Driving Question on Correct Freeway Merging


Merging onto the freeway

Question: I travel the freeway often and I find it infuriating how people merge onto, or allow other people to merge on to the freeway from the on-ramp.

In the olden days when I took my test, it was actually one of the questions asked of me at the counter after my road test.

If I am in the number one lane travelling at the speed limit along with another car in the #2 lane travelling at more or less the same speed, should I (a) slow down (b) speed up or (c) maintain the same speed. I answered incorrectly, as the answer was “C”, at least it was back then.

Now it is a daily occurrence that people slow down and yield to vehicles on the on-ramp, causing all sorts of grief. Worse yet are those that try to enter the freeway without yielding at all, nearly side-swiping you into the other lane.

It happens so often that I wonder: Did the rules change about this?

According to ICBC Drive smart Manual, which you can read here,

  • It is advisable to adjust your speed to allow merging traffic to merge and/or to help them find a safe gap. It says ‘adjust your speed’ not necessarily slow down OR speed up.  Obviously if two cars are beside each other going the same speed exactly and one is trying to merge then one of them will have to do something about it in terms of adjusting speed. If you are in the vehicle already on the freeway you may be able to look far ahead while driving and be able to adjust your speed very subtly before even getting into the position of being awkwardly beside another vehicle.
  • The acceleration lane should be used to match your speed to that of the traffic already on the freeway. In my personal experience I think this is where most of the problem is. The vehicles merging are sometimes travelling much slower (say 60 km/hr) than the freeway traffic (90 km/hr). Of course, this is highly awkward and difficult to deal with.  It is much easier to lane change (which is what merging is, isn’t it) if vehicles are travelling roughly at the same speeds.

a

b

Carmen

Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada. She enjoys writing as much as driving, and hopes you have found this website helpful.

3 thoughts on “Driving Question on Correct Freeway Merging

  1. How do I know what the speed limit on the highway is? They usually don’t post the speed limit until a little ways down from the ramp but I would have already merged by then. What speed should I merge at during my road test?

    1. Hi, we are to assume it’s 80 km/hr unless otherwise posted. When you’re merging try to match your speed with the traffic flow so it will be safe and easy to merge, as long as you aren’t speeding. There’s no speed limit on the ramp.

      http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/Documents/drivers5.pdf

  2. The speed of the highways are usually posted a little ways down from the ramp so I won’t know until I already merged. What speed should I merge at during my ICBC road test?

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