Getting into the issue of merging

Merging traffic

One correspondent observed "It seems that drivers in B.C. generally have a big problem when it comes to merging. In this case let's say from two lanes to one. In the normal course of events merging shouldn't be any hassle at all - take turns, one from the left then one from the right - it all moves along nicely, and has a minimal effect on holding up traffic. Not in BC! Here it appears to be everyone for him / herself."

In a perfect world the reader would never have raised this issue. We would all be courteous to each other and take turns when we were presented with a situation where merging was required. All would proceed happily and no one would have to spend more time than the other waiting their turn.

The sign will be installed on the side of the roadway on which merging traffic will be encountered, and positioned so as not to obstruct the driver’s view of those vehicles about to merge.

The merge sign warns motorists facing the sign that they must merge into another traffic lane ahead.The merging traffic sign warns motorists on a main roadway that they may encounter vehicles entering the lane ahead.

The sign will be used at freeway/expressway on-ramps (or other such one-way approaches that merge with a major road at a small angle), provided that the available parallel distance on the ramp is sufficient to allow a vehicle to reach the highway posted speed before leaving the ramp and entering the outer through lane of the freeway/expressway.

The lane ends sign indicates a reduction in the number of lanes of pavement ahead either from the right or from the left.

The sign is only used for the reduction of a group of continuous lanes, and, therefore, should not be used in advance of an acceleration lane.

When your lane ends or you are the driver merging with other traffic, the onus is on you to move over safely. You must not affect the travel of another vehicle.

Learn to Drive Smart explains merging on pages 55 and 56. The advice involves finding a safe gap beside your vehicle by adjusting your speed and then moving over.

Drivers around you should exercise courtesy by helping to establish that safe gap. Move over into an empty lane or adjust speed accordingly.

Doing the Zipper Merge is the preferred behaviour when you are approaching a lane closure and traffic is starting to back up.

The case of Doyle v Hubick is an example of liability for a collision that resulted when a merge went wrong on the Sea to Sky Highway near Pemberton.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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