Author Topic: Am I the Asshole?  (Read 1681 times)

friedmmj

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Am I the Asshole?
« on: October 15, 2020, 09:11:54 PM »
Sorry for the clickbaity title for this thread.

So, I drive fairly conservatively most of the time.  I like to use my carís adaptive cruise control on the highway whenever practical.  I typically drive around 3-5 mph above the speed limit.  On a highway like the NJ turnpike, approximately 70% of the cars are driving faster than me so I try to stay in the right lane whenever possible.

The point of this post is to ask for your opinion about the behavior of drivers merging onto the highway from the right entrance ramps.  Is it wrong of me to expect them to yield?  Because I donít think itís my responsibility to take myself off of cruise control to give them the space to merge into the lane with no role in adjusting their speed to secure a safe opening into the lane.  The exception would be a congested traffic flow where they donít have an easy option to yield by slowing down without backing up other cars behind them on the entrance ramp.

My beef with these drivers is they just assume I will slow down sufficiently to allow them to merge onto the road with no adjustment of their desired speed.  Isnít it their duty to yield and shouldnít I have the option to keep my speed at a constant rate in the right lane?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 09:13:28 PM by friedmmj »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 09:17:53 PM »
My understanding is that cars entering the freeway are to use that lane/ramp to get up to speed to merge into the existing flow of traffic without causing the flow to be impeded. So no you technically should not be having to yield unless it's because the flow is so slow that you're forced to zipper merge as you mentioned (congestion).

But people are stupid regarding how things should work (especially concerning traffic/driving) so you do what you gotta do to avoid accidents. But still: NTA.

Granted, I'm not an expert in transportation, and I live in a completely different area with possibly different laws/driving patterns so I'm going to refer you and others to my sig line in the event I am told I'm wrong. :)

friedmmj

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 09:24:33 PM »
My understanding is that cars entering the freeway are to use that lane/ramp to get up to speed to merge into the existing flow of traffic without causing the flow to be impeded. So no you technically should not be having to yield unless it's because the flow is so slow that you're forced to zipper merge as you mentioned (congestion).

But people are stupid regarding how things should work (especially concerning traffic/driving) so you do what you gotta do to avoid accidents. But still: NTA.

Granted, I'm not an expert in transportation, and I live in a completely different area with possibly different laws/driving patterns so I'm going to refer you and others to my sig line in the event I am told I'm wrong. :)

Agree and of course I do slow down begrudgingly for these people but it really irritates me and got me wondering who is the asshole in this scenario.  I mean the counter argument these people would offer is that I should simply be courteous and slow down sufficiently to allow them to easily attain a care free entrance onto the highway.

Love that sig btw!

tawyer

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 10:12:03 PM »
Looks like at least one New Jersey law firm is on your side: https://www.lynchlawyers.com/blog/liability-for-merging-accidents/

>> When merging, always yield to vehicles that are traveling on the main roadway.


MilesTeg

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2020, 01:24:52 AM »
Sorry for the clickbaity title for this thread.

So, I drive fairly conservatively most of the time.  I like to use my carís adaptive cruise control on the highway whenever practical.  I typically drive around 3-5 mph above the speed limit.  On a highway like the NJ turnpike, approximately 70% of the cars are driving faster than me so I try to stay in the right lane whenever possible.

The point of this post is to ask for your opinion about the behavior of drivers merging onto the highway from the right entrance ramps.  Is it wrong of me to expect them to yield?  Because I donít think itís my responsibility to take myself off of cruise control to give them the space to merge into the lane with no role in adjusting their speed to secure a safe opening into the lane.  The exception would be a congested traffic flow where they donít have an easy option to yield by slowing down without backing up other cars behind them on the entrance ramp.

My beef with these drivers is they just assume I will slow down sufficiently to allow them to merge onto the road with no adjustment of their desired speed.  Isnít it their duty to yield and shouldnít I have the option to keep my speed at a constant rate in the right lane?

The law says the person merging has the duty to yield, which on this case means accelerating to the speed of the roadway and safely merging.

Common sense and self preservation says you can't just assume people will do this.

A pet peeve of mine is people who stupidly attempt to merge well below speed trying to be 'hypermilers'. Dangerous and wastes more gas than it saves after you consider the interruption in traffic flow.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 01:45:17 AM »
It's often easier and safer for the driver on the highway to slow down because you have the better view of the road (you see the joining driver in front, they see you in a rear mirror) and it is easier to slow down slightly than increase your acceleration if you are already flooring it to get up to highway speed. If I'm going over the speed limit, even by a couple of mph, I consider it decent to yield if there is a chance that my excess speed will inconvenience someone else.  IMO cruise control is an aid to driving, it doesn't absolve me of the expectation of slowing slightly when merging traffic is ahead (as I'd do naturally if when driving without CC), or give me the right to inconvenience other drivers.

I yield because it reduces my chances of being involved in an accident and makes someone else's day a little easier. The cost of coming off cruise control seems rather minor compared to the benefits I'm getting.

You aren't the asshole, but neither is someone looking for a little help to join at the speed limit.

Leisured

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2020, 04:35:31 AM »
I agree with Playing With Fire, Reply 5. In Australia we drive on the left, so merging traffic comes in from the left. I usually move to a right hand lane so that merging traffic can more easily merge. There is a word for it: courtesy. As traffic authorities say: you are not entitled to have an accident. Just being in the right is not enough.

friedmmj

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2020, 05:43:19 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I do extend the courtesy to these merging drivers in most instances.  I guess itís more of a rant that I find it annoying that they usually just assume I will do that and make no effort to modulate their speed to actually yield when necessary.  Itís like people donít understand the concept of yielding at all.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 06:50:34 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I do extend the courtesy to these merging drivers in most instances.  I guess itís more of a rant that I find it annoying that they usually just assume I will do that and make no effort to modulate their speed to actually yield when necessary.  Itís like people donít understand the concept of yielding at all.

I agree that it is annoying. Would it help if you chose to believe that all the assholes are actually brand-new drivers doing their best or people having a shitty day who aren't focusing on the road properly because their world is falling apart?

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2020, 07:03:31 AM »
You aren't really the asshole, and the law would be on your side in an accident, but you should know better than to cruise in the right lane on a NJ highway. It's busy- people are constantly merging on and off. I grew up in NJ and would never do this. Drive a lane over and stop getting in everyone's way.

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 07:08:41 AM »
The problem is likely the shape of your vehicle.  It's likely all friendly and rounded looking.  Install a large cow-catcher at the front of your vehicle, and some spikes.  The expectation that you yield will likely diminish.


bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 07:16:34 AM »
^ This is an accurate portrayal of daily traffic on the Turnpike.

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 07:27:27 AM »
^ This is an accurate portrayal of daily traffic on the Turnpike.

You guys have steering wheels on the right?  :P

Secret Stache

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2020, 07:35:01 AM »
I hate that as well.  Especially the part where they finally decide to check their mirrors as the merge lane is ending and finally see you, then brake because they are startled which is the opposite of what one should do when merging.

Greystache

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2020, 08:30:38 AM »
I agree that traffic attempting to merge has the responsibility to accelerate to highway speed. However, you need to recognize that this is not always possible. Sometimes the ramps are just too short for trucks and under-powered vehicles to get up to speed.  Some of the older freeways in LA have stupid short ramps. 
I have also experienced the opposite problem. The freeway is jammed and you need to weave onto the shared exit /on ramp that is moving much faster.

PoutineLover

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2020, 08:46:00 AM »
Whenever there isn't much traffic and it's safe for me to do so, I'll just move over a lane so they have more room, and then go back after. If it's very busy and that would be inconvenient or dangerous, I'll judge the distance and either speed up to get ahead or slow down so they have room. I like being on cruise too, but it's not a huge deal to turn it on and off. It also depends how long the merge lane is, sometimes there isn't room for the merging car to get up to speed. I try to be accommodating on the road whenever I can, because that's the kind of driver I like to see. Obviously there are a lot of asshole drivers and bad drivers, but escalating the situation or forcing them to make dangerous calls rarely helps the flow of traffic.

partgypsy

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2020, 09:40:02 AM »
I think the law is on your side that said I am not a very experienced driver and sincerely appreciate it when I am merging into a highway, people making allowances to merge safety. If I'm merging and I miss that pocket I'm aiming for because the person is going too fast it becomes more and more difficult to merge safely, because at some point you run out of that merge lane.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 09:57:59 AM by partgypsy »

maizefolk

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2020, 09:49:33 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I do extend the courtesy to these merging drivers in most instances.  I guess itís more of a rant that I find it annoying that they usually just assume I will do that and make no effort to modulate their speed to actually yield when necessary.  Itís like people donít understand the concept of yielding at all.

I agree that it is annoying. Would it help if you chose to believe that all the assholes are actually brand-new drivers doing their best or people having a shitty day who aren't focusing on the road properly because their world is falling apart?

Good advice. Both with merging and with most other otherwise frustrating things one runs into when driving.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2020, 09:53:00 AM »
It's technically correct that the drivers merging onto the highway must yield to those on the highway.  But it is common courtesy to anticipate the timing of merging drivers to move over or modulate speed when it is necessary.  I would guess that when someone is using the technicalities of the law and not extending common courtesy, that would come off asshole-ish on the road.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 10:05:52 AM by v8rx7guy »

JLee

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2020, 09:54:38 AM »
I try to change lanes if there is merging traffic - it just makes everything better.

Samuel

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2020, 10:53:45 AM »
It's technically correct that the drivers merging onto the highway must yield to those on the highway.  But it is common courtesy to anticipate the timing of merging drivers to move over or modulate speed when it is necessary.  I would guess that when someone is using the technicalities of the law and not extending common courtesy, that would come off asshole-ish on the road.

+1


RWD

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2020, 12:22:13 PM »
It's technically correct that the drivers merging onto the highway must yield to those on the highway.  But it is common courtesy to anticipate the timing of merging drivers to move over or modulate speed when it is necessary.  I would guess that when someone is using the technicalities of the law and not extending common courtesy, that would come off asshole-ish on the road.

+1

+2

Ishmael

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2020, 12:47:13 PM »
Different country, so I'm not sure legally. However, in the driver's education course I took a long time ago, it was stressed that you should always try to adjust to the flow of traffic, and leave plenty of space around yourself. That would include attempting to create opportunities for others to shift lanes, merge into traffic, etc.

As the instructor so eloquently put it whenever someone would ask a question like this - "Great - we can write on your gravestone that it wasn't your fault."

I'd suggest that the question isn't the correct one; IMO it doesn't really matter who has the right, but what is the safest action for you to take - and based on my understanding of what you wrote, I think you should be trying to adjust your speed and create safe openings for drivers wanting to merge.

PDXTabs

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2020, 01:18:49 PM »
In OR the law says that the non-merging driver has right-of-way but the drivers manual says that "[d]rivers on the through lane have the right of way, but drivers in both lanes are responsible for merging smoothly" which seems like common sense and defensive driving. I've absolutely been in vehicles that couldn't get up to speed in time to merge. Some trucks still have speed governors.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2020, 01:52:50 AM »
As the instructor so eloquently put it whenever someone would ask a question like this - "Great - we can write on your gravestone that it wasn't your fault."

I like this.

Sibley

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2020, 07:15:58 PM »
As the instructor so eloquently put it whenever someone would ask a question like this - "Great - we can write on your gravestone that it wasn't your fault."

I like this.

I have one friend who's so focused on who's "right" that she's had approximately 3 accidents involving other vehicles. Each of these was easily avoidable, except that she had right of way so didn't hit the brakes or gas or change lanes in a hurry, and thus got hit.

OP - you may be technically correct, but you're not functionally correct. And these people are probably terrible drivers.

jinga nation

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2020, 07:09:21 AM »
Sorry for the clickbaity title for this thread.

So, I drive fairly conservatively most of the time.  I like to use my carís adaptive cruise control on the highway whenever practical.  I typically drive around 3-5 mph above the speed limit.  On a highway like the NJ turnpike, approximately 70% of the cars are driving faster than me so I try to stay in the right lane whenever possible.

The point of this post is to ask for your opinion about the behavior of drivers merging onto the highway from the right entrance ramps.  Is it wrong of me to expect them to yield?  Because I donít think itís my responsibility to take myself off of cruise control to give them the space to merge into the lane with no role in adjusting their speed to secure a safe opening into the lane.  The exception would be a congested traffic flow where they donít have an easy option to yield by slowing down without backing up other cars behind them on the entrance ramp.

My beef with these drivers is they just assume I will slow down sufficiently to allow them to merge onto the road with no adjustment of their desired speed.  Isnít it their duty to yield and shouldnít I have the option to keep my speed at a constant rate in the right lane?

Move to Massachusetts. You'll be surrounded by Massholes. You won't be the asshole. Or even if you think you are, you'll be surrounded by bigger ones. They'll tail you even if you're doing 80 in a 65 zone. And they'll tail you in the right-hand lane. As a now-Floridian who's lived in MA, I don't miss the daily commute with the crazy drivers up there, who won't second guess to pass you on the right shoulder. You could say I'm stereotyping, but I'm not.

Malcat

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2020, 07:30:30 AM »
Sorry for the clickbaity title for this thread.

So, I drive fairly conservatively most of the time.  I like to use my carís adaptive cruise control on the highway whenever practical.  I typically drive around 3-5 mph above the speed limit.  On a highway like the NJ turnpike, approximately 70% of the cars are driving faster than me so I try to stay in the right lane whenever possible.

The point of this post is to ask for your opinion about the behavior of drivers merging onto the highway from the right entrance ramps.  Is it wrong of me to expect them to yield?  Because I donít think itís my responsibility to take myself off of cruise control to give them the space to merge into the lane with no role in adjusting their speed to secure a safe opening into the lane.  The exception would be a congested traffic flow where they donít have an easy option to yield by slowing down without backing up other cars behind them on the entrance ramp.

My beef with these drivers is they just assume I will slow down sufficiently to allow them to merge onto the road with no adjustment of their desired speed.  Isnít it their duty to yield and shouldnít I have the option to keep my speed at a constant rate in the right lane?

Move to Massachusetts. You'll be surrounded by Massholes. You won't be the asshole. Or even if you think you are, you'll be surrounded by bigger ones. They'll tail you even if you're doing 80 in a 65 zone. And they'll tail you in the right-hand lane. As a now-Floridian who's lived in MA, I don't miss the daily commute with the crazy drivers up there, who won't second guess to pass you on the right shoulder. You could say I'm stereotyping, but I'm not.

Lol, I drove near Boston, just one time, and swore I would never drive there again. I thought Montreal was bad, and yes, it really is, but wow...yeah, Massholes sounds accurate.

Plus none of the motorcyclists had helmets, surrounded by maniacs, and doing nearly 100, and no helmets.
Well...I guess under those conditions, if you crash, you die, so what's a helmet really going to do??

researcher1

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2020, 08:03:29 AM »
I try to stay in the right lane whenever possible.
Is it wrong of me to expect them to yield?  Because I donít think itís my responsibility to take myself off of cruise control to give them the space to merge into the lane with no role in adjusting their speed to secure a safe opening into the lane. 
Yes, you are likely an asshole.

If you're driving in the far right lane and see someone merging, you should move over a lane, and let them freely merge.
If that is not an option, then you should increase/decrease your speed slightly to allow the other vehicle to merge.

DadJokes

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2020, 08:32:16 AM »
As the instructor so eloquently put it whenever someone would ask a question like this - "Great - we can write on your gravestone that it wasn't your fault."

I like this.

+1

After years of riding a motorcycle, I've learned a lot about which battles to fight on the road (the answer is almost none of them).

As for the specific scenario, I move left if the lane is open. If I can't move left, I speed up to get in front of the merging traffic. If that's not an option, then I accept that I'm going to have to slow down.

bigblock440

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2020, 08:47:03 AM »
It depends.  I'll move over if there's room and I'd affect their merge otherwise, but if there's not, then it's their responsibility to match the speed.  When I merge, I don't expect anyone to get out of the way or have to alter their driving in any way, so right of way takes precedence IMO.  It does depend a bit on the ramp and vehicle in question though.  Nice long ramp and somebody dawdling?  They've got plenty of time to figure it out.  Way too short of a ramp and/or big truck/trailer?  I judge where I'll be at the merge point and speed up/slow down to make sure I'm not going to be where they are.

GreenToTheCore

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2020, 05:59:11 PM »
It depends.  I'll move over if there's room and I'd affect their merge otherwise, but if there's not, then it's their responsibility to match the speed.  When I merge, I don't expect anyone to get out of the way or have to alter their driving in any way, so right of way takes precedence IMO.  It does depend a bit on the ramp and vehicle in question though.  Nice long ramp and somebody dawdling?  They've got plenty of time to figure it out.  Way too short of a ramp and/or big truck/trailer?  I judge where I'll be at the merge point and speed up/slow down to make sure I'm not going to be where they are.

Nicely explained. I concur.

intellectsucks

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #32 on: Today at 11:55:41 AM »
When driving it's important to remember there are "the rules" and then there is the real world.  It's often more beneficial to defer to the most common situations than to dogmatically insist on adhering to "the rules".  The situation you described is one where according to the rules the merging traffic should yield to the flowing traffic, so you're not REALLY an asshole.  That said, if I'm driving in the right lane approaching an onramp, I will always move to the left lane to make room for the merging traffic (assuming I can safely do so) even if it means adjusting or losing my cruise control temporarily and I consider drivers who don't extremely mild dicks.  Merging into flowing traffic is much more difficult and dangerous than shifting lanes at speed, so I consider it common courtesy to defer the right of way to those doing so, even if I have to suffer the inconvenience of getting back to my original speed and pushing a button.

simonsez

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #33 on: Today at 02:00:25 PM »
One problem I've noticed is that those merging are often looking straight ahead when for those in between situations, they absolutely better be stepping on it or yielding while looking (or at least aware of what is happening) over their shoulder. 

This past weekend I was driving home eastbound on I-70 in Central Missouri on a four lane stretch (should really be 6 lanes from KC to Columbus) and several cars were passing a couple semis on the left while driving slightly uphill and the front semi had nowhere to go as a car was putzing along while merging.  I was maybe a quarter mile behind the semi and could see it unfolding and thought "Hmm, that car merging better get on it."  They didn't and jerked the car at the last second to the right and slipped off the shoulder.  Luckily the angle of the ditch wasn't too bad, there wasn't a guardrail, and they recovered enough to be on the frontage road (that had no one on it).  Could've been an easy death or two if they hadn't realized at the last second they couldn't squeeze in.

Sometimes I wonder if people simply can't crane their neck or don't use mirrors properly.  It's much easier to drive when it's all in front of you but checking blind spots and merging is trickier.

Was the front semi driver an asshole?  No, had he or she slammed on his breaks or veered over, it would've been a sure multi-vehicle collision as the driver likely couldn't accelerate too much with a low grade hill.

If you can get over while someone is merging, better to be overly courteous than engage with potentially clueless drivers merging.  Or in the least, use the horn.  Americans view it as the essentially the middle finger, but it still works to send a message of warning.

mm1970

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Re: Am I the Asshole?
« Reply #34 on: Today at 05:08:59 PM »
Quote
Lol, I drove near Boston, just one time, and swore I would never drive there again. I thought Montreal was bad, and yes, it really is, but wow...yeah, Massholes sounds accurate.

Plus none of the motorcyclists had helmets, surrounded by maniacs, and doing nearly 100, and no helmets.
Well...I guess under those conditions, if you crash, you die, so what's a helmet really going to do??
Same.  Boston drivers, the worst assholes I've ever seen.

And I've driven in DC, LA, and San Diego.