Saturday, June 21, 2014

The art of merging

I've mentioned before that I do have some what of a superiority complex. I don't deny it, and I actually will admit it, especially when I'm behind the wheel of a car.  I've always loved to drive, even before I actually had a driver's license. I remember taking my Dad's old El Camino out for a spin, stopping by to pick up a friend, and zooming around the neighborhood. There was nothing like the freedom afforded to you when you put your foot on that gas pedal, turned up the AM radio and rolled the windows down. I never had any fear of driving, of going fast, of traveling to the unknown. It seemed as natural to me as walking.

So, for those reasons, I find it very hard to understand people who drive, but really don't know how to drive.  They don't know how to keep up with the speed limit, they don't know who has the right of way at a stop sign, especially a 4-way stop sign, they definitely can't figure out the rhythm of the round about and worst of all, they don't know how to merge onto the freeway.

Why is it that so many drivers think that the time you need to increase your speed is once you've climbed up the on ramp and are now on the freeway?  This drives me crazy.  Speed it up, people!  You should be merging with oncoming traffic at the speed that they are going.  That is why you MERGE ~ seamlessly, you don't cause everyone else to slow down or almost come to a complete stop because you can't quite figure out how if you should go faster to get in front of the oncoming car, or slowly slip in from behind.

And the art of merging also applies to the drivers that are already on the highway and driving in the slow lane.  Give the guy who is trying to merge some room.  Or make a courtesy lane change.  This really is a team sport, with all of us being on the same team, though you wouldn't know it the way most Americans treat the highway, like a war zone with every other driver being the enemy.

There is an art to driving and it is an art that needs to be practiced and perfected.  It is not something that you should be learning on the job.  It is much too important.  Driving today isn't as leisurely as it was in my childhood days, where you could ride without seat belts, hang your head out the window, or sit on the edge in the back of a pick-up truck.

No, in this day and age of faster speed limits, heavier traffic, and people in a hurry, driving has become a much more dangerous game, and one of the key moves is perfecting the art of merging.

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