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Dear Mahatma: I often encounter the convergence of two lanes of a highway or access road to one, with signage seeming to give ownership of the resulting single lane to one row of vehicles. The result is often a long line of cars proceeding slowly in one lane and refusing entry to those in the other. Wouldn't peace and safety be enhanced by requiring both lanes to merge carefully rather than attempting to give precedence to one or the other? -- One Seeking Guidance

Dear Seeker: Much has been pondered and written over the years in this space about merging. A good example of a merging conflict is where eastbound Interstate 630 flows into eastbound Interstate 30 right before the river bridge. Two lanes gradually turn into one lane.

Traffic can back up something fierce. People patiently wait in the right lane as more ambitious drivers make speedy progress in the left, then pause and wait to be let in. This sometimes inflames the passions of the patient people.

Get behind me, Satan! That's a biblical imprecation, dudes.

While lining up seems like the way of good citizenship, traffic engineers disagree. Both lanes are built to be used, they argue. So use them.

Dear Mahatma: If the actions of a large number of today's Pulaski County vehicle operators is the test or rule, then green means "go," red means "stop" (most of the time), and yellow means "GO FASTER!" -- Bill

Dear Bill: We have a son who lived for a few years in Seattle. He swears drivers there are much more obedient to red and yellow traffic lights than drivers are here.

Our personal rule of thumb is to give a decent pause after a light turns green, because some yahoo is sure to blow through. About half the time there is, indeed, a yahoo.

Some folks advocate for red-light cameras. Others say such devices are less a safety device than an opportunity for municipalities to raise money. Moot point either way. State law prohibits municipalities from installing red-light cameras.

It would be interesting for a legislator to introduce a bill in next year's regular session to allow such cameras. The debate would no doubt be hot.

Dear Mahatma: This Facebook post has generated lots of comments and anecdotes about near misses and fender benders. "After nearly getting hit several times lately, I thought I'd point out what I thought was obvious. If you're traveling on the access road in front of the big church (First Pentecostal in North Little Rock) you must yield to traffic exiting Interstate 30 on the exit ramp." -- Yikes!

Dear Yikes: A reminder to all. Folks, coming up the access road to JFK Boulevard, drivers must yield to traffic coming off Interstate 30.

Your correspondent was nearly creamed last week right there by an old boy in an old van with Oklahoma plates. He gets dispensation for being from out of town.

Vanity plate on a little-bitty Fiat: BAMBINO.

Metro on 03/03/2018

Print Headline: Use 2 lanes to merge, go in peace

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