Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Road Rules Rant

Occasionally, try-as-I-might, I cannot get over how asinine some drivers can be! Now, before I begin, I can hear my detractors (and you now who you are) saying: "Don, other drivers probably think the same of you." And I say let them! I at least can rest assured that I occupy the moral (and in some cases the legal) high ground.

My first rant, of the morning, I want to point-out that this sign is not a stop sign. (Those look like a big red octagon – that eight-sided, four-lettered thing!) There is no reason that this sign (seen in the acceleration lane accessing C470) means that your (the right-hand) lane is about to end and you will have to merge into the traffic on your left. It does not mean that you should meander down the lane at 20 MPH until the point where that car behind you can almost (but not quite) actually merge into the traffic stream.

When you came to a complete stop leaving me a good three inches to spare that I could clear you and the traffic barrier, I took the chance, squeezed around you and used the acceleration lane for its intended purpose, accelerating and merging into the highway traffic. You disappeared from my sight a mile later when I crested the next hill.

And speaking of merging, this sign means the exact opposite of the last sign. This sign means that the left-hand lane will soon end and that traffic should merge into the right-hand lane. It does not (as the tosser who tried to run me off the road yesterday seemed to think) mean that the larger vehicle has the right to do whatever it wants.

These signs appear all over Denver on the entry ramps to the interstate and C470 and US6. The problem is that there are so many people who (being charitable I will say) don't know or (being realistic here I say) don't care what the sign means. (Or perhaps, they just think that the world and the traffic patterns revolve around them.)

Here's the scoop, you tosser! When you see this sign, it means that you may have to move to the right. If you are alone on the road, this should be no problem (and the use of that blinkie light on your vehicle will be optional – though I would recommend you use it anyway, just to stay in the habit.) if there is a car in the lane to the right of you – like that pretty little blue Honda Civic Hybrid, you will have to know how to merge. Merging means that he (that nice man in the Honda) has the right of way. (Oh, and those little dots to the rear-right of the merging vehicle indicates that the car is using its turn indicators - those blinking lights that you some times see when cars are changing lanes or turning. I suggest you consult to car's owners manual on their use.)

This means that if you accelerate to match speed with him, you'll have to stop. He does not have to stop to let you in. (Though, I know that he is a nice guy and if you had started out in front of him and stayed in front of him that he would slow to increate the already adequate room in front of your car.) But an abortive attempt to pass – or more sinisterly a deliberate attempt to make him stop to let you in, starting out behind him and then matching his progress 'til your lane ends, is neither smart nor likely to work. You see, he had really good insurance and is in the right anyway!

Wherever you are today, I hope your lane is clear and your can merge into the day seamlessly.

Don Bergquist – March 26, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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