Cut a driver some slack...

When another driver yields to you so you can change lanes, merge, whatever, do you acknowledge it?

When you let someone in ahead of you, do you expect a wave of thanks from them?

I try to cut other drivers some slack - my little anti-road rage preventative. I back off an let people in, especially if they’re signalling. And if someone does me a good turn, I make sure to wave. I’ve never been in too much of a hurry to do either.

Are Dopers friendly or fiendly behind the wheel??

Yeah, I’ll let people over if they signal before trying to cut me off. The only people who acknowledge my kindness (or whatever) are truck drivers. They don’t wave, they flash their hazards to let me know that they’re thankful.

Truck drivers love people like me. I’m the person who, when a truck is stuck in the fast lane with hundreds of cars passing on the right, will sit in the right lane and let him over. I’ll flash my lights at them at night to let them know they’re clear to get in front of me if they’ve just passed me or if they want to get in front of me to pass someone else.

I’m a pretty courteous driver.

I’m a big fan of the wave. I always give the wave to people who let me in, even if it’s possible that they didn’t intentionally let me in, they were just maintaining enough distance so that it was easy for me to get in. Either way, they get the wave. It sort of bugs me when I make an effort to let someone in and then they don’t give me the wave. I mean, it doesn’t keep me up nights, but I think it’s just a nice gesture of appreciation, especially in heavy traffic. If I stay stalled and not moving for an extra twenty seconds so that you can shift over into my lane, I think it’s just nice if you can acknowledge that with a little wave.

So, put me firmly in the “waver” column.

I am in the wave or let people in column too.

Like FairyChatMom said, I am never in that much of a hurry that one or two car spaces more will make a difference. It is especially true round where I live cause there are lots of sets of traffic lights and during rush hour there is traffic backed up pretty far, usually blocking the end of my road so I rely on other people’s generousity sometimes.

I am also quite conscious of letting buses pull out cause I used to travel on them alot and know what a pain in the arse it can be and also I know that I will be able to overtake them when they pull in next to pick someone up (usually).


Actually, I think it varies a lot on where you are. I must say the most polite I’ve seen, especially for merging traffic, is the Dallas area. NYC cabbies are the bad. The private livery vans are even worse. . Truck drivers are usually better than most.

In general I’m a courteous driver. I let people in, and when others let me in I always give the wave. However, I must admit that unsafe though it may be, I go out of my way not to let in the morons who drive down a shoulder or ignore “Lane Ends; Merge” signs, and then try to cut in after they’ve passed up all the people following the rules.

Mirth, I’ve been guilty of the same on occasion. It hacks me off when someone thinks the laws are for everyone else. I dare them to scratch my paint job…

I’m with you and Mirth, FCM. I try to be polite when someone is trying to get over into another lane, but I don’t give an inch to people that don’t pay attention to the signs on the road. And, if I’m not paying enough attention, I don’t expect to be given any slack myself. I also try to acknowledge when the kind deed has been done to me with either a wave or a headlight flash or something. shrug Never thought much about it… just the way I’ve always been.

Absolutely, always clear some room for the fella coming into the highway via the on-ramp. And if you’re that fella, and someone is nice enough to let you in, give them a friendly wave. I do it all the time.

Regards the two lanes merging scenario: a buddy of mine was driving me somewhere, and he took the (left) lane that was about to end, ran it all the way up, and then cursed at the other drivers for not letting him in. “People around here don’t know how to merge properly!” he’d shout.

As for me, I commented that the sign said “Left lane merge right”. Didn’t say anything about the right lane having to give up anything. Seems like it’s your problem, for running up on that side.

But those two scenarios aside, the practice that REALLY gets my goat is when people come up behind you when you’re on the on-ramp, and jump onto the highway before you do. People 'round here do that all the time. Often, they end up beside you as you’re trying to merge into traffic. Buttheads.

Oh – and a question for those of you who are on the road a lot:

After Sept. 11, have you noticed that agressive driving has gone down? I’ve been hoping that it would. People should see their priorities a little more clearly (you know, the lives of thoses around you are a little more important than getting two car lengths ahead in traffic).

But I’m not sure it has. Any observations?

Yeah, like some of the more famous doper chicks said just a couple posts above - I wave when someone lets me in, and I really appreciate receiving a wave when I let someone merge.

And I’ll be damned if I let one of those non-sign-reading personages into my lane.

I like teaming up with other people on highways to block the ending lane. The truckers are really good at it.

I too, tend to let people in at lane merges or side streets. I also wave when someone extends me that courtesy. I miss the wave when others don’t acknowledge.

However, we have bridges around here (FCM, ya know what I mean?), and ‘my’ bridge backs up a bunch, having only 2 lanes each way, and 3 lanes worth of traffic, anyway, I get on at the last feeder road before the bridge, when chuckleheads come screaming down the left lane and try to cut over at the last minute - well good luck getting a piece of paper between my car and the one in front of me. No you moron. I’m NOT LETTING YOU IN! Often in this case the cheater WILL wave, but not with all of their fingers extended. BTW - I seem to notice that most of these idiots have a cigarette in hand or mouth - something about smokers and aggressive driving.

Another thing I don’t usually do on multi-lane roads, esp. if I’m in the right-hand lane, is let someone out of a driveway or side street to make a left turn. The left lane is often still moving - traffic folks have a name for this: “Good Samaritan Crash” When Right Lane Driver lets Side Street Car thru, Left Lane Car stops when impacting Side Street Car, t-bone style. If I’ve seen that the guy in the other lane has stopped, I generally will too.

One more thing about Merge Cheaters - one afternoon one of these dimwits was in the left lane trying to sneak into the lane going to the bridge. Up behind pulls a police car. Blue Lights. PA announcement to go straight ahead. I laffed and laffed. From here, going straight ahead, there isn’t a really good way to get back to the bridge. I hope they got lost, on THAT side of town.

Actually, here in NYC, I’ve been noticing that people are much more willing to get out of the way of emergency vehicles with their lights on. Traffic is generally lighter with the tourists gone and travel into the city restricted, so that make have a role in making people more polite.

I’m in favor of waving if someone does me a favor, but at “mutual merges” (i.e. when both lanes are merging into one and you alternate cars from each side) I don’t think it’s necessary. I definitely block cars trying to cut the line at high traffic points.


Oh yeah, I know quite well what you mean… Dare I guess - is “your” bridge the maroon one? Fortunately, I don’t need any of the bridges to get to work - we deliberatly selected our neighborhood because of that.

Around here, we’ve got some intersections where two lanes stop for traffic turning in from the left, while the right-hand lanes keep going. I do so love when some bonehead suddenly realizes that his lane is stopped and he absolutely must cut in front of me so as not to touch his brake pedal. I take a certain perverse pleasure on the rare occasions when the bonehead is just close enough that he can’t make his move… If only he’d thought ahead - you know, like I do. We only drive this route every single workday…

I agree on the politeness aspect, but I don’t so much on the lighter traffic. I work over by Penn Station and pre-September 11th, the traffic always moved smoothly, no back-ups or bunching up. After, I usually could walk between the stopped cars on 7th to get to the train. Yesterday wasn’t any better after the car-pool rule was instituted. (And I looked, I saw a few lone-guys-in-minivans waiting in the traffic) It didn’t seem like there were any fewer cars on the road at any time.

TP, recall the carpool rule doesn’t pertain to people coming in before 6, or using the TriBoro or Hudosn river crossings (GWB, Licoln). They’ve talked for millenia about tolling the East River bridges. They may now.

Let’s see if I can reply without killing the thread. :slight_smile:

Merge Cheaters. What a great name. I detest these people. They saw the same sign I did 4 blocks back. Why are they too good to wait in line with the rest? Only thing that bugs me more is the timid drivers that let them in.

I’m a big fan of waving. And eye contact. It’s one thing to not want to let me in, but why bother pretending you don’t see me? Usually the next person will wave me in. And you’d damn well better wave to be let in, or after I let you in.

Turn Signals! Use your damn turn signals! I figure if you’re not signalling, then you don’t want to change lanes. I’ve often wanted to follow someone and point out what that funny stick on the side of the steering column is.
Ok… Enough… Think someone tripped my trigger here. :smiley:

I start out polite. But can go from 0 to PO’d MF’er in 0.2 seconds. :slight_smile:

Oh lord,
Help us in our travels,

Give us the patience to endure,
Or the wisdom not to give a crap,
Deny access to those without the talents for merging,

Inhibit those who would cut us off,

Heal those who would let us in,
Admonish those who are passing on the shoulder,
Thwap upon the head those in need of a good Thwapping,
Establish your presence on our chosen path,

Teach those in need of BASIC DRIVING SKILLS!,
Rain down upon those obstructing the flow of others,
Acknowledge those who move with the rest,
Flay the skin from those who make right turns from the left lane,
Fry in hot oil those who turn left from the right,
I Don’t know what to put here,
Crap with furious anger upon those who slow for busy traffic cops,

poseted this last night on another board, about letting peopel in while merging/ I have no problem with this unless they fall into the 99.99999999% of morons around here who try and merge at 30 miles an hour under freeway speeds, usually right in front of you without a signal, and forcing all the cars behind them to try and merge as a large group of cars instead of easy one at a time.
and truckers get speacial treatment, I’ll slow and let em in or flash my lights to let em know they have room to get over.

I try to wave, but in crowded DC-area traffic I want both hands on the wheel because you can never tell when somebody’s going to do something stupid right in front of you. So most of the time I don’t wave, even though I want to.

When I let someone in, I really don’t give a flip if they wave or not. And if the letting-in is of the changing-lanes variety, rather than the out-of-a-side-street variety, I’m a lot more likely to let someone in if they’ve signalled.

I’m really big on signalling lane changes. I’m a lousy mind-reader, and I have a hard time telling the difference between the auto-body language of ‘I want to change lanes, but I’m not sure if you’ll let me in’ and ‘I think I want to change lanes - no, I really want to stick with this one - well, maybe…’ without a turn signal. And I want to get where I’m going, so if they’re pussyfooting around or being unclear, I’m gonna just move into the space that they might’ve changed lanes into. But if they signal, I’ll do my best to let them in.

That’s a roger on the color, altho’ some would say its “garnet” (remember, we used to have an orange bridge downtown, to go with the one that is still blue).

A new gesture question…
What gesture should a driver (say, me) make after realizing I’m the one who made the bonehead move? (Altho’, of course that is extremely rare, me being a paragon of good driving). I’ve thought of using a ‘shrug’ but it seems like it could be misinterpreted as “so what”. Any ideas?