Also, I am not an asshole.1 Really, I am not.2 However multiple times on my daily commute, people automatically assume I am.
I design roads for a living. A professional roadie. As is true of any person in their chosen field, my career path has given me a greater understanding of the "why's" associated with my chosen profession. "Why is there guardrail in that location?" "Why does the traffic light operate that way?" "Why are roundabouts showing up everywhere?" "Why is this road construction lasting as long as it has?!!" (Obstruction in the clear zone, because of the interconnect with the adjacent signal, because they are 1000x more efficient than a signal a lot of cases, and road work takes time impatient people!)
On this divided highway, the median guardrail was installed between opposing traffic lanes to maintain separation of the vehicles in the case where a vehicle were to drive into the median. Easy.
Roadway design isn't that hard, is it? (No joke, every other type of engineer tells us this all the time. We apparently do the easiest engineering ever created.)
There is, however, one element that people refuse to understand its purpose. This element shows up everywhere on normal streets and in constructions sites and is misused 100% of the time. This confounding element is an ending lane of traffic.
Picture yourself in a construction zone. Traffic is backing up entering the cone zone. At the front of the line is a flashing sign with three chevrons telling you that the left lane is ending. What is the natural reaction of every human on the planet? Get into the right lane immediately.
Picture yourself on I-70 westbound approaching I-25. There are four lanes of traffic as you near the interchange. The left lane and left-center lane are through lanes continuing on I-70 WB. The right-center lane allows through movements to WB I-70 and turning movements exiting to I-25. The right lane is an exclusive exit lane to I-25. Which lanes does every single westbound I-70 vehicle use? The two left lanes.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG!
Now take those same two scenarios and ride with me. Scenario #1: We are driving in the left lane as we approach a construction zone and the left lane is ending. Where do I go? Nowhere - I like that left lane. Scenario #2: We are driving westbound on I-70 approaching the I-25 exit ramp. Which lane are we driving in? The right-center lane. In both situations, I cruise past the logjam of vehicles in the occupied lanes and merge into traffic at the designated merge point. And this is why people assume I am an asshole every single day. In reality, I am not an asshole. They are just stupid.3
Just like the guardrail and the traffic signals and the signage, travel lanes are there for a reason. That reason is to efficiently move traffic from one location to another. By clogging up only some of the lanes, you are doing the exact opposite - restricting traffic unnecessarily. Since I do (pretend to) design roads for a living, let us take a look at what always happens when a lane drop appears. I, obviously, am the yellow car.
At this point, can you possibly say that I am wrong? If you still have some doubt, I will let the Minnesota Department of Transportation close this up for me. Also, this video.
Now stop honking at me.
Until the next post.
1Not necessarily true 100% of the time.
2Still not exactly the truth.
3"Don't say stupid, Dad" - Mackenzie