This is an oldie but a goodie that we’ve explored in the column some months back. Gonzo blogger Michael A. Howdyshell resurrected it with a comment posted to a different thread this morning. Here is what he wrote:
I have a rant for you and I rarely rant about much. Merging onto 581 South at Orange Avenue. Don’t the driver education class’s teach merging anymore? Yesterday I witnessed a car that stopped as it came up on 581 I simply passed the car on right, as others did, and proceeded onward. Out of respect for propriety I will not mention the gender of the driver. This is very dangerous. The merge lane is designed for the merging vehicle to attain the speed of the ongoing traffic. I understand this particular entry ramp is a little difficult as cars are exiting 581 to Orange Avenue East, however that does not change the basic skill of merging does not involve stopping. To make this current for the blog I think the people that stop on the entry ramp are probably 1) not Virginians and 2) probably liberals.
Michael is certainly right about one thing: There are lots of drivers around Roanoke who reflexively stomp on their brakes when they should be hitting the gas pedal.
But like any good blogging provocateur, he had to blame it on liberals and/or non-natives who have been allowed in the wonderful commonwealth thanks to the good graces of the REAL Virginians. Heh, heh. And get a gender reference in there, too.
Then Elliot chimed in:
Even though this is off the topic of the post, I’m going to respond to Michael. Being from NY originally (although I’ve been here for 9 years now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else), I’ve got to disagree with one of your two assessments. You are correct that people who stop on on-ramps are most likely liberals, but the “not Virginians” claim is backwards.
After moving down here I was shocked at how many people don’t know how to merge. It was a drastic difference from anywhere else I’ve been. People will stop even when there are no cars coming. Orange to 581 is the worst but not the only place this happens. I think Liberal Virginians are the culprit.
And then some others, including Jason.
I understand the irritation. It gets to me, too. And I also get frustrated by:
Drivers running 10 mph under the speed limit (without any obvious reason for doing so);
And, by “biased” traffic lights such as the one at Grandin/Brandon southwest, where the cars on Brandon get all the time in the world to clear the intersection but barely 10 cars in line on Grandin, if that many, can make it through. Thus, many Grandin drivers have to sit through 2 stoplight cycles.
What do YOU say?
Please add you merging/traffic gripes here!