This would ordinarily count as a public service announcement, however, I may wind up cursing so much, the lesson will only remain appropriate for truckers, sailors, and Marines.
First, a message to the old man leaving Price Chopper on 103rd in your little white truck: FUCK. You. Thank you for not understanding the general concept of merging, so I was forced to hit my brakes and send my leftovers flying off my passenger seat, to leak and smear on all the papers in my bag. Fuckyouverymuch. Punching it to get out of the parking lot? I get it. Getting into the middle lane and pulling into my lane while there was still room? That’s awesome. Except you didn’t do that, did you. You went below the speed limit and made like you were coming over, then went back into the middle lane, then came back over again, as I was wildly gesturing and screaming at you by that point and sending all my belongings on to the floor of my car. I got to play the “Is he coming over? Is he waiting? He isn’t going a consistent speed? I am? But now I’m not, as I don’t want to wreck my car?” game. And, for the record, I was going below the speed limit. I got to come home and scrub things, after calling you numerous, colorful terms that would have made even George Carlin pause and look at me in admiration. Have a splendid evening, douchecanoe.
Merging. I have witnessed this problematic element of driving quite often of late. Let me break it down for you. The whole fucking point of merging, especially when getting onto the highway, is to be TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC. This is why those goddamned red lights on the entrance ramps are the bane of my existence, even though I get the reasons behind them. This isn’t a putt-putt-putt along lane, slow way down maybe stop if it doesn’t feel right. We are not doing the goddamned double-dutch jump rope and you get to pick and choose when your feet are going in. Get your ass going. And to all the rest of you sailing along in the right-hand lane? Get the fuck OVER. Y’all don’t seem to understand how badly I wanted a driver’s license as a child and it was denied to me. I studied the inserts Shell Oil used to run in Woman’s Day and Family Circle, using Goofy to show how to properly accelerate (imagine an egg between the pedal and the floor! Press down slowly!) I ate up every bit of information on what to do in accidents, when to use flares, how to stay safe on the road. So to say that I studied the Iowa Motor Vehicle License book would be an understatement. I absorbed it. I can still see the line drawing for merging onto the highway.
This is not that hard, people. Driving isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. Let people in as they’re merging, and if you’re a merger, speed the fuck up so you’re not creating a potential 20-car fender bender and sixteen more high-blood pressure cases.
So. In case you’d like the full-blown directive from the same book, here you go:
ENTERING THE HIGHWAY
Entrance ramps are short, one-way ramps used to get on the highway. At the end of most entrance ramps is an acceleration lane. Use the ramp and acceleration lane to increase your speed to match the speed of the vehicles on the highway.
As you are speeding up, watch for an opening in the highway traffic. Switch on your turn signal, and pull smoothly into the traffic. DO NOT stop at the end of an acceleration lane unless traffic is very heavy and you have to stop.
Drivers already on the highway should give you room to enter, but if they don’t, DO NOT force your way onto the highway. You must yield the right-of-way to them, even if that means stopping at the end of an acceleration lane.