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Changing lanes, then having to merge back in

I had a friend in Michigan that would not believe me that I drove around in 5-7 lane freeways here in Los Angeles. One of the freeways (the 5 Fwy) is expanding around here, and they kicked out a bunch of people from their homes in order to have room to add lanes.. hey, its a sacrifice we must make if we want to get to places faster instead of waiting in traffic.

People are always in a rush around here, so it feels nice sometimes to watch frustrated drivers through the window of the Metro rail, and wave at them as you zoom past them. But there are certain places that I need to get to that have no train routes. And that means only one thing.. take out the car.

Driving on the freeways isn’t as bad as people make it seem though, as long as you avoid rush hour, you’re fine. But even if traffic is awesome, people still decide to rush. A 65 MPH speed limit freeway turns into a game of “Don’t  hit the old people” as you zoom past them at 80+ mph speeds.

So yes, people do a lot of lane changing. A lot of it.

Imagine you’re behind a slow minivan, and want to pass them up. You change over to the right, and start to speed up when suddenly you see one of these:


And there you go back in again. It is hilarious when it happens to other people that are trying to pass you, but when it happens to me it is extremely awkward.

A car followed me once I moved over to the right, and we both got pushed back right to where we were. Its just one of those things where you pretend that its no big deal but still refuse to make eye contact with anybody.

  1. The worst is when you are unfamiliar with a place and you think that it’s the lane to exit the freeway… AND IT ISN’T! It’s just and evil lane that ends like 100 feet before the exit! Then you have to merge back in with shame… and you just assume everyone thinks you were just trying to cut off people!

    I think about these things often 🙂

    April 30, 2012
  2. chunter #

    This touches on the opposite and obvious frustration: people who knowingly race down a lane that’s ending in order to create the illusion that they are getting somewhere faster than everyone else. In the end you catch up to these people, either at red lights, rest areas, or in other problem traffic.

    I recognize that you can end up moving into a dying lane accidentally because I’ve been this person too. I once continued down the shoulder on purpose because I knew I couldn’t safely merge in at the present speed, and I was lucky that a car wasn’t coming down the ramp on the other side…

    Was at I think…

    April 30, 2012

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