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Merging traffic behaviour

By Benjamin Rose - 24 November 2016 11

Merging traffic Canberra

Like the majority of Canberrans, I drive daily for work and leisure.

Aside from speeding and tailgating, dangerous traffic merging is something I see quite regularly going north and southbound on the Gungahlin Drive-Tuggeranong Parkway corridor. Of course this behaviour occurs everywhere in Canberra.

Even with appropriate speed signs and traffic merging in front of them without issue at correct speed, some drivers regardless of experience level will merge onto roads such as the Tuggeranong Parkway as much as thirty kilometres below the speed limit on a regular basis. Anyone already on the parkway will either slow or pre-emptively overtake said slow vehicle(s). Hotspots are traffic coming from Hindmarsh Dr, Cotter Rd northbound and Lady Denman Dr. heading southbound from my experience.

Is driver confidence the issue? Were they taught to merge incorrectly? Do they think traffic should slow for their merging vehicle? What are some practical solutions?

What traffic behaviour annoys you most?

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Merging traffic behaviour
1
Holden Caulfield 9:33 am
24 Nov 16
#

Like a lot of poor road user behaviour, the ills can be blamed on the fact we take ourselves way too seriously and think we are more important than the other sardine in the tin can next to us.

And I’m as guilty of that as anyone else.

2
Tyyco 12:18 pm
24 Nov 16
#

Education and longer slip lanes, unfortunately both would cost money.

Merging…… forward thinking would be a better example. Some people don’t do it.

Plod along happily in the far right lane on Belconnen Way, but wait with 200m remaining before realising they need to make a left turn, cut across 2 lanes of fast moving traffic, Slam on the brakes, traffic behind tails back, or indicate and just go (a Canberra classic)

I am by no means perfect as a driver however some people seem to be driving around with no perception of what is happening about them. (like your bad merging examples)

3
JC 7:27 pm
24 Nov 16
#

Core problem is not everyone follows the rules, or has the same sense of courtesy.

As a result people approach things in different ways, some overly cautious, others overly aggressive and many, most in fact apply common sense.

Until the population can be brainwashed to all think and behave the same there is no chance of everyone doing it the same way. How to fix it? You cannot it is just human nature.

Whilst like others here I am not a perfect driver, I will say when I was taught to drive I was taught to worry about everyone around me. Try and think and second guess what others may do and adjust my driving to suit. So far, touch wood I’ve not had a traffic accident in almost 30 years of driving.

4
wildturkeycanoe 7:08 am
25 Nov 16
#

Whilst there are individuals who speed regularly, there are are growing number of apprehensive drivers who are so scared of traffic that they consistently drive at or below 15km/h slower than the signposted speed limit. When you get these people merging onto roads like the Parkway, inevitably it will cause a bunching of the cars already doing 100km/h and last minute lane changes as they realize there is a slow vehicle ahead. Not everybody wants to hit the anchors at the bottom of the hill and then ruin their fuel economy by having to plant the accelerator to speed up again , or disconnect their cruise control for the sake of one person who doesn’t understand that it is unsafe to merge into fast flowing traffic by driving much slower.
To me it seems the major issues are drivers who are too scared to get anywhere near the speed limit in case they go a touch over and get fined for it, drivers who have absolutely no depth perception or cannot see more than 200 metres ahead, drivers who don’t check their blind spots and believe the indicator on their car has a magical power that opens a gap next to them like some kind of subspace anomaly. Then you add to the mix those who think if they are turning right 6km away they need to be in the right hand lane now because it might not be possible to change lanes anywhere else, inattentive chatterboxes who believe making eye contact with their passenger whilst making all manner of hand gestures is more important than concentrating on keeping their car between the lane markers and the gangs of two or three vehicles who develop a rolling road-block doing 65 in 80 zones, preventing all the cars behind them from passing or getting to within a cooee of the posted speed limit. This last group is also the same that consistently brake checks those behind them if approached any nearer than a 4 second gap and will not heed the unmistakable requests to get out of the way.
There are so many laws and penalties for offenses related to going too fast and driving recklessly, but I would offer up the hypothesis that it is because of the over-cautious, slow and self-entitled drivers on our roads that we have more people committing these offenses. I think it is about time the police started penalizing for offenses under the road rules such as;
125 part 1 – “A driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian”
130 part 2 – “The driver must not drive in the right lane”
146 part 1 – “A driver on a multi-lane road must drive so the driver’s vehicle is completely in a marked lane”
148 part 1 – “A driver who is moving from one marked lane (whether or not the lane is ending) to another marked lane must give way to any vehicle travelling in the same direction as the driver in the marked lane to which the driver is moving”
[Yes there are other circumstances under which some of these rules can be broken legally but I am simply pointing out the basic concept of the rule]
There are many, many more rules that those drivers who consider themselves to be “safe” are breaking on a daily basis. I believe there needs to be some regular testing of all drivers to ensure that they haven’t slipped into sub-standard practices in the years they have accumulated on the road. I wonder how many would need to surrender their license or go back to their “L” plates because they either don’t know the rules or have slipped through the cracks of the system and have been issued a license without having acquired the proper road skills.
I note the government has begun advertising for people to use courtesy and to keep left on multi-lane roads such as the GDE, but wonder if without enforcement the plea will fall on deaf ears.

5
Leo61 2:14 pm
25 Nov 16
#

I think it is due to driver confidence (lack of), poor of spatial awareness and poor coordination. It’s similar to how some drivers cannot reverse parallel park. Some people can’t even catch a ball!

6
JC 7:25 pm
25 Nov 16
#

Leo61 said :

I think it is due to driver confidence (lack of), poor of spatial awareness and poor coordination. It’s similar to how some drivers cannot reverse parallel park. Some people can’t even catch a ball!

So human nature?

7
wildturkeycanoe 2:49 pm
27 Nov 16
#

Just today had yet another example of how not to merge. Traveling south on the Tuggeranong Parkway, going towards Belconnen there is a slip lane onto William Hovell Drive. The speed limit is 90km/h on both the Parkway, William Hovell and the slip lane. Why do drivers decide to slow down to 60km/h or slower whilst exiting the end of this slip lane when the two lanes of traffic they are merging with are doing 90km/h? There is no need to go so slow and doing so makes it harder to merge because they haven’t matched the speed of the traffic. More often than not these same people also continue to do 60-70km/h whilst changing lanes in order to turn right at the lights on Bindubi Street. This causes the traffic doing 90 in the right hand lane to have to slow down and then we begin the accordion effect going back towards the City. Speeding up to 95 to merge in front of a car is preferable to slowing down to 60 to pull in behind them, plus it is less obstructive to the traffic behind them. But, some folks just don’t consider anyone but themselves.

8
JC 5:19 pm
27 Nov 16
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

Just today had yet another example of how not to merge. Traveling south on the Tuggeranong Parkway, going towards Belconnen there is a slip lane onto William Hovell Drive. The speed limit is 90km/h on both the Parkway, William Hovell and the slip lane. Why do drivers decide to slow down to 60km/h or slower whilst exiting the end of this slip lane when the two lanes of traffic they are merging with are doing 90km/h? There is no need to go so slow and doing so makes it harder to merge because they haven’t matched the speed of the traffic. More often than not these same people also continue to do 60-70km/h whilst changing lanes in order to turn right at the lights on Bindubi Street. This causes the traffic doing 90 in the right hand lane to have to slow down and then we begin the accordion effect going back towards the City. Speeding up to 95 to merge in front of a car is preferable to slowing down to 60 to pull in behind them, plus it is less obstructive to the traffic behind them. But, some folks just don’t consider anyone but themselves.

I am kind of with you but here is the problem. Though don’t agree with your assertion that people are thinking ofnonly themselves. In fact probably the opposite actually.

If you are in that slip lane your lane ends at the merge which means you MUST give way to all traffic on William Hovell drive. It is not a form one lane style merge where car in front has right of way. (It used to be before the Caswell drive duplication, aka GDE extension)

Now most of the time there will be a gap to be able to pop into but that is not always the case. There are times when there are cars on William Hovell who either cannot (or will not ) make way in which case the merging car must slow and possibly stop. So you really must approach that merge with the ability to stop.

I generally approach it at full speed and watch how the traffic is flowing on William Hovell drive before then adjusting my speed for the final 200m or so of the slip lane. That means having to slow down sometimes. Though if I have to slow to say 60 to find a slot to merge I don’t mess around in getting my car back to the speed of the general flow.

As for getting to the right hand lane for Bindubi street you need to give way to cars already in that lane so that means choosing a gap. Again might mean having to slow down to be able to slot in and I don’t think many would be preferred to miss the turn and I know in would prefer vehicles to not speed up to match traffic C flow only to then make a high speed lane change at the last moment. This distance between merge and turn is not all that much.

So as a driver you need to make adjustments to your driving style even if that means slowing down slightly from the speed limit.

9
wildturkeycanoe 10:05 pm
27 Nov 16
#

JC said :

Now most of the time there will be a gap to be able to pop into but that is not always the case.

Your views on the Give Way are right, but why slow to 60 when there is not a car in sight on William Hovell [The lane you are merging into] and you slow down a good 300 metres or more before the merging lane ends? That is taking it to a whole new level of paranoia.
I also got the direction wrong, I meant driving north towards Gungahlin, so thanks for not rubbing it in that my sense of direction is all screwed up today.

10
Bonkers 1:09 am
28 Nov 16
#

@WTC

The enter key is quite useful for breaking up your posts. Review your post above – when I see a massive block of text (I’m sure I’m not alone), my first thought is… “I don’t want to deal with this”.

11
Bonkers 1:10 am
28 Nov 16
#

@JC

And you do it the right way :o)

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