----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: How to Merge

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to Merge

Apparently, some drivers out there are unclear on the concept of merging (that is, incorporating one's car and one's self into an existing stream of traffic)on. Thus, I offer this tutorial.

  1. When merging onto the freeway, you must accelerate to the prevailing speed. I don't care if you are only going one exit up--if everyone else is going 70, you shouldn't be going 35. Conversely, if traffic is inching along like a snail, don't barrel down the onramp and expect to cut in on traffic at the last possible second.
  2. On surface streets, merges are generally signaled by big yellow signs reading, "Lane Ends, Merge Right" and "Do Not Pass." These signs are not a joke. Their simple declarative sentences indicate that the instructions are an order.
  3. Merging does not mean driving alongside another car. Merging means that you either accelerate in front of the car or you brake and get behind it. If there is no room in front of said car, then put on your brakes and drop back. Remember that "Do Not Pass" sign?
  4. When your lane ends, the onus is on you to merge. You must yield to the cars in the lane that does not end.

Why am I offering up this helpful guide on how to merge? Well may you ask. Yesterday, on my way home from work, I was nearly run over by someone who clearly did not know how to merge correctly. Since I drive this particular road every day, I am well-acquainted with its quirks. It is a two-lane road, but before one stoplight, there are signs warning people that the lane ends and they must merge left. The lane does not actually end until after the stoplight, though, so one would think that drivers in the right-hand lane would have plenty of warning to begin merging. One would be wrong.

Yesterday, traffic was fairly heavy. I was driving along in the left-hand lane, keeping a safe distance from the car in front of me, but there was by no means room for another car to cut in. On my right was a white van. The white van drove next to and slightly behind me, even after the signs warned "Lane Ends, Merge Left" and "Do Not Pass." Perhaps this person could not read. He certainly did not obey. He continued driving next to and slightly behind me until his lane ended. Then, even though he had nowhere to go, he neither slowed down nor sped up. He just stayed there, driving in the bike lane. I thought that if I slowed down, he would sideswipe me, so I just kept driving. The only thing that saved us from a fiery collision was the appearance of the left-turn lane that would take me onto my street. I got into the left turn lane, he finally got over into a driving lane, and then he honked vociferously and yelled out his window at me.

People. Merging takes effort. It does not just magically happen. And if there is a car right next to you, you must take action to incorporate yourself into the flow of traffic. You, as the merger, do not have the right-of-way! And white van man, I'll be watching out for you. My husband says you did the same thing to him. So it's on. Oh, it's on.


  • At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And so you are back! I was wondering when you would next post? I missed reading about your latest adventures. The roads of your sleepy town are tough so "be careful out there". I think that was on a police tv program that I watched oh so long ago.

    Uncle Luigi can take care of the van and the driver so you and your husband need not burden yourselves with such pedestrian tasks. It is arranged.

    Joking aside, I enjoyed your merging column. Maybe you should now write about tailgaters and slow pokes.

    Keep up the writing. It is fresh, funny, witty! Good stuff Astera.

  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger Vince said…

    What? Wait. You're not supposed to just inch onto the freeway and stop until there is a huge clear opening for you?

  • At 3:08 AM, Blogger Philipp said…

    Your example is one of the evidences that van drivers are really 'folk devils'. I still can't imagine how they dare to behave themselves on a road so madly. It is true that man and van is now most often viewed as a mobile thug – a dangerous threat to the decent, right-thinking, motoring majority.
    Happy that you did not come to harm.


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