Watching from the Right Lane

Acceleration LaneI'm sure that you have already determined that if I don't write this column based on reader requests, I write about something that I have seen happen around me in traffic. This column is no different, and it is about a behaviour that struck me when I was using the freeway in Vancouver recently. How could six vehicles traveling bumper to bumper in an acceleration lane hope to fit into the one or two vehicle sized space in the right lane?

Yes, I know that if I am in the right lane and I can see something like this happening I am supposed to move over to my left and make room for these drivers. Often you can do so, but sometimes the left lane is full and it is not safe to go there.

What now? If the drivers in the acceleration lane planned ahead, they would leave enough room between them to facilitate traffic already in the right lane so that we could interleave like playing cards in a shuffle. That also assumes that they have matched speed instead of hesitating and that impatient driver in spot number four doesn't jump the solid line and "win" by getting there first.

Why do we drive the way we do, and what does that say about us? That is the subject of a book by Tom Vanderbilt that looks like it will be an interesting read for me this winter. I often try to find other points of view to either validate my own or learn why I should change.

A better understanding of those around me in traffic just might help me make a collision saving decision one day.

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The one pet peeve of mine I have found to be particularly annoying here is the practice of merging onto a highway. For years we've been told "speed kills". It seems people here believe that while trying to prudently negotiate an on-ramp they don't speed up until the last 50 feet or so of space available to them. This is dangerous in my eyes for two reasons: One relies on the oncoming traffic to change lanes to accommodate the incoming traffic. I think that while sharing the road with others courtesy demands you make as little impact on other drivers as possible. In other words try to fit in somewhere. Don't make others change lanes, speed up or slow down just because you're on the road. Secondly, the poor car behind this lethargic merge attempt has even less room to accelerate now and makes a bigger impact on others on the ambient flow of traffic. I have noticed that this isn't exclusively an idiosincracy of the aged. Even younger drivers do it. I have even seen people parked at the top of an on ramp waiting for traffic to let them in as they missed their chance to merge successfully because they attempted the maneuver at 35 mph. (either their fault or a driver ahead of them). They have to merge starting from 0mph in 10 feet!!! This particular ramp loads the #19 (speed limit 110kph)

You touched on this subject on your article, but maybe didn't get into it enough. Tell me, you have experience in B.C. driving; Is this phenomenon something that only happens on the Island or is it more widespread? People think I'm a hot-head driver here. I'm not. Last speeding ticket I got was in 1984 and even then I was moving along with traffic. I cruise in the left lane. I signal. I drive greenly. I just prefer spending my gas in a way that doesn't threaten the lives of others. When I mention it to others they seem not to think it important. By moving to the Island I feel as though I am going crazy watching this happen over and over again. I'd love to know your take on this.

give my opinion. Please do not get mad but instead try to understand.

Not reciving a speeding ticket for years does not have anything to do with being a Hot Headed Driver,this can occure at Very low speeds as well. How many crazy things do you see just in a parking lot?

Your pet peeves while operating a motor vehicle can be detrimental at ANY SPEED,,What I mean is there is going to be bad drivers you encounter on your drive,this can be your whole drive or just part of it,this will change each drive.And allowing yourself to be effected by their Bad Driving,Now makes you a Bad Driver as well.Once YOU allow others bad actions to get YOU MAD,It is time for you to get off the road and Calm Down before proceeding any farther,Because now Your Emotion is going to Cloud your Judgement resulting in now you being a hazard as well.

Smile and Wave,,was the hardest part of being a Professional Driver that I had to learn,Staying calm when all around you seems Outragous at times,and Never letting it get to you while operating a Motor Vehicle is the Key to Enjoying Your Drive.

This Realization was about the hardest Pill I ever had to swallow,,after all I was the better driver,what right do they have to be on MY ROAD,,,Driving like that....