Catching Up to My Traffic Observations, Government Still Shouldn’t Take Action

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Back in 2013, I expressed frustration with Rhode Islanders’ willingness to merge early before a lane reduction and let “scum” take advantage of them by driving up the open lane to the very end and described the results when I decide to be a traffic vigilante:

I’ve tended to take that on as a cause of one.  Wherever my place should be, that’s where I stay, but in my own lane, with the length of empty road before me.  Without fail, as soon as the remaining scum in front of my blockade have been absorbed, the line, which had previously been at a standstill, begins to move smoothly.

But as proven by their waving arms and the number of times that I’ve had to sneak on to side roads to avoid road rage once the obstacle had been passed, the scum apparently feel that the moral advantage has been passed to them.  I am at fault, in their eyes, for preventing them from taking advantage of everybody else.

Well, whaddaya know:

There’s a growing consensus among many state transportation officials that when a lane closure is looming, getting drivers to use all available lanes until the point where cars need to merge can keep traffic moving more efficiently and safely, and even cut down on road rage.

The article is too delicate to explain the mechanism that makes it less efficient and safe when drivers get over too soon, but it’s clear nonetheless.  But come on, folks, we shouldn’t need government to cajole us into orderly cooperation.  If one individual out of every 50 or so drivers is willing to stand up to the scum, we’ll solve the problem entirely through private action and civil society.



  • The Misfit

    Interesting. I would say that your traffic actions prove the point of government more than it rejects. You state you operate on the road- the commonly shared road – not to take advantage- like the scum- but to enforce for yourself and others the idea of working together for the greater good with an understanding that the benefits of communal behavior out weighs singular libertarian me-first behavior. I totally agree. Driving down the highway doing 85- well it is comforting to know That others want to get to their places and do their things and understand the shared benefits of working together. Lets follow rules that we agree on and you go your way and Ill go mine. That is government

    • Justin Katz

      You miss the point, which is that we don’t need government for communal action. Government mainly gives somebody else the authority to tell us how we have to behave, not how we should.

  • The Misfit

    Donald Trump is the ultimate scum. Not only will he cut your line and take full advantage of your willingness to follow rules, but he will laugh in your face and call you a loser. You should be careful now. If you felt like you needed to take some detours to avoid road rage- well- what happens now?

    • Justin Katz

      He’s no worse than Obama on this count. The main difference is that Obama would put a gun in our faces and take our money as he insulted us.

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