Suggested action

Situation: I’m entering the freeway from a stoplight meter. The broken white lines denoting the merge lane extend for less than 100 feet. The right freeway lane is exit only, exit is less that 1/4 mile from the meter light. So basically when the light turns green you need to go (there was a car behind me on the ramp). It was rush hour. I nailed the throttle to duck behind one car and ahead of another. The car I had intended to pull ahead of either didn’t slow down at all or actually accelerated. I’m doing 70, look beside me, he’s squeezing between me and a utility truck in the next lane to the left. I had to ease onto the shoulder and slow down. He missed me and the utility truck by no more than 2 inches either way. Any suggestions as to how I might have handled this better?

I’m sorry to say that I have no suggestions.
Even though it sounds like you practiced appropriate safe driving procedures, there is no way to control the impulses of the aggressive, unsafe drivers with whom we have to share the road.

You have to drive an Olds Ninety-Eight with four crushed fenders. You usually get the right of way awarded to you. I saw it in St Louis in 1992 and I let him have all the space he needed.

He had the right of way, you tried to merge properly, he acted like a jerk. You did the best you could do considering the situation. The accident was avoided. Good.


About the only thing you didn’t mention is whether you properly signaled your intensions intentions to the other drivers. Turn signals. I expect though that this isn’t a turn signal issue and the driver behind you was just being inconsiderate; they should have noticed that you were attempting to merge before the exit & slowed down enough to let you in.

This reminds me of an incident I had recently, not in a car but while bicycling. Due to complications associated w/the pandemic I switched from mt biking on dirt trails to riding on the local roads. I go out of my way to avoid riding on the major roads, but occasionally have to cross them. Needing to cross a 35 mph 4 lane road located at the bottom of a long hill, thinking it unsafe to try to ride across, I got off the bike to walk the bike across using the crosswalk. There’s no stoplight, but I pressed the button which flashes very bright LED warning lights to let the drivers knows there’s a pedestrian in the crosswalk. I make sure all the drivers are stopping, then I get about 1/4 of the way across when a guy in a Mercedes starts honking at me. Not just briefly touching his horn button, the full Monty sort of blaring and repeating honk. I look at him, like, “what’s the problem dude”? He’s using his finger in an animated manner to tell me he doesn’t like having to wait for me, and to hurry up, not to walk the bike across, but to get on and ride across. Ride the bike in a crosswalk? Come, be serious.

That’s when you stop to tie your shoe.


At which point I would shift to neutral and gun the engine and hopefully cause the shoe tyer to soil his pants.


Stop in front of a pissed off jerk in a car? Not me!


What is a stoplight metr?

Stop lights on freeway onramps

Also called Ramp signals or Ramp Metering lights


Sometimes they will yield when they don’t have to to let you in, in which case you give a little thank you wave. Other times you are just trapped so you back off until you can merge. No point getting excited about it.

I think those Ramp stop lights are mainly to keepspace between merging vehicles and reduce rearend collisions . We don’t have them here but I have seen them when traveling. Not convinced they are really that much help .

As for what the person could have done different . No accident so apparently that was proper at that time.

1 Like

you bite your lip, say a few choice words in your head, then turn on a good song on the radio so you can forget what just happened and drive on. it is not worth doing anything else.

1 Like

I have to agree on that it got me to thinking back to some close calls that I have had and I can not think of anything that I could have done different.

Also agree I remember seeing them in different places around the country while I was still working.

They don’t always stay in my head depending who is with me whether they make it to the mouth but of course the idiot could not hear you anyway.:grinning:

1 Like

I wished I used my own advice when I was younger. LOL

1 Like

I can’t remember where I heard it many years back but it fits, To soon old and to late smart. :smiley:

1 Like

They have them in Minneapolis/St. Paul and I think even Duluth. When they first went in the idea was to keep traffic flowing and thus keep the capacity up. Once traffic slows because of too many cars the the road capacity drops significantly instead of cars running at 55+. Of course in theory but even with the lights, you can’t hold people back indefinitely and it is still enough to over-run the road capacity. Not to mention that acceleration ramps were not designed long enough to provide reasonable speed for merging. Gov Jessie fought the law trying to shut them off and only won for a little while, then DOT turned them on again. Increasing the speed limit helped capacity but actually the best traffic flow was when the buses went on strike. They try to run them on the shoulder now which helps some. Others will disagree of course but I spent many hours on those roads under all conditions except floods.

they started out that way here. then they became a cash machine when they put up the cameras and started giving out tickets if you did not fully stop or went through the light.

The onset of the on-ramp metering system seemed to improve freeway driving experience here anyway. Wait longer to get on the freeway of course, but once on traffic moves faster. Before metering you got on faster, but traffic moved slower. It’s a compromise.