There are two types of people in the world: good people and people who use the turn lane to merge onto the busy highway.
Don’t believe me? Picture this: it’s 9 p.m., and you’ve realized you haven’t eaten dinner all day. Sure, it’s one of those days, but that’s no excuse. Burks Drive and Beebe-Capps Expressway are the only things standing between you and a boneless teriyaki Wings and Things plate at Zaxby’s. Burks Drive as your runway, you build your speed, roll through the stop sign onto Beebe-Capps, only to discover that the eastbound traffic on Beebe-Capps Expressway is moving quickly in your direction.
You panic. Your friends in the car scream, clutching their door handles and pearls, praying for safety. Your lives flash before your eyes. The chicken tenders are so close.
“I must use this turn lane to merge,” you think, wrong.
The eastbound motorists have similar thoughts. They panic and pray. Their friends scream, scooting away from the left side of the vehicle, fearing their immediate demise. The driver merges immediately right. The motorist in the far-right lane careens toward the shoulder. Suddenly, Beebe-Capps Expressway has turned from a hospitable motorway to the Autobahn covered in black ice.
“I must now merge from this turn lane,” you think, wrong again.
In your rearview mirror, helpless motorists look wide-eyed at the backside of your 2004 Camry. Your scuffed bumper and accompanying dents speak to similar motoring mistakes and wayward wheeling. They see your array of window stickers — 30A, Harding, “The Mountains are Calling” and your club letters. It’s a dead giveaway.
“Stupid kids,” they say between their heavy breaths, trying to recover the will and emotional capabilities to move their cars further down the road.
The Zaxby’s neon nears and the chicken tenders are dancing like sugarplums in your brain. You can practically taste the fries’ seasoning on your lips. You’ve reached your final destination but not without wreaking havoc — all because you used the turn lane to merge.
Up until recently, I always thought this heinous act was against roadway rules and regulations. It’s not the only roading recourse I’m at odds with either. Use your turn signal at all times, for crying out loud. Trying to merge into my lane without using your turn signal? No chance. I’ll risk the accident just to prove a point. And don’t even get me started on driving under the speed limit in the left lane. Nevertheless, I think the turn-lane-merge-and-pray method tops the list of worst of the worst.
When motorists commit the self-created crime, I scream and yell, asking the gods and goddesses to rain down heaps of traffic violations and asking God to help me keep my religion. But Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-309 spoke otherwise on the lawfulness of the act.
“It is permissible for a vehicle making a left-hand turn from an intersecting street or driveway to utilize a center left-turn lane as part of the maneuver to gain access to or to merge into the traffic lanes, except that it is not permissible to use the center left-turn lane as an acceleration lane,” the code states.
The code goes on to say that the turn lane is reserved only for left-hand turns — you may not use it to travel through or to pass unless you’re performing a left-hand turn.
Straight from the mouth of the law of the land, there it stands. You can use the blasted lane to merge into oncoming traffic, endangering the lives of those in your car and those surrounding you, causing severe mental and emotional trauma and disrupting a normal flow of traffic through a pleasantly peaceful neighborhood. Eat your heart out, kid.