Just wanting to bring up a little PSA on what I have noticed is happening quite frequently in my area lately, now that the Summer heat has been helping more trucks find their way to the roadside for emergency repairs, blown tires, etc. The above picture illustrates a frequent type of area where I have been seeing drivers make their way over for just these types of incidents. Although not as safe as pulling off the interstate completely, I will for this example give these drivers the benefit of thinking they couldn’t make it to a safer location off of the freeway. The question does remain however, of what the safest method for merging back onto the highway would be from this position once repaired?
For some reason, the norm that I am seeing for re-entry onto the freeway is not that of the safest route, but more like the route for being most in a hurry. It is all too often I am seeing drivers pull straight back into flowing traffic from a standstill on the shoulder, which does nothing but create an extremely dangerous situation for a rear-end collision. Sure, if you get a rolling start you may get about 30-40 MPH built up before you cut over left into lanes. I know for a fact though that traffic does not move at less than double that speed if traffic is flowing here in Los Angeles, where the speed limit signs seem to serve as more of a suggestion to the motoring public. Add to the equation that you have plenty of people diving for the off-ramps at the last minute and you are actually making yourself the object of greatest resistance in their path.
Do the smart thing and pick the safe route in this situation. If you can see ahead like the picture here with multiple arrows, that your re-entry has a straight off-ramp and onramp back onto the freeway, use the ramps to help you out. By doing so you will not have to fight your way back into much faster moving traffic and can use the onramp across from your exit ramp to do what it was actually designed for, building yourself back up to safe highway speeds to merge safely! Even if you are a distance slightly longer than pictured here, crawling to the off-ramp instead of merging right away may still be the best opportunity for a safe re-entry! The last thing you want is to have someone plow into your DOT bumper because you were in too much a hurry to take the extra minute or two to do it right!