somebody go in front of them, nobody in the back ever moves anywhere. Instead, new people just zoom up the undesirable lane and cut in right in front of people who just cut in right in front of people who just cut in... etc. (This makes me nuts when I'm a long-term resident of said desirable lane and don't move anywhere for 10 minutes because everybody is being so damned nice to the other lane!)
Further down the etiquette road, I have a confession to make. I used to commute 1.5 hours down I-95 past Philly and would always utilize the exit lanes for the 1-2 miles before they actually exited. Sometimes I would even go off on one of those exits that immediately rejoined the road. :eek: I reasoned that all of the congestion was going into the city (true) and since I was going past it, it wasn't going to hurt anyone if I made it through the traffic more quickly (since they'd end up waiting in the same line anyway). Acceptable rationale... or sleazy cop-out?
06-02-2000, 10:04 AM
You must keep in mind that those people merging into your lane are not going in the same direction as you simply to inconvenience you. They, like you, are stuck in the same traffic and must follow simple physical laws that state: two objects cannot occupy the same space. Thus the commonly exercised but sometimes abused courtesy of letting vehicles merge on alternating basis. You remember grade school and taking turns on the swings, don't you?
Having said that, let me also state that I don't wish the I-95 commute on anyone. It's a nighmare and I avoid it like the plague. On the other hand, according to your use of the exit lane to further your progress in congested traffic, it sounds like you have become the problem about which you originally complained. With all this excessive exiting and re-merging into traffic before the actual exit, you are in fact exacerbating the traffic flow problem by increasing the amount of merging traffic. Your excuse about not going into the city and thereby rationalizing your actions is certainly shared by other commuters doing a similar thing. It's all fun and games until somebody is ticketed or worse, hit by someone pissed off with being cut off on a daily basis by just that kind of manuever.
06-02-2000, 11:49 AM
It's amazing how fast the rules can change in a short distance. When I drive from Boston to southern New Hampshire to visit my girlfriend, I have to completely change my driving style. Like she says, "In NH we drive with COURTESY." Which translates to 1) pitifully slow 2) full stops before turns regardless of light prescence 3) two car lengths minimum distance between vehicles 4) other wimpy rules. I had a little fight with her over this while driving her car.
COURTESY will get you run over in Boston. If I ever drive back to my hometown, Memphis, I'm going to scare the shit out of people.
06-02-2000, 12:24 PM
I agree with you there. I'm a veteran driver of many US and Canadian cities. SF, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, DC, NY, as well as very rural areas like NH and VT. You have to match your driving style to each place but I don't believe for a second that common courtesy (as well as common sense) cannot be practiced in every one of these places without, as you say, being run over. There is no reason to be an ass even if you are making a commute into Boston from the south shore at rush hour.
06-02-2000, 07:40 PM
There are places where you will be run over. I have been in traffic that is bumber to bumper at 80 miles an hour. Its actually a fairly common occurance in the lightly populated citish areas of MI. (After living out of state for a year I refuse to admit that MI has real cities. We call them cities for lack of a better term but compare Ann Arbor, Detroit and Flint to Philly, Pittsburgh and Chicago and MI looks sad and lonely.)
Driving does change from place to place. Respect of pedestrians is another location dependant habit. I didn't know that walking on side walks on busy public streets was really allowed and normal until I went to NYC. It blew my mind. Streets where I have lived have always been either residential (no cars) or citish (no pedestrians).
06-03-2000, 12:00 AM
QuickSilver's got it. There is a huge difference between merging and weaving traffic because you feel that you are the most important SOB on the road with someplace to be.
Thus the commonly exercised but sometimes abused courtesy of letting vehicles merge on alternating basis.
I, for one, can_not_tolerate people who do not know how to merge. I recall one time being in (nearly standstill) traffic and this guy next to me was tailgating the car in front of him into the single lane. This was during the summer months and we were right next to each other with the windows open. He made the mistake of making eye contact, whereupon I (quite impolitely and without sparing expletives) inquired if he understood the meaning of the word "merge". Since he did not reply, I proceeded to (in the same spirit of the original inquiry) explain it to him.
I'm not proud of the temper I get on the road at times. I am an exceedingly courteous driver to anyone who shows the same consideration. However, from the look on his face, I do think he learned something that day.
On a related note, I believe every road test should include negotiating a traffic circle. But that's a whole other thread...
-Gatsby (occasional sufferer of Road Rage)
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