Case in point…
I’ve cajoled on this site time and again about how ridiculous Detroit drivers can be. I’m reminded of the level of idiocy whenever I travel away from the city.
As I write from Pittsburgh, I want to give a prime example of why MDOT and the MVC sometime exacerbate the situation.
Regardless of our 12-month orange barrel season (which I firmly believe is a conspiracy between the Big Three, MDOT and contractors – more on that later), there are some rules of the road that make NO sense. One is regarding lane closures…
I was driving here in Pittsburgh last night, and came upon a lane closure on I-79. These never seem to bother me in Pennsylvania (while they drive me BATTY in Michigan) because of the way they’re handled. Here, the law says that all lanes should be used as far as possible before a car-by-car merge. In other words, if the right lane on a 2-lane highway is closed, cars drive all the way up the merge point, then cars take turns merging. AMAZINGLY, the jams aren’t as long, and people let each other in regularly as the law requires.
IN CONTRAST, the Michigan law states that, using the same example, as soon as a driver in the right lane sees the ‘blinking arrow’ indicator sign, the car must merge ASAP. So, why does it matter? Let’s see:
a) half the drivers ignore the rule and speed quickly to the end of the lane, then force their merge between angry drivers that are POd at the ‘cheating’ driver (if you’ve ever driven to a Wings game, and driven on Jefferson under Cobo, you know EXACTLY what I mean);
b) Bernoulli’s principle, baby: why put all the cars in one lane before you have to? It creates more pressure in that lane, and wastes an open lane, sometimes for as long as a mile before the lane closure.
Nothing surprises me about the stupidity of the Michigan Vehicle Code, nor about Detroit/Michigan drivers. But there are definitely some obvious changes that could be made, just by looking at other states and seeing the success of their laws.