Joining motorways.

Discussion in 'Motoring' started by djbsom, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. djbsom

    djbsom
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    Morning folks, As the indicating thread threw up such a wide and entertaining varience of views I'd like to introduce a new conundrum.

    This was a discussion on the old Aol forums years ago following an unusual incident I was involved with on the M42.

    The traffic on the M42 was very dense and fast flowing resulting in the cars attempting to join the motorway to stop at the give way line before joining lane one. IE: The car decided he couldn't safely join the motorway traffic so he stopped ahead of a queue of accelerating cars on the slip road.
    There was no obvious cause for the unusual packing of vehicles on the motorway. There was no issue either on the M42 or hard shoulder, just a fast busy motorway and a queue of stopped cars on the slip.

    So, my question to the jury is this -
    If you were the first car to arrive at the Acceleration lane threshold expecting to find a safe gap to merge into and, knowing that there would be cars behind you doing exactly the same, what would you do?
     
  2. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    Keep indicating and adjust your speed to fit into a gap. People will normally slow down to let cars in that are joining from a slip road. Stopping at the end is a terrible thing to do and will cause a huge hold up, not only on the slip road but also on the motorway due to everyone having to slow down to allow cars to join that are starting from zero speed.
     
  3. Gavin_Hall

    Gavin_Hall
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    Stopping at the end of a slip road is the worst thing anybody can do and clearly shows the driver hasn’t anticipated the traffic speed flow and adjusted his/her speed accordingly, basically a poor driver! It amazes me how often you follow cars who trundle along the on slip, totally unaware of the 40tonne lorry alongside in lane one and do nothing about their speed, no acceleration into the clear gap, nothing! Then just anchor up, wave their hands in the air when they can’t then join lane one due to the lorry....look ahead and adjust speed accordingly, you don’t just have a brake, you also have an accelerator...it’s simple :).
     
  4. djbsom

    djbsom
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    I'll add this for clarity.
    The flow of traffic was around sixty mph or so and very tightly packed. The on slip was also quite short.
     
  5. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    It shouldn't make any difference. Unless they are driving bumper to bumper which they won't be at 60mph, you should adjust your speed and join. Stopping at the end is the worst possible thing to do when joining a motorway.
     
  6. gibbsy

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    If there is a lot traffic on the slip then I'll often slow a little to give myself room to accelerate into a gap on the main carriageway. It often amazes me that some make no effort to match their speed to the main flow, it's as if they are afraid to change down and use some available power.
     
  7. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Matching speed and merging is the way it should be done. But if traffic is nose to tail you can't just happily "indicate :devil:" and merge into a space shorter than your car. Although it's hard to see why there wouldn't be a gap at 60, assuming everyone is leaving a suitable stopping gap ;)
     
  8. djbsom

    djbsom
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    It was very dense traffic in fairness, something I'd not seen before or since.
    Anyway the argument polarised into those who insisted that you should stop at the give way line and attempt a standing start and those who advocated matching speed with the traffic and joining where possible even though it meant running along the hard shoulder. Personally I was in the latter group.
     
  9. noiseboy72

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    This is one of those rare times that speed is actually safer. Slip roads are almost always long enough to get up to at least 60MPH in virtually any fairly modern car and this then requires a smaller gap to merge into than when attempting to join at 35-40MPH. Suggesting there were no gaps is almost certainly not the case, but more that they were too small to join safely at a low speed.

    One thing I do is give the vehicle ahead time to merge, so I leave a long gap to them on the slip road. This gives me time to react before I also end up stationary behind them! As an occasional truck driver, I am also very aware of the (lack of) dynamics when it comes to making trucks stop and accelerate. If I have to join in a smallish gap in front of a truck, I will look to move out into lane 2 as soon as possible and to give the truck as much room as I can.

    Merging into fast moving traffic takes confidence and time to learn to do properly - and it's not something that really gets taught when you learn to drive. Not wishing to sound ageist or sexist, but older female drivers seem to struggle most with this. I would suggest that they struggle to equate speed with safety in this circumstance and feel "safer" joining at lower road speeds into larger gaps - irrespective of the chaos they can sometimes cause around them!
     
  10. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    If there is no gap to merge into then the official method is to come to a halt and wait until such a safe gap is there.

    Forcing your way in is absolutely not the right way to do it. That will then bring the motorway itself to a standstill.
     
  11. Arcam_boy

    Arcam_boy
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    In an ideal situation the car(s) in lane 1 would move to lane 2 to allow you to safely join.

    I agree that you should try and match the speed of the moving traffic and enter in to a safe gap if the above isn’t possible.

    However if there really isn’t a safe gap and you can’t get in safely then you should most certainly stop. At the end of the day you’re joining a motorway crossing over staggered/give way markings!
     
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  12. nvingo

    nvingo
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    It's motorway design; some are done properly - the left lane becomes the off slip, there's one lane fewer under the junction, then the on slip becomes the left lane. Can't get it wrong.
     
  13. djbsom

    djbsom
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    There's a few simple improvements that wouldn't take much to implement.
    Driving on the continent shows us some examples.
    In France for e.g., the lane divider between lanes one and two (from the right obviously) changes from a dotted line to a solid line on the approach to an exit to discourage lane changes in the vicinity of the exit.
    Simple but effective.
     
  14. outoftheknow

    outoftheknow
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    It has bit to do with dorks in lane 1 refusing to allow a car to merge at the lane’s current speed. They close gaps to ensure they aren’t inconvenienced :mad:
     
  15. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    You mean people who follow the highway code ;)
     
  16. Delvey

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    Should try the M60 at Stockport. At rush hour people stop on the slip road to try and join the first lane. The problem is, the slip road still has around half a mile to go after the position they stopped in. I never move over for these idiots or change speed as it's just an idiotic thing to do
     
  17. IronGiant

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    So you won't move over for one idiot, and so penalise everyone stuck behind them :rolleyes:

    :)
     
  18. DOBLY

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    ^ What Delvey is saying is the motorists on the slip road stop because they can't join the slip road at the point where the two lanes first meet - they have another couple of hundred meters in which to attempt to merge, further down the slip road.
    I guess he is talking about J1 going West, cars entering the M60 from the A5145 have an extended slip road - if they try to join where the chevrons end and the broken line starts (and stop here because they can't get on), they are not using the full length of lane available to merge at the same speed as the lane 1 traffic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  19. Astaroth

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    Official method from where?

    I know I was taught that in the extreme circumstances that there really is no safe way to join after speed matching etc was to continue at matched speed onto the hard shoulder rather than slow/stop at the end of the slip lane.
     
  20. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    Driving instructor (yes I went on the motorway when I had lessons) and theory exam.

    The highway code clearly shows it is a 'give way' situation, as such if there is no space to get in safely then you have to wait until such an opportunity arrises.
     
  21. Dony

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    This has always been my understanding as well.

    The hard shoulder is only for emergency situations, and not a filter lane.
     
  22. noiseboy72

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    All I would say is that in 40K+ of average annual mileage over the last 25 years, I have never had to stop on a slip road to join any dual carriageway or motorway that was moving. At rush hour you may need to come almost to a halt if Lane 1 is similarly not moving, but the best option is always to match speed - whatever that may be.

    The slip road where I join the A1 daily is very short and fed from a 90 degree bend. It is long enough to comfortably get up to 60, but I regularly see drivers bimble long at 30, brake, then indicate and pull out in front of usually a truck! No doubt the first time they looked in their mirror was just before they braked, instead of looking as they rounded the bend and continuing to look as they accelerate along the slip.

    There's a worse one near Stamford, where the slip is quite narrow under the bridge and drivers don't like to use the whole length. I have seen countless near misses as drivers either come to a halt - or join at low speed there and nearly got side swiped by a driver who came off the slip at low speed, then moved directly into lane 2 - despite lane 1 being empty!

    As also suggested, wherever possible, I will move over into lane 2 to make room for other drivers and will also extend the gap in front if I can't. If you are following the "2 Second Rule" there should be at least 3-5 car lengths between you and the car in front if travelling at 50-70MPH in any case, so plenty of room for other drivers to join.
     
  23. IronGiant

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    That's a big "if" :D
     
  24. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    In all my years of driving I only encountered this situation twice. Once with my driving instructor and he did that on purpose, but that was ok. The scenario was here; the main road is higher up, the slip road is long, but the part where you can see motorway traffic is very short. The goal is to instantly make the right decision as you need to adjust your speed to merge, but if you can't merge you need to stop as there isn't even a hard shoulder to overshoot ;) That was fun and interesting to learn to deal with it, but a lesson for live.
    2018-01-09_11-41-52.png

    The other time was I think on the M27, but no problem as my car reached 60 in 4 seconds :) But yes, nobody moved over, the gaps weren't big enough so the only right and safe action to perform was to come to a halt and wait my turn.
     
  25. Jowsey

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    In Newcastle city centre there is an extremely short gap to get off the central motor way and then maybe 150m later down the road there is a RIDICULIOUSLY short slip road coming down from a height whilst the motorway comes over a crest so the decision to merge or not is a snap one.

    Thankfully I don't drive that way very often as you have to be on your toes! Not what you need after a long day at work!
     
  26. IronGiant

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    The two exits onto the ring road near us involve a 90 deg turn onto an extremely short slip road. This is compounded by the fact that both are downstream from traffic lights so the traffic is often bunched together, and is also getting in lane for the next junction, so there is a reluctance to move over if people want the inside lane. You are frequently reliant on some kind soul moving over, or quite often, it's easier to wait for the next gap in the traffic when the lights change. In other words, it's extremely common to find cars waiting at the end of the slip roads. More often than not in my experience if it's busy.
     
  27. Jamie

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    I'm not sure "They close gaps to ensure they aren’t inconvenienced [emoji35]" is in any highway code I've ever read, and I've read a few.

    In the OPs scenario it would have been so easy for the car in lane 1 to just back off slightly to make a gap but sadly a lot of motorists these days do not capable of thinking beyond what's happening right now. I was taught to anticipate and be aware of my surroundings.
     
  28. Jamie

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    When I drive I'm already thinking about stuff before I even start on the slip. If necessary I'll even slow right the hell down early on on the slip to try and make some space I can accelerate into. I will stop if absolutely necessary but it's way better to almost stop a lot earlier, stopping at the end is not at all what I want to do.

    I've even gone a different way to avoid sh*tty designed junctions like this if I can and I know of the junctions in question. Admittedly not always possible but if it's your area it should be easy enough.


    Edit to add, just checked your profile IG. You have my sympathy, Oxford must be one of the most car hating areas in the country from my experience. Lovely area but man Oxford council seem to regard motorists as utter scum
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  29. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    The highway code states to give way ;) Not really that hard to comprehend what that means...And yes it often could be easy for the car in lane 1 to back off, except the rules state that it is the vehicle on the slip road that should back off and give way...
     
  30. Jamie

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    I'm not sure where you think I'm arguing against that (as an absolute last resort)

    Your reply was to the following comment

    Again, not seen that mentioned in the highway code.
     

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