There is always a lot of confusion when it comes to changing lanes and more so when it comes to merging which can sometimes lead to anger behind the wheel or worse, road rage.
When you change lanes, you must give way to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into. This rule applies even if your lane is ending, and you have to cross a lane line.
Before you change lanes, you must indicate for long enough to give warning to other road users and you need to look in mirrors, a shoulder check and be sure to look in the blind spot of your vehicle. You must turn off your indicator after you have changed lanes.
When it comes to merging from an on ramp or similar, there are two different give way rules that apply, and each do the opposite of each other.
A lot of people believe you must give way to the right when merging, however that’s not the rule and there are different merging rules to remember.
The first is on roads where there are lanes marked on the road. If your lane comes to an end, you must give way to traffic already in the lane you are moving to. In this example, Vehicle A (white) must give way to Vehicle B (yellow).
The second rule is on roads where there are no lanes marked on the road. When lines of traffic merge, you must give way to any vehicle that is ahead of you. In this example, Vehicle B (yellow) must give way to Vehicle A (white).
Other important rules and things to remember when merging are to safely build up speed to match that of the traffic already on the motorway, look for a safe gap between the vehicles in the closest lane, watch for other vehicles entering from an on-ramp and adjust your speed and/or lane to allow them to enter safely and if you miss your exit, continue to the next exit and not shoot across all the lanes.
Let’s look at merging situation number one, when one marked lane comes to an end. If it’s your lane that’s ending, it’s just like any other lane change, you must give way to any traffic already in the lane you’re moving into. So here, vehicle A needs to give way to vehicle B. When the lane is clear, vehicle A is free to move across.
The other merging situation arises when there are no marked lanes, but different lines of traffic merging together into one. In this situation, you must give way to any vehicle that’s in front of you. So vehicle B needs to give way to vehicle A.
Doing it the right way is easy when you know how.