Recently, Travis Phelps of the Washington State Department of Transportation suggested that traffic would move more efficiently at merge points if people waited and merged late instead of lining up as soon as they saw the “merge ahead” signs.
I used to be resistant to the late merge, thinking like most critics that it is rude. However, after reading Tom Vanderbilt’s book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What it Says About Us when it came out in 2008, I made some observations and tried it myself. I was converted to late merging!
Also in Vanderbilt’s well-researched book, among many interesting driving facts, we learn about the traffic choreography that occurs during the Oscars and how we can improve our lives through better parking habits. One important conclusion the author draws is that we would all be better drivers if there was some way for us to receive regular praise on what we do well instead of only receiving negative feedback through road rage and traffic tickets.
– Liz Gruchala-Gilbert