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How to Safely Merge Lanes

By Rachel White on Wednesday, 4 October 2017

 

You may see lane merging as the bane of your existence, a good way to practice patience, or a challenge you take on with respect.

Whichever way you look at it, merging lanes is an operation that can be the cause of frustration, road rage, accidents and traffic chaos.


So what is a merging lane?
When the lane you are travelling in comes to an end, causing the need to merge into another lane to continue moving forward, that ending lane is classed as a merging lane.

Merging lanes are a necessity, and all road users have to deal with them at some point, so let’s run through the rules of merging lanes to help us avoid any conflict and frustration on the road.


Rule #1
When merging into another lane, you must give way to anyone that is in the lane you are moving into and you must indicate for a reasonable amount of time to warn other people that you intend to cross into their lane.

There are two rules to merging, depending on the existence or non-existence of line markings.

The point where the lane ends will be clear of a centre line or have a segregated line at the point of the merge area.

In merge lanes that are void of lane markings, at the end of the lane you are required to give way to any vehicle that is in-front of your vehicle.

So, if you’re merging and there is a vehicle next to you, but they are in-front of your vehicle, you are to give way to that vehicle and pull in behind them, if safe to do so.

If the vehicle in the lane next to you is not ahead of you, they are meant to give way and allow you to enter the lane in front of them.

This is not an invitation to race to get in-front of the other car so you can move over! Drive safely and be aware of motorists around you and the rules of the road.

In merging lanes that have line markings at the end point of the lane, you are expected to give way to any vehicles in the other lane you are merging into.

If there is a vehicle in close proximity to your vehicle, you must give way and only merge when there is enough space and it is safe to do so. 

Rule #2
I think we’ve all come across that person who finds it difficult to merge into traffic on a freeway or highway. So what’s the best way to safely merge onto a motorway?

Think ahead, accelerate so you are at the same speed of the traffic you are merging into.

Watch what is happening in the lane you are about to merge into, find a safe gap and enter at the same speed as other drivers.

If you panic and suddenly brake or do not watch what other traffic around you is doing you may cause an accident.

When you are on a highway or freeway make sure you’re aware of drivers entering and make sure you allow enough room for them to enter safely.

Make sure you remember that the merging traffic has to give way to you, so be aware if the merging traffic is slowing down to give way to you, do not slow down suddenly, as you will create confusion and possibly an accident.

Pick your speed so others can merge safely without any sudden changes to your driving manner. When it comes to exiting a motorway, plan your trip and don’t suddenly swerve across lanes to exit. If you miss the exit just keep driving and take the next exit.


Rule #3
When merging into congested traffic there is an unwritten one-to-one courtesy rule. One vehicle at a time will merge into the traffic from a merging lane.

If the person in the lane you are merging into does not want to let you in, remember they don’t have to.

If the lane has lines at the point where the lane ends let them go through and pull in behind them. If at any point you come across rude people in congested traffic keep your cool and just let them go in front of you.

Best for them to be in-front of you instead of getting aggressive and pushy behind you. They will change lanes soon enough and annoy someone else!

If the person in the lane you are merging into does not want to let you in, remember they don’t have to.

If the lane has lines at the point where the lane ends let them go through and pull in behind them.

If at any point you come across rude people in congested traffic keep your cool and just let them go in front of you.

Best for them to be in-front of you instead of getting aggressive and pushy behind you. They will change lanes soon enough and annoy someone else!

Take care when merging, don’t make it a drag race, watch what is happening around you, no sudden lane swerving and be aware of the road rules to stay as safe as possible on the road.

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