Just Merge

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I don't profess to be the best driver in town.  Lord knows I make my share of mistakes while maneuvering through the streets and highways of Chattanooga.  However, I would like to publicly give some advise on merging at the entrance ramps to the highways.  

When I took driver's ed, some many, many years ago, one of the things they taught us was how to merge.  I realize that we no longer have driver's ed in school.  So as a public servant, I will do my best to give a tutorial about merging.  

You see, the way I was taught recommended that as you were getting onto an interstate you used the ramp as what they used to call the acceleration lane, you find a car with enough space behind it for you to merge behind and accelerate your speed to match the target car, as you see the car pass you on the left, check your blind spot and just slide on over in the lane behind it.  Now that is only appropriate if no other car has sped up or moved into that lane, so check that blind spot.  

That brings me to the entrances to 27 at MLK and 4th street.  Thank goodness TDOT installed stop signs.  The problem that I see is most people are stopping, but not at the stop sign.  They are going all the way to the end of the ramp and then stopping.  Folks, I promise you that it is very hard to see a gap and accelerate to the needed 40-45 mph from a dead stop at the end of the ramp.  So when you do go all the way to the end of the ramp, you have to wait on a much larger gap to open up before entering the highway.  This causes the long back ups on the ramp and it frustrates folks that might be wanting to merge properly.  

What you can do is stop at the sign, yes right there where the white line is, just stop.  Then spot a break in between two vehicles big enough for your vehicle, accelerate to the needed 40-45 mph and voila you should be able to merge.  

So remember, don't go past the stop sign and then stop.  Stop at the stop sign and accelerate, bringing your vehicle to an appropriate speed and gently merge into the available spot.  There is just enough room to get up your speed from the stop sign to the end of the ramp.  This is the process that TDOT intended for you to use when they chose to put the stop signs so far back, instead of putting them at the end of the ramp, where most people are stopping.  

I guarantee you that it will work.  I also promise you that this letter has been written with due respect and is not meant to belittle anyone.  At the end of the day, you might be right and I am wrong.  However, this method has worked for me. Try it.

Vince Dean

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