Do You Know How To Merge?

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville's Tom Schlenker has a problem with the way drivers in Huntsville merge. "I don't think people have a clue how to do it, very few anyway, maybe one out of ten," says Tom.  He's most upset with people who stop when they enter a merge lane, and wait for all traffic to clear before they pull on to the road. "Not very safe at all," says Tom.

To see Huntsville drivers stopping in a merge lane, just check out Airport Road when coming over the hill. On a regular basis, drivers stop at the beginning of the merge lane to go north on Whitesburg Drive. That's obviously not what traffic engineers want. "Pull into the merge lane, drive toward the end of the lane till you find a gap where you can pull into it," says Tom Schlenker. His directions are essentially correct. Drivers wanting to merge should keep moving until they find a space in traffic. The oncoming drivers have the right of way, but they're supposed to allow other drivers to merge.

Another problem is when drivers stop because they want to cross multiple lanes for a left turn. An example of that merging behavior can be found on North Memorial Parkway at Mastin Lake Road. Drivers coming off the access road want to turn east onto Mastin Lake, and to do that they practically take a left turn across the Parkway. The proper way to merge is one lane at a time, as you progress forward.

Remember, stopping in a merge lane is not only not correct, it's dangerous. "Not very safe at all. I've been in a small fender bender, hitting somebody from behind when they didn't merge," says Tom.  All drivers expect certain actions from other drivers. When you do something improperly, it often leads to a wreck.

Something else to remember in good merging, is to use your turn signal. The drivers you're merging with, need to know your intentions.

We're taking action to explain the simple, yet crucial act of merging, because doing it the right way, could avoid a bunch of needless wrecks.

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