Pages

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Long Line Of Cars

Dear Northern VA (and DC for good measure) Drivers:

PLEASE LEARN HOW TO MERGE!

The next time I am stuck in merging traffic at 12:30am when I need to BE at work in less than 8 hours and am still 45 minutes from home, I am not going to be as nice as I was last night. I was the definition of a perfect driver* while in traffic in hopes of being the catalyst to get things moving smoothly. The way I see it, most merging problems can be deduced to one thing: improper following distance.

1. Leaving more than enough room between you and the car in front of you will reduce the likelihood of fender benders (which, of course, cause even more backups!) I keep, on average, 2-3 car lengths between myself and the vehicle in front of me and never have to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting someone. Yes, there are times I am closer to the next car, but that is usually when going a whopping 0mph.

2. By leaving a larger space in between you and the next car, lanes can merge more easily. Nothing angers me more than a line of cars at the end of a lane with their blinkers on and noone letting them in. Yes, they should have merged earlier, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt that they lack brain cells and just let them in the moving lanes of traffic.

3. Just.Let.The.Trucks.Merge. I know they're big and long and you can't see what's going on when they are in front of you, but they need to merge, too. And oftentimes, because their pickup speed is so slow, they are good for creating those gaps for you to slip over into when merging.

4. When you know it's three lanes merging into one and you've been sitting there for over 30 minutes in the middle of the night, please, for the love of Pete, take advantage of gaps in the traffic. For the life of me I can not understand why people will not take advantage of an obvious spaces I have left for them in the moving lanes.

5. Do not drive on the side of the road to escape the traffic unless you are a) giving birth, b) bleeding profusely, or c) going to run out of gas (I only add that one in because it's something I would be likely to do...but I still wouldn't BREAK THE LAW and drive on the shoulder.) Notice that I did not include "riding a motorcycle." Harley riders, stay in line. People who drive on the shoulders to escape traffic will either be caught by cops or Satan. Plus, every law-abiding driver hates you.

5. And most importantly, do not be in denial about having to merge. If the sign says, "Lanes Closed, Merge Right," they aren't joking and you need to, you know, MERGE TO THE RIGHT! Last night I was convinced some cars were being driven by cattle as the only thing that got them to alter their direction were bright orange cones literally forcing them into the next lane. Personally, I am smarter than a cow and do not need to be "herded" into the next lane. I did so myself soon after seeing the dreaded "Merge" sign.




*Except for checking my email on my phone, but hey, when you're going 0mph, I think it's ok.

14 comments:

Unknown said...

You are SO much nicer than me, especially at that time of night. Even when I hit that same patch during the day on Monday, I was swearing.

Miss Scarlet said...

Oh, I was swearing all right! I had my windows down yelling at people to "GET THE f*&# OVER!!!!!" It was ridiculous.

dara said...

Ugh. This reminds me why I hate driving. I live 4 miles from my office. But to drive here, I have to merge onto 395 at the Pentagon/14th St. Bridge. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to go the 4 miles.

Although, nothing is as bad as driving south to Miami in morning rush hour.

CBK said...

Who's Pete?

minijonb said...

this reminds me of the first line from Less Than Zero by Bret Eastin Ellis:

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."

Miss Scarlet said...

Dara- I just don't understand how people don't have common sense about things.

CBK- not God.

Minijonb- I haven't read that, is it good?

Anonymous said...

Living in Charlotte, I have now encountered the complete opposite problem. People around here are SUPER nice while driving. Not very many of them speed, and everyone is more than willing to let people over when necessary. There is A LOT of traffic around here, but it really isn't that bad because everyone understands there will be traffic and no one really freaks out about it.

Now, having said that, let me add that sometimes generosity when driving can go a little too far. It is customary to allow one car to merge in front of you in heavy traffic. Letting 27 cars in just pisses off the people behind you.

Miss Scarlet said...

Cindy- First of all, your icon picture is HILARIOUS. Now, I always let at least one person in in front of me, but if people piss ME off then I let more than one in:)

minijonb said...

scarlet: first off, i made a little typo there. it's Bret Easton Ellis. anyway, Less Than Zero was the most interesting, dull and frightening (yes, all 3 of those at the same time) book i read while i was in high school. i can recommend other books to read first, but it's worth checking out.

dara said...

I'll ditto the Bret Easton Ellis recommendation. Two of his other books -- Rules of Attraction and American Psycho are just as good.

Anonymous said...

Glad you like the icon...Now that SYTYCD is over I'm going to have to find another obsession...maybe James from Big Brother...

Miss Scarlet said...

Cindy! You need to watch Laguna!!!!!

Sparklebot said...

I gave up my road rage when I sold my car--but, I revive it occasionally when I zipcar ;)

You're right, though. People are retarded.

Ant said...

Wow - I love it when you get all authoritative... :o)