A Me First Mentality Obliterates the Ability to Merge Safely
Drivers are consistently seen failing to yield right of way on our travels.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 9% of all traffic accidents are caused by a failure to merge properly. I was surprised at this data, as it seems that we’ve witnessed this action to be much more common as we traversed the country from Wisconsin to Maine over the last two weeks in our small SUV. It could possibly be higher due to the above data coming from a 1999 study. For reasons cited below, it was difficult to find more accurate information on the prevalence of improper merging.
No matter where we were, we noticed cars merging improperly into moving traffic. It seems that there are a lot of egotistical, me-first drivers, out there that will demand their place in front of you, rather than easily slipping in behind or when there’s an opening in the flow of traffic.
Compounding the problem is also those who fail to allow other drivers to merge. These are those who travel in the right-hand lane of the highway, see an on-ramp with a car approaching the stream of traffic, and still, fail to move over to the left to allow entering cars to merge safely. This is assuming, of course, there is a spot on the left to move into. Still, many do not move over.
So you have a “budger” in the first scenario, who enters the flow of traffic with a high disregard for those who have the right of way, and a stubborn driver who refuses to move over to let other cars into the flow. Honestly, I don’t know which is worse! Both drivers think that they take priority over others and do anything, even something unsafe, to feed their me-first mentality.
Unfortunately, when I tried to look up some statistics on failure to merge accidents, the google search yielded results that were almost all from lawyers trying to cull drivers for lawsuits. I was careful not to take their statistics, as they might be skewed.
The other source of statistics on failure to merge accidents comes from insurance companies. These largely focus on trying to improve poor driving habits, among which failure to merge is included. Just last week, Wawanesa Insurance published an article on…