Driving, texting, road rage, eating…to merge, to yield

Today’s subject matter is courtesy of the drive to and from work. I don’t know about you but I have seen car drivers do many strange things over the years. Eating a plate of scrambled eggs while driving, reading a newspaper, watching TV, woman sitting on a man’s lap while he is driving and she is facing him. Lots of time I have seen dogs sitting in the drivers lap with its head out the window. Yes. All of this while zooming down the road in excess of 55 miles per hour.

I also think that I have, at times, been an equally bad driver. Reading e-mail, reading a map, talking on the phone, texting and eating a Big Mac pulling away from the McDonalds drive through. My kids tell me not to text, and so I try my best. But in this rushed and hurried world where multitasking has become the norm. What can one do?

I’ve witnessed road rage and I probably have practiced road rage. I get angry when people don’t signal and they expect you just to let them in. They signal one way but go the other way. They don’t go the speed limit. They swerve around you at a high speed. They pass in a no passing zone because you are not going fast enough to suit them on and on.

The two most frustrating signs that anger me towards other drivers are merge and yield. The National Motorists association says that

The concepts of YIELD and MERGE mean nothing to many drivers. MERGE is used where a lane is available to allow cars to blend in, typically when entering an interstate highway. It is very dangerous to stop in the merge lane; accelerate instead, to match your speed to the traffic you’re blending in with. Just like when you were learning how to bike, you have to KEEP PEDALING!

YIELD also commands you to blend in, except there is no merge lane available. If a conflict would occur, you must allow the other vehicle to go ahead of you since you don’t have adequate room to accelerate. (You may actually have to put your phone call on hold for a second to do that.) But if there is no conflicting traffic, keep going: Yield does not mean “a rolling stop.”

Sadly, drivers in either the merge lane or the yield lane just assume that you MUST stop for them and let them in. No signal, no consideration. Their destination is more important than your destination. Sometime it feels like their business and life is more important than yours. I try my best to be a courteous driver, but some days, it is tough. I think that if we all just slowed down a bit, watch out for the other drivers, we all will get to our destinations safely. After all, we want to get home to our families safely.