Freeway mergers must yield

The in basket: Joy Forsberg of Central Kitsap said she got a dirty look from a women who was merging onto Highway 303 at Central Valley Road, heading to Silverdale recently, after Joy had decided to maintain her speed in the outside lane rather than moving over or changing speed to allow the woman in ahead of or behind her. 

It wasn’t the first time, either, she said. Is it no longer the responsibility of the person entering a freeway to yield to anyone on the freeway already, she asked.

Though she often does move to the inside lane in such situations, that time she chose not to. “She should not expect me to speed up or slow down” to let her in, Joy said.

The out basket: No, the law hasn’t changed, and should there have been a collision, the woman entering the freeway would have been at fault. 

In the real world, though, most drivers do move over to the inside lane to make way for the entering car. The dirty look may have been because the other woman was expecting that, rather that a belief that it was a requirement.

The woman did slow and fall in behind her after scowling at her, Joy said. 

She noted that often a car in  the inside lane keeps a driver from moving over, though she didn’t say if that was the case during her small confrontation.



8 thoughts on “Freeway mergers must yield

  1. “In the real world, though, most drivers do move over to the inside lane to make way for the entering car”.

    In the real world, outside of kitsap county, i.e. Seattle, it’s survival of the fittest and that’s the way it should be. If you can’t merge without people clearing the way for you, get someone who can to drive.

    Also, get out of the left lane unless you’re passing someone. If you’re passing someone, get it over with. It’s the law.

  2. when coming south on hy16 and merging what is it correct “legal” to stay in the outside lane until the lane mergers or as most seem to do, get on the inside lane well before the lane merger? I’m sure you have answered this before but I would like to know> thanks

  3. Okay, yes. Legally, you don’t have to move over, slow down, or speed up when someone else is trying to merge. But are you really that much of a jerk? If you have room, be polite and move over. People who purposely match the speed of mergers are a bit self-involved. Would you really rather get in an accident and be “right” than move over and go about your day?

  4. This is becoming more and more a problem in this area. My pet peave is the “kind” person who slows down to let oncoming traffic enter. So the person entering the freeway slows and the person on the freeway slows and so the person merging slows and pretty soon we are all slamming on our brakes. What the heck people, it is pretty simple, the car entering the freeway just has to speed up or slow down or otherwise adjust their speed to merge safely. The key word in all of this is merge. It is not their god given right to enter the freeway. Look up the definition if you don’t understand the concept.

  5. This (or something similar)came up a few years back. If I remember right you responded by saying the person on the thoroughfare did not have the right of way.

  6. I hope that’s not correct, as a person in a lane that is ending has always had to yield to anyone in a lane that is continuing on, barring the presence of a sign or police officer saying otherwise.

  7. I am constantly reminded every time I approach an on-ramp just how stupid you people are to think that vehicles in the outside lane should get over to make room for merging traffic. How can anyone think that a vehicle traveling five to ten miles per hour slower than the traffic in the lane next to them is in a position to safely change lanes? These are the same people that first slow down, then speed up, then slow down again, then change lanes, and then, maybe, look to see if it was clear. You can’t be serious when you say that this should be the preferred, the ‘moral’ method. It is dangerous.

    And speaking of reaview mirrors: I am certain that many of you out there have not looked in your rearview mirrors since ‘Driver’s Ed’. It quite obvious when the mirror is pointed at the ground or into the sky or you have to raise up, or crane your neck to see into it.

  8. I may have remembered this incorrectly, but on or about the same year the law changed making it illegal to drive continuously in the left lane , it seems to me a law also went into effect saying that if it is safe to move from the outside lane to an inside lane when someone is merging parallel to you onto the highway, you should do so. It was back when those new laws appeared on our drivers license renewal paperwork.

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