42. Merging Lanes

The pattern of broken white lines dividing two lanes that are about to merge should be painted on the road surface in a manner that would more clearly indicate that the lanes are about to merge. For example, each line segment could continue to be painted straight but at an angle of about 20˚ to the direction of travel. Each such line segment should begin about one or two feet inside the edge of the lane that is about to end (merge) and should terminate about one or two feet inside the lane that is receiving the merging lane. Perhaps even little arrows could be painted at the end of each segment to further indicate into which lane vehicles must merge. The use of such logically painted lines would give drivers a more visible warning that their lane is about to end and that they must merge into the next lane. At the same time, drivers in the lane receiving the merger would be made more aware that another lane is about to merge and to be more cautious. Not only would this information be located at a much more appropriate place, it would also be directed more specifically at only the drivers who need to know this information, namely those located within the two lanes affected by the merger. Using this way to communicate would mean that putting up a sign that indicates a lane merger may not be necessary.

Furthermore, on all roads, especially freeways, when there is a new lane from a different road (such as an on-ramp to a freeway) that is merging with an existing lane, the existing lane should be separated from its neighboring lane (in the same direction of travel) with a solid white line rather than the usual broken white lines that exist between lanes. This solid white line should exist throughout the entire length of the merger and even up to two hundred feet before the beginning of the merger. The idea is to prevent vehicles from entering a lane during the same stretch in which another lanes is merging into it.


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