Terminally stupid, or just a jerk? (Driving rant)

Okay, this happened on a stretch of highway that’s been under construction for-fucking-ever, so the signs I am about to describe have been around for awhile.

First, a sign appears warning there is construction ahead. The next sign says LANE CLOSURE AHEAD followed closely by another sign: USE BOTH LANES TO MERGE POINT.

I think the average driver, seeing this, will assume this means “Don’t merge yet; use both lanes until we tell you not to.”

So, the terminally stupid (or perhaps jerkish) driver, shortly after the first sign, begins to ride the center line of the two lanes. Yes, he is using both lanes, as the sign said. He’s also clogging up two lanes of traffic!

Naturally he couldn’t be in a Mini Cooper, oh no. He’s driving a king cab truck, which is pulling a flatbed trailer upon which are two ATVs. (This, I admit, prejudices me into thinking he’s a jerk rather than just stupid, although he could be both.)

He proceeds, blocking two lanes, apparently not realizing that, of all the cars on this stretch of the highway, not one other driver has interpreted the sign the way he did.

I wonder what the hell he made of the next sign, which said: MERGE HERE TAKE TURNS. [ETA: the centerline upon which he was oh-so-meticulously keeping under the center of his vehicle disappeared and the two lines became one, so I guess he thought he’d merged]

I have heard that one should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. I wonder what this guy would do with the sign at the emissions place that tells you to FORM SIX LANES ? I am all for splitting him into six parts, myself. --HNS, maliciously

What can I say to this?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with folk with heavy automatic weapons, I just question sometimes why they are not about in such situations as yours?

One of life’s mysteries, I guess.

I’ve never driven a big rig, but I used to drive some pretty honkin’ big dump trucks while working construction/landscaping jobs in high school and college. From my experience, if you’re driving something that’s huge, unwieldy, doesn’t have great side/rear vision, and tends to not engender great patience in other drivers, you make your traffic moves a lot earlier than other drivers would.

In your car, you have a much better ability to slwo down/speed up to match traffic in order to merge. You don’t have to worry about some guy in a Miata driving next to you, because you can look over and see him. Flat-bed trucker guy doesn’t know if that is going to be the case when the merge becomes mandatory, and so will take the earliest opportunity to do so. Is it convenient for everyoen else on the road? No. Is it safer, yes. Pick which attitude you want CDL drivers to operate with.

For safety, he ws probably erring on caution’s side. . as Diomedes said.

Still, it’s annoying for us little car drivers.

A funny: my son ws home from Iraq for a week in June. He has been driving a 30 ton transport truck from Fallujiah to Baghdad and back. He and his wife were traveling… she said, Um, Honey … *why are you driving in the middle of the road ?? * Heh.

OH, he says, I forgot where I ws … over there we drive where we want to !


I don’t think the problem was with him merging early. The problem was that he was driving in both lanes at the same time - that’s not merging, it’s idiocy!

I don’t think he had safety on his mind. There were people who went onto the shoulder to get around him, for instance.

Did I forget to mention that he was taking up two lanes? And (until there was only one lane, about three-quarters of a mile) there were only two lanes? For a couple hundred cars in rush hour traffic?

He was taking up two lanes, sure, but there wasabout to be only one lane, right? Maybe he was unfamiliar with the area, and didn’t know it was going to be 3/4 of a mile until the merge. Yes, it’s annoying when you’re dealing with it, and especially when it’s at a bad time, but it doesn’t mean this guy was necessarily being an ass, he was just being overly conservative. I still think that’s better than him worrying about not pissing off other drivers, and rolling that trailer over someone’s hood.

I think it was two sets of good intentions conflicting.

Everybody’s been through construction zones where some drivers merge early, and then others stay in the lane right up to the cones and gain positions. I’ve seen drivers in big trucks who take matters into their own hands and take up both lanes to freeze everyone behind them in their original order. I suspect that’s what this guy was trying to do. And as long as the truck stays close to the car in front of him, he’s not really delaying anyone.

Only trouble was, the “use two lanes to merge point” signs accomplish the same thing (if people follow them).

Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity. In his (slight) defense, the sign was a bit ambiguous. I could see it being interpreted to mean “drive down the middle taking up both lanes.”

Having been down this highway before, I in fact said as much. But I said this in a humorous vein.

The thing is, this guy was NOT, as some people seem to think, a professional driver. He had a flatbed truck with two ATVs on it, meaning he’s going out into the mountains to play on his own ATVs. I have never seen a professional driver so oblivious to driving conditions.

Y’know, look around, did any of the other hundreds of cars interpret the sign to mean “Occupy both lanes simultaneously”? No, they did not.

No, nothing wrong with folk with heavy automatic weapons, but their application in this situation wouldn’t solve the problem, I think. Raking the truck would startle, and/or kill the driver, he’d jack-knife and rollover, and cause more delay with truck, ATVs and flatbed all over the road, than he was just straddling the centerline.

Now, if you use the threat of automatic weapons to pull the guy over and give an impromptu driving lesson… you’ve got more cojones than me.

Robot Arm has it right. This has been a bone of contention, among truckers, for a long time. I take the position of using all lanes up to the designated merge point, what’s the point of merging early? If traffic is so heavy, as to cause a backup, it matters little where the vehicles merge, but you’ll find as many drivers who see it the other way, although I’ve yet to hear a logical argument to support merging early. I also know of several truckers who have been ticketed for blocking lanes, as described in the OP. One contributing factor in this is advanced warning. Truckers have used the CB to alert each other for decades. Then you have reader boards appearing in the last decade or so, and maybe traffic reports over local radio stations. All these tend to inspire drivers to jockey for position before they even see the signage.
Along the same vein are those drivers who merge early when entering a freeway from an onramp. Instead of proceeding to the merge point at the end of the ramp, they cross the painted white line and merge early, often stopping to do so, causing traffic to back up on the ramp. Neither of these practices makes any sense to me.

You’re absolutely right: I just read ‘flatbed’ and thought pro driver.

I still would guess the guy’s an idiot, and not a jerk. Until he gets out of the pick-up and into one of the ATVs. Then he’s a jerk.

Part of the problem with using both lanes up to the merge point in the United States is that this only works well when the lanes alternate one for one.

Unfortunately, many drivers in the US are selfish and will not allow anyone to merge in front of them. So being in the ‘other’ lane can become frustrating.