Today, boys and girls, I bring to you a lesson on merging. If you drive, I'm sure you've had to merge into traffic at some point. Based on what I observe while driving in Kansas City rush-hour traffic, most of you suck at it. Let me give you a few pointers:
1. Do NOT stop at the end of the acceleration ramp. Yes, boys and girls, that is what it's called. It is a little lane for you to accelerate in. If you ease slowly toward the end of the ramp, and then come to a complete stop, it's going to be a bit harder for you to merge with folks going 55-65 mph.
2. If you are on the interstate, and someone is coming toward said interstate from an acceleration ramp, try to judge the speed/distance. If it appears that you will come to the merging spot at the same time, you have to make a choice. Speed up, or slow down. Those of us on the ramps don't care which you choose. Just don't maintain a speed that will require mergers to stop (see #1) or drive onto the shoulder.
3. If someone comes down toward you on the acceleration ramp, their blinker should be on. I agree with that. However, if there is no turn signal on, it is still safe to assume that they want to join your little commuter party. Seriously. What else would they be doing? Nobody wants to drive on the shoulder. Honestly.
4. If you plan to exit the ramp at 10 mph faster than anyone on the highway is going, and then go straight across three lanes of traffic to get to the left lane, pray to God. Pray now, pray often. Do NOT, under any circumstance, assume that I will slam on my brakes to oblige you. My car cost $400, 2 years ago, and it's not all that great anymore. I'm safely buckled in, and I'll take your little sports car out like a stray deer. I am insured, both medical and auto.
This ends the lesson on merging. Tomorrow, perhaps we'll discuss interstate driving protocol.