I took my driver’s ed class with Mr. Pfeil. He was a phys ed teacher, and for him driving consisted of certain clear, immutable rules of conduct.
The problem is that most people don’t know what to do when they have the urge to merge. Mr. Pfeil would tell you that merging is easy: you look over your left shoulder, gauge traffic flow, select an opening, and accelerate smoothly into that opening. Of course, almost no one does that anymore. These days, it’s far more likely that you’ll run into one of these irksome merging techniques:
The sidler — The sidler relies entirely on pity. Rather than picking a spot and taking decisive action, he will sidle alongside the traffic flow, hoping that some good Samaritan will wave him in. If no good Samaritan appears, he jams on the brakes at the end of the on ramp and makes an wild, thrashing arm-in-the-air gesture. Good luck with that “smooth acceleration” approach if you are behind the sidler!
The magic elf — This driver typically can barely see over the steering wheel, is about 97 years old, and is driving a car built in the 1950s. He apparently is convinced that his turn signal has some mystical power, and so long as the turn signal is on an opening in traffic will magically appear to accept his vehicle. This guy inevitably shows up when you are in the traffic flow, drifting casually into your lane with his turn signal blinking.
The ball buster — The ball buster drives an oversized pickup truck and probably just left his appointment at a low testosterone treatment clinic. He barrels down the on ramp at top speed, jams into the traffic flow at his whim, and makes rude gestures while he is doing so. He figures his truck is going to come out on top in any collision, so what the heck?
I wish more of my fellow drivers had taken Mr. Pfeil’s class.