Attention highway drivers: Stop changing lanes so much in traffic

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Good day, commuters!

What a beautiful week it’s going to be — nothing but sun. I’m not fooled though. My winter tires are going on today and I’ve ordered four cords of firewood.

There’s some catch basin work happening today which will close a section of the eastbound right lane of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, west of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

I’m always looking to share some of your commuter observations, pet peeves, hated intersections and road conditions.

Grant sent me this little rant about merging. He writes:

“A couple weeks ago I was doing a quick run to the orthodontist in Orléans during my lunch hour. I know that round-trip, it takes 60 minutes and I plan all my meetings accordingly under normal circumstances. On Aug. 31, however, plans went awry. Construction lane closures just past Nicholas meant my plan would be slowed down.

“I see the traffic get snarled, all the cars darting left, right and any lane that moves an inch faster in order to try and get ahead. Cars pulling out from the normal lanes into on-ramp lanes so they can pretend like they just got on the highway. They might be late, I get it… maybe they’re darting to something more important! Surely they all have pregnant wives and are jetting from their work in the east end to the Queensway-Carleton to witness their newborn or something to justify so much lane changing.

“Nope, they’re just the standard drivers from Ottawa who, the moment they see ‘lane reduction,’ feel compelled to break a few additional driving laws in order to get an extra car ahead.

“The funny part of the story was, there were no lane closures at the time on the 417 just past Nicholas as the sign suggested. The only traffic was caused by drivers weaving in, out and causing undue braking because of their impatience. Twenty-five minutes of my day was lost in a mythical lane reduction because people believe their time is more important than everyone else’s. Right after the last exit prior to, traffic went back up to 100 km/h with barely a soul in sight.

“All the overhead signs that currently read ‘Slow down for construction zones’ should probably be changed soon to help re-educate drivers on the next big issue: ‘Excessive lane changing causes slowdowns and accidents.’ Nipping this one proactively might save us before the dreaded first snowfall when this problem will truly hit in earnest.”

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If you have a traffic or commuter gripe about driving, cycling or being a pedestrian commuter — anything from problem intersections, to parking, to inefficient routes — send it to me at​ [email protected].

And remember, you can share what you see on the roads with me on Twitter at @cbcotttraffic. Or give me a ring at 613-288-6900.

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