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Merging drivers
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Ross: Let’s pay drivers who actually know how to merge

Maybe it's time to incentivize proper merging. (WSDOT)

Summer will mean more cities with out-of-town drivers unfamiliar with local driving culture. And the thing that confuses them most is merging.

WSDOT joins zipper merge crusade in new video
Drivers: You’re still doing the zipper merge wrong

Driving instructors will tell you that too many drivers just don’t get it

“Merging onto a freeway is a team event and everyone needs to participate,” one instructor notes.

And yet even people who seem completely normal when they’re not driving, will behave like a hungry harbor seal when you try to merge into their lane. They are deeply offended that you consider yourself even remotely worthy of a place in line, like it’s your fault your lane is ending.

Someday, of course, our smart phones will automatically call up nearby drivers so we can ask politely to be allowed in.  But until that day, how about this idea:

Pay cash!

Set up cameras at merge points, and once a month, a random driver who politely allows someone to merge gets a check for $10,000!

We’re familiar with the opposite approach, like the one time I went 25 in a 20 mile an hour school zone, and it cost me $234 (which is why now I drive 19 miles an hour pretty much everywhere I go).

But a chance at getting $10,000 for a clean merge? That would work even better. Drivers will be rolling down their windows begging you to merge in front of them!

Even though only one driver gets the money, everybody wins.

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