Why don't drives pick the lane they want at lights?

I’ve been seeing this more and more over the last few years and I just don’t get it.

I’ll come up to a stoplight. Someone who’s already sitting at the light and up front will be in the left lane. I’ll pull up next to them in the right lane. When the light changes they take off, pull over into my lane and then turn right into the shopping center, gas station, whatever. I don’t get this, why, if you were at the light first, before anyone, didn’t they get into the lane they wanted? I can see if there’s a lot of people in the lane you want and no one in the other lane, but it’s always when very few people are around and they always want over a few feet away.

I see this almost everyday, from two lanes going straight, or two lanes making both right and left turns. Yesterday some guy was yelling at me, though I didn’t know because I thought he was on a cell phone and I couldn’t understand him very well, asking me if he could get over. You were there first buddy, you could have gotten in this lane a mile ago. I would have let him over had I known he was talking to me, but having a phone up to your ear and I’ll ignore you.

So what gives, is there something in the new books that tells people to do this? Are people that stupid thay don’t know where they want to go? Do people just want to try and race? I really don’t get it.

My guess, they changed their mind.

Because they’re idiots.

I vote ‘idiots’ as well. And they’d be the same people, I suppose, who pull up at the lights and don’t indicate they’re going to make a turn until the lights change.

I vote for “too busy talking on cellphone to notice where they are”.

Hah! Don’t ever drive in India. People go all the way from the left lane to turn right, and then get pissed off at you because you had the cheek to yell at them. Drives me batty. I vote idiots, without any hesitation.

Perhaps they see a store that they wanted to visit, and since it’s right there, and they have time to think about going they go.

I also vote idiots, with a small minority of people who genuinely made a mistake, perhaps because they are in an unfamiliar area and didn’t realize how quickly the driveway was coming up, or whatever. They are still idiots on top of that, however, for not doing the correct thing, which is driving around the block or (if traffic permits) slowing down to let the cars in the other lane pass or whatever it takes to get back on track without being a safety hazard.

If found that a lot of people driving around don’t really plan their moves ahead of time even though they live in the area and have driven that route 100 times before.
It doesn’t occur to them that “hey, there’s a lot of traffic out here and I need to be in the right lane 4 blocks up. I better get into the right lane now.”
Instead they drive with their head up their ass and make the last second “Oh! Here’s my turn!”

In my case I often move to the left lane at lights so I’m not blocking anyone from doing a right turn on red. I won’t do it if I need to turn right myself less than half a block up, but if I keep my eye on the light I can usually be off the line fast enough to move right without cutting anyone off.

Idiots. Not only does this happen at lights, but it happens at freeway entrance ramps also. There is plenty of room to get into the right lanes a block ahead, but some clowns wait until the last minute and try to push in. It’s not even that there is a big time savings for being a putz, there are usually just a couple of cars in line. So in this case there is no right turn on red issue. Actually, if a lot of cars at an intersection traditionally turn right, even on green, being left and moving into the now empty right lane after the interesection makes sense.

I can only conclude that these people are allergic to the right lane.

Yeah, my mom’s husband does this. I can’t stand it. And then, when if after he’s realized at the last second he needs to change lanes, he gets all ticked off if someone won’t immediately let him in. :rolleyes: Thankfully, my mom usually grabs the keys now.

I think “idiots” is a bit too harsh a term. I would consider an idiot someone who, at the light starts off in the left lane, jets out to get over to the right lane, but then jets back across the lanes to get to the left lane again because they changed their mind.

For me, and I’ve thought about this a lot - more than one should, I would guess - the more appropriate term is “selfish”. For whatever reason, I think that driving brings out the most selfish behavior in people. Be it running red lights, blabbing on the cell phone, or these stupid lane changes that could have been done ahead of time - people’s attitude is “I need to do <fill in blank>” with no consideration for how this will effect others on the road: selfishness. “Inconsiderate” as well, but that stems from selfishness.

The classic case is running a red light (catching the end of a light). To shave off seconds from their drive, they will add seconds to ALL the other cars waiting to go the cross direction: selfish (my seconds are more important than all your seconds combined).

I don’t think these people are being selfish, or being idiots. I think they are just generally “unaware” and checked out mentually while they are driving. They go most places on autopilot, and navigate by the sight of the bumper of the car in front of them. They don’t look around, they don’t have both hands on the steering wheel, and they don’t really think about where they are or where they are going. They are thinking about something else, or talking on the phone, or whatever.

Then, when they get to where they need to be, they snap awake, asnd start to process their enviornment. That’s when they realize that they ned to be four lanes to the right of where they are.

Think of the last time you were out driving and when you got to your destination, realized that you did not remember much about the process of getting there. That’s the mental state these people are in. It’s not that they are dumb, just preoccupied thinking about something else.

I find that doing certain things, like driving a stick-shift car and trying to always keep both hands on the wheel helps in aiding concentration. The more involvement you have with driving, the more you pay attention to it. But driving around in an air-conditioned, quiet, auto tranny sensory deprivation chamber is not a good way to encourage attentiveness.

To add to my post, I think this is why people do most of the things other drivers consider “rude”. They are not trying to be rude, they just aren’t very mentally involved with what they are doing. They change lanes without thinking too much about it, or using their turn signals. They don’t check their rearview mirror very often, if at all, so they don’t notice the queue of cars behind them in the left lane. They’re not necessarily aware that light ahead of them has turned red, because the last time they looked it was green, and the car ahead of them went through, so they run the light.

We’ve had other threads about the “wave” when someone lets you in, and complaints that many others don’t do it. Those people don’t wave because they aren’t involved enough to realize that someone let them into a spot, they look, see no spot. Then, a spot appears. The merge, and go back to thinking about what to make for dinner, never realizeing that someone did them a favor.

Simple inattentiveness, I believe, is the cause of most of the difficulties we have on the roads, and the leading cause of all of us feeling that every other driver is a selfish asshole, while no one thinks of themselves as selfish or an asshole.

Yep. That’s me. Who knew I was pissing so many people off by trying not to piss people off? :wink:

I’m the petty mofo who, when I see a person stopped at a red in the right hand lane and blocking other cars from turning right on red, will watch that person after the light changes, to see if he/she gets a “pass” because of a need to turn right soon after passing through the intersection. If the person keeps on sailing for more than another block or so, I shake my head and “tsk”. That’ll show 'em.

Just yesterday I was ranting to myself in my car over idiot drivers.

WTF happens to people I assume are normally of average intelligence when they get behind a steering wheel is beyond me.

I though, will admit to this practice in usually only one situation. If I’ve been following someone in a single lane who is deemed too slow IMO I will use the additional lane when it appears. Then, since I wanted to be in the slow-pokes lane I will use my signal and slide in front of them. There are lots of people who drive too slow due to too many damn reasons to number.

I was in the FAST LANE yesterday following a woman going 58 mph. Gabbing on her phone. Speed limit is 70. Holding up at least twenty cars in speedy traffic. This practice infuriates me. Number one, you’re supposed to remove yourself from the fast lane if someone wants to go faster than you, and Number two, who the heck goes less than 60 in the fast lane of a freeway with FIVE lanes? God I wish there was some way to make these idiots pay attention to the road and their fellow drivers.

I’ve done that. But the difference is, I don’t cut in front of people like I’m the Emperor of America. When I realize I need to get over, I signnal, look, and drop back behind people if at all possible – if not, I indicate with hands and facial expressions that I’m sorry.

That’s how I behave, and that’s what I look for when I distinguish between inattentive drivers and selfish assholes.


To answer the OP:
Well, sometimes when I’m on my cell phone, I’m not really paying much attention to the road. Then, when I’m stopped at the light, I notice that my turn is just ahead, so I gun it off the line, and cut in front of you. That’s only when I notice you’re there. Other times I won’t bother looking to see if there’s a car next to me (it’s a bit inconvenient, because my Hummer is so high up, I really have to crane my neck to see into the next lane), and will just immediately start over to the right, forcing you to swerve, jam on your breaks and lean on the horn.

Heh. I can hear the spittle hitting the screen from the people being whooshed.