Shaken, Not Stirred: Highway mergers.

July 3, 2016
Jim Bond

Jim Bond

Shaken, Not Stirred. A blog by Jim Bond.

A few years ago I replaced my beloved supercharged Buick with a brand I’d never had before. It was not an intellectual decision, rather one based on emotion. It has a ‘Hemi’ V8 engine with rumbling twin exhausts, massive chrome wheels and a design reminiscent of…well, I’m not sure what. ”Male Compensation”, you’re thinking…perhaps. Compensation for my very small hairline and advancing age.

It has surprisingly good gas mileage considering its weight and power. It has electronic features that still baffle me. It has an air of aging sophistication.  

It has…

The worst visibility of any automobile I’ve ever owned.

The ‘A’ pillar, (that part of the design holding the roof up, between the windshield and the front door) is 12-inches. Add the massive right side rear mirror (objects may be closer than they appear [thanks for that reminder]) and you have a full foot and a half of blind spot for cars approaching the freeway from your right. Eighteen inches inside the car (objects may be closer than they appear) means that the person about to enter the interstate may be driving a vehicle in excess of 18 feet. Which I cannot see.

Add to that the inside rearview mirror (12 inches in width and crammed with options such as phone, garage door opener, speaker, shoe-shines, laundry service, landscaping, and a few symbols I STILL can’t figure out) and I absolutely cannot see the UPS truck merging from the feeder (access).

I haven’t had an accident in 25 years (aside from Bambi in 1998), so I’m on borrowed time.

Why? Because somehow, those entering US 31 and other four lane highways seem to feel it’s MY responsibility to slow down from 70 mph to allow you access.

NO! It is NOT. It’s your responsibility to gain sufficient speed to merge smoothly into the flow of traffic at an appropriate speed.

From mlive.com: “Michigan law leaves little room for debate: Merging motorists “shall” yield the right-of-way to existing traffic and adjust their speed accordingly. Failure to do so can constitute a civil infraction.”

Do you get it? It’s not my fault you bought a Yugo or whatever you drive which doesn’t have sufficient chipmunk power to achieve 70 mph in a length of a concrete equivalent to two football fields. (And yes, it is my fault I bought a car with lousy visibility).

“This makes perfect sense because the non-merging vehicle may not be able to move or slow down depending on traffic conditions,” says Sgt. Mike Church of the Michigan State Police in the abovementioned mlive.com article. “The merging vehicle has more control over what it does.”

The supreme arrogance of people who feel it’s someone else’s responsibility to cater to their needs is only exceeded by those who select a car based on “…a ‘Hemi’ V8 engine with rumbling twin exhausts, massive chrome wheels…”.

Oops.

The point is, if the rubber band powering your vehicle has reached its maximum torque…pull over and wait ‘til there’s no traffic on the freeway.

Think I’m being a little rough? Well, pull that (insert your favorite epithet here) in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis (or God forbid, Houston) and see what happens.

 

Check your life insurance first though.

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