At first I thought it was an isolated incident. However this morning the same thing happened in exactly the same place.
What am I talking about?
Traffic. In this case the traffic on a local bypass.
Part of my route to and from work is on a bypass that goes around the city of Laconia, eliminating the need to go through the city in order to get from one side to the other. There’s nothing new or exotic about that. What’s different is that lately it seems a number of drivers on the bypass have lost their friggin’ minds.
Generally when one is going to merge onto a limit access highway you are supposed to accelerate up to speed to match the speed of the traffic already on the highway. This is supposed to make it easier (and safer) to merge into traffic.
But what happens when one or more vehicles already on the highway decide they don’t want to be ‘stuck’ behind the merging traffic and accelerate hard, bring their speed up by 15 to 20mph? One of three things will occur: the person trying to merge will either have to brake hard in order to prevent a collision, accelerate hard to make the merge, or collide with the jerk trying to prevent the merge.
What is it in a driver’s psychology that makes them incapable allowing someone else to enter the highway without feeling the need to be in front of them? Is it competitiveness? Are they in some kind of hurry that even a few seconds delay will make them late? Or are they being jerks because they can be?
Let’s face it, visibility for the driver trying to merge is limited. It isn’t easy (or safe) to take one’s eyes off of the road ahead for more than a fraction of a second to check the traffic behind and to one side when trying to merge on to a highway. If the traffic is moving at a steady pace it’s easier to judge whether or not one can safely merge. But if the speed of the traffic changes as it approaches the on-ramp, it screws up the timing of the person trying to merge and creates a dangerous situation for both the person trying to merge and the idiot trying to make sure they stay in front. .
I have seen this scenario three times in the past three days, one of which was me having to take evasive action when the person on the highway felt they absolutely had to be in front of me, punching the accelerator on their Mustang and forcing me to abort the merge with a heavy application of the brakes. What made this action even stupider is that the Mustang driver then had to apply their brakes to keep from running into the traffic already in front of them on the highway. In other words, that less than swift move on their part bought them all of a fraction of a second in the bigger scheme of things, traffic-wise.