Question: Who is responsible for mitigating speed when a vehicle approaches freeway traffic using an on-ramp? I teach high school and am always freaked out and dismayed when I hear students tell me they are being taught that they should maintain constant speed when entering the freeway and that it is the responsibility of the freeway driver to accommodate the entering car.
I believe it may be polite for a freeway driver to change lanes, speed up, or slow down, but it also can be confusing to the entering car, increase danger erratically changing lanes, and force the freeway driver into more dangerous driving situations that the entering car could have prevented by paying attention. Please clarify for me.
Answer: The vehicle/driver who is merging into traffic on the freeway is responsible to do so safely. The vehicle on the freeway has the right of way, as in any merging situation. I would hope that what the students are being taught is to use the freeway on-ramp as the "acceleration lane" it is designed, to allow them to get up to a proper speed to merge into traffic in a safe manner.
Q: Could you please explain to people the importance of learning how to use the roundabouts? I don't think people know that you must yield to the cars on your LEFT. We've been trained that the person on the right has the right of way, but that's not true in a roundabout.
A: The correct way to use the roundabout is to yield to the vehicle in the roundabout (which is the vehicle approaching from your left) as you prepare to merge into the roundabout. The other portion of safely using the roundabout is to slow down to a reasonably safe speed so you can stay within your lane.
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DAVID WRIGHT is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.