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Talkin’ Clovers with NPR!

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  1. Hi – I listened to your segment on NPR today (WBEZ-Chicago) and I wanted to hear your thoughts regarding the merge issue that was discussed today. My husband and I would have done really well on a survey of those common driving no-nos except for the merge. My question would be what is the optimal point to merge? If the signs first appear a mile or two out,it starts to backup the traffic pretty fast if everyone starts moving say to the right and here you have a lane that is wasted just in anticipation of the closure. But I will inform my spouse so we can avoid irritating people in the future! I just figure there has to be a happy medium somewhere…

    • Hi Pat,

      The difficulty lies in this: Most people have to be on the same page. It can be frustrating to try to merge – safely, correctly – when others are practicing unsafe, incorrect (and rude) driving tactics; the obvious example being using their car to prevent others from merging, deliberately closing gaps and so on.

      That said, here’s what I do:

      Maintain a speed that’s approximately the same or slightly faster than the general flow of traffic. When the opportunity to merge (i.e., a sufficient gap) presents itself, smartly (quickly) signal, accelerate (if necessary) and merge.

      Problems occur when people are passive.

      When, for instance, they slow down, turn their signal on – and basically wait for someone to “let them in.” This causes bunch ups, slows the flow down. It also puts the cart before the proverbial horse. It is the merger’s responsibility to merge – as opposed to expecting traffic to accommodate the merger.

      That’s my 50 cents, anyhow!

      Hope you enjoyed the interview – and thanks for visiting EPautos!

  2. Illinois passed a law years ago to make left lane blocking on limited access highways explicitly illegal and has never enforced it in any meaningful way. Indiana drivers continue to be over represented as left lane blockers.


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