Driving into Fort Worth from the west on I-30 has presented motorists with a quandary this week.

A construction project means traffic is being funneled into one lane. A sign tells motorists to merge left one mile ahead. Some drivers think that means immediately begin looking for a place to merge left. Other drivers think that means punch the accelerator and drive in the right-hand lane for as far as they can.


But it’s rude to pass up everybody in the left lane and then try to cut into the line at the very last minute. It also gums up things and slows down the process. One long line means drivers can focus on just the car ahead of them and not worry about line jumpers trying to squeeze a 15-foot long vehicle into the 6-foot space between your car and the one in front of you.

But one of my esteemed colleagues who shall remain nameless says drivers should stay in the right lane until the merge point, then move into the left lane.

“If everybody meets at the merge point, the line goes faster,” my co-worker said. “It’s better to have two lanes funneling into one, instead of a long super line.”

I asked him how he knows this.

“Experience,” he says.

But I’m older than him and so I’m more experienced, and I think he’s wrong. Waiting until the end not only slows things down, it’s just plain rude.

“It’s not cutting in line,” he insists. “The merge point is where the line officially starts. The merge point is to move as much traffic as possible through the construction zone.”

He says road crews know what they are doing and they expect the vehicles in right lane to stay there until the merge point.

Then, his true colors begin to show: “You wait in the long-ass line, I’m going to get in the fast lane and we’ll see who is going to get there quicker,” he says.

In conclusion, he characterized people in the left lane as “sheep” and the ones that remain in the right lane until the last minute as “wolves.”

So, I guess I’m a sheep. A courteous sheep. Not a line-jumping and self-centered wolf who roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers of all things.

I’m taking an informal survey on this – who’s right, me or the wolf?


  1. I try and merge prior to the close, but in the Eastern Seaboard, they seem to prefer a “late merge”. PA has such a system.


    and at the merge point: MERGE HERE TAKE YOUR TURN

  2. It should be like a zipper if done properly. I have noticed that most drivers in this state don’t think that way though. They think like the author and sheepishly form one long line and then wolfishly deny any attempts of drivers with a blinker on at the merge point from merging. This causes road rage incidents and accidents.

    Two lanes of traffic to the merge point and then zipper in line.

  3. Jeff,

    I actually agree with you for once. I make that commute each day and hate it when people do that. The same thing happens on the I-30 I-35 overpass… going 30 west to 35 north… people get in the right lane on the bridge and zip past everyone and then bulldog their way over. It sucks.

    Professor Buddy.

  4. Definitely the sheep.

    Haven’t always felt that way, that’s where I learned this next bit: you always have to wave when someone lets you merge late. Always.

  5. if you blow past everybody in left lane and wait to the very end to merge, you are depending on somebody — somebody that you already cut in front of — to be nice and let you in. if you’ve ever felt even a tinge of guilt when you do that then you know you are wrong. but most wolves probably don’t feel guilt, they just devour the sheep, take a dump and move on.

    sheep are sweet and cuddly.

    wolves are mean and violent and sometimes kill each other to establish their alpha position in the pack.

    i suppose nature needs both creatures but sheep are nicer.

    and they make good sex partners…at least that’s what the students at Tarleton State say.

  6. I stay in the right lane, but keep my vehicle abreast of the driver next to me, thus blocking the right lane all the way to the merge point. This forces the traffic behind me in the right lane to merge naturally, rather than screw over as many people as possible in the left lane. Then when I reach the merge, the driver in the left lane is usually quite happy to let me in.