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Traffic Talk: Merging traffic into one lane requires some cooperation

Don Gammill: Getting vehicles to merge into one lane safely requires a little cooperation from drivers.
by Don Gammill Published: September 24, 2012

Did you catch No. 2? Read it again.

Of course, there are areas other than construction zones where a lane ends and traffic must merge. But there's no sense trying to pass as many other vehicles as possible, waiting until the closed part of the lane is imminent, then executing a “zipper merge” at that point. It's both rude and irresponsible.

There's an easy way for everyone to drive through a potential problem. How about the every-other-one method?

The idea is to avoid a problem, not create one.

In another area ...

I take this exit (Council Road off Interstate 40 westbound) every day multiple times. It has two right turn lanes. People always go from the inside turn lane to the far left lane of Council Road so they can get to the McDonald's. Shouldn't people know by now how to correctly make a right-hand turn and not run across other lanes of traffic?


Yes, they should, Matt. But you know as well as I do, that there are drivers who simply choose to do it their way, no matter how dangerous that is.

You change lanes when it is safe to do so and indicating your intention by signaling. Just barreling across lanes is not the way to go.

By the way ...

A reader recently “corrected” me for saying “turn signals.” She said: “The proper wording is ‘blinkers,' or ‘turn indicators,' but NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT ‘turn signals.'”

I remember hearing “blinkers” when I was growing up, years before I started driving, but I hadn't heard it for many years.

“Turn indicators” I'm OK with, because that essentially is what they are.

“Turn signals,” the reader said, “are those lights that tell you when you can or can't turn.”

One thing was for sure. She agreed she knew right away what part of the car I was talking about.

Enjoy your week and drive safely.

by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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