By on April 4, 2014

300m2

At the big blue water tower, Interstate 90, known locally as the New York State Thruway, sweeps in from the east and turns sharply southward to skirt the city of Buffalo. The main interstate is joined there by I-290, one of the loop roads that comes in from the north, and although the roads are both heavily traveled, the intersection is not especially well thought out. The 290, three lanes wide, makes a clean split, the leftmost lane joining the eastbound lanes of the 90 while the rightmost lane heads up and over an overpass before joining the westbound lanes. The middle lane offers drivers the opportunity to turn either way but most people opt to take the west bound exit and, because the right most lane is eventually forced to merge into the left lane prior to actually joining the 90, most people tend to hang in the middle lane prior to the split and, during rush hour, traffic tends to slow. Naturally, wherever cars slow, dickheads want to use the open lane to pass and then merge at the last moment.

Headed south in the early morning hours, traffic was moving along fairly well and I, in my 300M, was in line with dozens of other cars in the center lane when the big blue water tower and the 290/90 split hove into view. As usual, traffic began to slow, but there were no brake lights. Gradually, our speed dropped from the posted limit to around 40 miles and hour and I, along with everyone else in-line, stayed to the right as the center lane divided, a bare car length between me and the driver ahead. Given the distance, my attention was focused up the road rather than my mirrors so I was shocked when, out of the corner of my eye, I detected something that simply should not have been there, a car on my left.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Spree Magazine

I hadn’t seen him approach, but there was only one way the light blue Nissan Cube could have shown up there. He had run up the left most lane faster than those of us in line and then, instead of staying left and heading east towards Rochester, he had gone straight-on across the center lane split and was now on the left shoulder and moving a good ten mph faster than the rest of us. In a millisecond he swept past, narrowly missing the side of my prized old Chrysler and then, hard on the brakes, stuffed his little econo-box into the small space between my car and the one I had been following.

Generally, I’m not prone to road rage, but in the moments that followed I saw red. Instead of jumping on the brakes and opening the space between us I stayed right in position bare inches from the offending car’s back bumper. The road moved up and over a small bridge and, on the other side, headed down to the 90 where it became the rightmost lane. At that point, most of the fast cars will generally shift left and scoot away while those of us headed downtown will shift onto the exit for Route 33. To my surprise, instead of moving left and making his getaway, the Cube turned right and since I just happened to be headed the same way I did so too. We ran down the off ramp just inches apart and, as we joined the highway headed downtown, I bumped the big Chrysler into “autostick” mode.

Nissan Cube

As we hit the merge I bumped the 300 down a gear and mashed the gas. The engine spun up and the sound that came out of the back was glorious. I drove the car into the left lane fully expecting to outgun the little Cube and to give him a taste of his own medicine as he attempted to merge but, alas, he wasn’t there. As the Chrysler surged forward, so too did the little economy car and, foot by foot as both of us stayed hard on the gas, the Cube slipped smoothly away.

Looking back on it, I didn’t act very smart that day. Had the Cube caused an accident I might have been justified in being upset but once he had managed to stuff his car into the gap I should have backed off and let him go. Still, I learned something about how quickly technology has advanced and how smaller cars with better performing engines are more than a match for older, larger “performance” (if that’s the right word for a 300M) sedans. The best thing is, of course, that no one had to be hurt to learn that lesson.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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97 Comments on “Final Fight Of The 300...”


  • avatar
    LALoser

    Ahhh life. Everyday has a new lesson.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Hard to believe, a Cube running away from a 300m. And, yes, this is a performance car. And at the time of its launch was the fastest ever 300 letter car.

    On top of that it gets great MPG, doesn’t handle to bad and is very comfortable with a very good sound system. It would have been nice if its back seat had laid down for IKEA loads, but it does have a little window for long stuff through the armrest. These cars did have some build issues particularly with the weather stripping, and then it was possessed with gremlins in the form of its lights which would turn on at odd times. With Dad’s, it was a problem from new, then went away for a few years, now it is back and leaving him with a dead battery nearly every morning. Other then that the car has been trouble free at 140,+++ miles.

    I have put a few thousand miles on my step-dad’s bought new 300M and it was always comfortable, economical ride. Grab some of your favorite CD’s, fill the tank and head out, 300 miles just fly by. Never cared(trusted) for its handling in the curves and on-ramps(torque steer), but it was competent enough for relaxed cruising.

    It is one car I do recommend to friends looking for pretty good used sedan.

    Dad’s will soon be replaced with a new Chrysler ’200′.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Hard to believe, a Cube running away from a 300m.”

      One of the underappreciated benefits of a CVT is its ability to jump directly into the fat part of the powerband and stay there for a while, versus the in-and-out of a conventional automatic or manual.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        A Cube makes 122hp and weighs ~2800 lbs.
        A 300M makes 250hp and weighs ~3600 lbs.

        How can a Cube win a (guessing) 40 to 80 mph drag race against a 300M? Even with the CVT, you’d think the 300M would reel him in and then walk away.

        Not calling Kruetzer a liar…I’m just puzzled. Was this Nissan’s top-secret NISMO turbo Cube? The Grassroots Motorsports LS6 engine-swapped Cube?

        • 0 avatar

          Beats me. I think he had the fear of God on his side or something. I was flat shocked he could walk me like that.

          • 0 avatar
            morbo

            Don’t feel bad. Whenever I go into moron mode and do similar stupid things in my 300C, they don’t walk away from me.

            Although there is a momentary pause when the MDS kicks off, the four off cylinders spool back up, and the transmission downshifts, auto stick mode or not.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            You don’t know what is under the bonnet of the Cube.

            One day at a set of traffic lights a rather ordinary Holden Rodeo pulled up alongside my friends HSV wagon. I was the passenger. The Rodeo had a HSV badge on the tailgate of the ute.

            My friend was pointing and laughing at the ute and the ute driver took notice.

            When the light turned green there was an eruption of noise and smoke of the rear wheels.

            My friend also learnt a lesson that day.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            It’s always a shock when some car that should be slower, almost has to be, and it either walks you, or it just stays next to you, and you think, “WTF?”. My first shock came when I had bought my first new car, a ’74 Roadrunner, with the pretty decent 360 4 Barrel/dual exhaust motor in it, with 3.55 gearing. My friend had a 70+1/2 Camaro, with a 307 2 barrel with (I think(, 3.07 gears and the stock single exhaust. I thought, and so did he, that I would destroy him. Instead, we launched pretty evenly, and he just stayed there, on my right, all the way to the finish line, the back of his yard, which butted up to the road. I was stunned, and angry. I took it over to a friend who was good with cars, and he found the one problem almost instantly, the rear barrels on the carb were only opening about 75%! After he adjusted the linkage, it ran a lot better, but it made another issue worse, from day one, the car seemed to have problems shifting into 3rd/drive under power. So, a trip to the dealer, who fixed it very quickly, and proved it with the scariest “test drive” I’ve ever been on, reaching speeds of 120 MPH on some pretty bad roads, epeatedly proving the car was running pretty well. A rematch, actually 3 of them, this time at Milan Dragway finally went the way it should have, I not only cut much better lights (I always was pretty good at it), my car beat his by a second or more, every time, and I was very happy. He put dual exhaust on his car, and a 4 barrel carb, but he still couldn’t keep up with me, as I had recurved the distributor, added a bigger (taller) air filter and flipped the lid, and put a carb spacer/insulator under the carb which seemed to give it a little stronger lower end. Eventually, just before I stupidly traded it in April of 1977, I had the Roadrunner running 13.90′s. I wouldn’t have a 13 second car again until 1980, and making a 403 Olds powered Trans Am run 13.30′s was a lot harder then making the 360 do it.

        • 0 avatar
          Brian P

          It’s pretty likely that the 300M might have made 250 hp once upon a time, but it doesn’t do that any more …

          • 0 avatar
            bachewy

            Reminds me of my ’77 Camaro Type LT with a 305 an 2-barrel. I bought it right after high school in late 84 and was the quickest thing I had owned. Yeah, that’s not saying much :) I thought I was fast, though, until I met a ’85 Fox body Mustang GT. We did a roll-on from 55MPH and he simply destroyed me.

            Same thing happened when I ran across a Supra Turbo. It was educational just how fast those little Japanese coupes could be.

            For your 300, I imagine it’s old enough to be down on power. Plus the CVT of the Cube keeps it in the power range at full throttle.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Nissan Cube

          Engine: 1.8-liter inline-4

          Horsepower: 122

          0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds

          300m 0-60 mph of 7.4

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @bumpy ii: I think you’ve nailed it. An a CVT tied to an engine in its power band is pretty quick. I was amazed at the responsiveness of a Versa CVT that I test drove; it was second only to my Leaf EV.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          The response of a CVT when dropping down to higher ratios is usually quite slow.

          And a 2-second difference in 0-60MPH, is harder to overcome at most speeds then from a standing start. In motion the CVT would be at a disadvantage in immediate acceleration situations.

          So in my experienced(Racing F440′s/F500′s) opinion, the CVT didn’t help the Cube get away from the 300M. Something else was at play in the situation.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The 2001 300M I used to own had fold down rear seats. They didn’t fold flat, but it was good enough for what I needed it for.

    • 0 avatar
      msquare

      My dad’s 300M has a split folding rear seat and carries IKEA flat packs very well.

      The second-gen LH platform was a good one. Shame Chrysler couldn’t continue it in some form.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Reg; “The 2001 300M I used to own had fold down rear seats.” _ “My dad’s 300M has a split folding rear seat and carries IKEA flat packs very well.”

        Interesting, Dad’s is a 99′, and is fully optioned, so maybe the later Chrysler added that feature? Couldn’t find anything on the www about the feature being offered on the 300M. Maybe it does and I just didn’t see it. Will have to look a bit closer at it.

        Called Dad and he says ‘only the drivers side half lays down’. Doesn’t make sense to me so will take another close look, first opportunity.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          It does!

          Dad owned the car for 13 years and didn’t know the whole seat back lays down? We have another selling feature for recommending 300M’s to prospective buyers.

          By the way, dad’s 300M got around 28-29mpg at a steady state 65mph on fairly level roads at up to a 1,000 feet above sea level. At 55-60mph I could get over 30mpg in good weather under the above conditions.

          Did you have similar mileage figures(?), Thomas.

          • 0 avatar

            No. Mine seemed to average about 20 mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Reg; “No. Mine seemed to average about 20 mpg.’

            ?_ On trips or in town? My figures were for trips of 175 miles, Portland-Seattle, and 250 miles, Grants Pass to Portland. In town the 300M gets about 20-21mpg.

            I was always impressed, because my 328is(before conversion) got similar mpg and it weighed less and only had 190Hp. The CD of the 300M is certainly a factor on the highway.

          • 0 avatar

            Mostly around town with all the accessories going. I was disappointed but I never drove it much. In the summers I always ran all the accessories and for those few times I drove it in the winter there was always a long warm up.

  • avatar
    319583076

    As you describe it, the Cube was illegal and wrong, but I take serious exception to this statement, “Naturally, wherever cars slow, dickheads want to use the open lane to pass and then merge at the last moment.”

    Efficient merging is accomplished at the point of the lanes merging and the general principle is – give one, take one. Just because the majority of drivers prefer to create traffic by lining up in one lane does not mean that your way is correct. Dickheads in these situations more often are people who straddle centerlines to prevent efficient merging. As a professed auto enthusiast, I’m frankly shocked at your ignorance and your attitude.

    • 0 avatar
      Stovebolt

      They’re dickheads.

      • 0 avatar
        NewLookFan

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Yup. There actually worse than that. For know areas where this happens, keep a few feet in front of you and stay direcly inline with the car in front. They will have to hit you to get in.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        You’re unequivocally wrong. See, for example,

        http://www.dot.state.mn.us/zippermerge/

        • 0 avatar
          Stovebolt

          Read both this and the NY Times article. The original description is not of a “zipper” merge (which I do every day on my commute, by the way). A proper merge occurs when the lanes reduce and drivers “take turns.” It’s not cutting in front of a bunch of people who have been waiting in line; that’s being a you-know-what.

          By the way, the Caldecott tunnel now has a fourth bore. Everyone is delighted, except possibly the public servants who moved the center tunnel lane separators twice daily-commute West in the AM and East in the PM.

    • 0 avatar
      dude500

      NY Times has discussed this problem: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03traffic-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      The worst is the guys who stop in the middle of the open lane, put on their signal, and wait for someone to let them in before getting to the merge point. GO to the merge point, zipper in. There’s no reason to double the length of the back-up because early mergers want to get “in line.” There’s not a new iPhone at the end!

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        +1 Having an open unused lane leading to a merge point with a line of traffic beside it, as opposed to using the lane and merging at the merge point seems to encourage agreesive and passive aggressive driving of all kinds.

        The lane is there for a reason – just use it coureteously and safely

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I see this all the time on I-405 Northbound at Exit 23 to Woodinville.

        Drivers will come to a dead stop in the HOV lane, to wait until they can get into the left lane. Merge into left lane and then ccme to a dead stop again, to merge into the middle lane. To then come to a dead stop again, to merge into the right lane. To come to a dead stop again, to merge into the exit lane to go to Woodinville.

        Instead of exiting the HOV lane about 3/4 mile out and do a clean zipper merge to the exit, they wait until the last second – because God freakin’ forbid they have to sit in stop and go traffic for 3/4 or 1/2 a mile before exiting. Instead they cause a car accident back at Exit 22 when the traffic suddenly comes to a dead stop – which ripples back to the SH-520 interchange.

        Feckin’ morons.

        • 0 avatar

          Seattle area traffic is about a bazillion times worse than Buffalo traffic. They don’t even have HOV lanes here because they are absolutely not needed.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            No HOV lanes in the Seattle area… since when?

            Edit; Probably referring to the Buffalo area.

          • 0 avatar

            Here = Buffalo for me.

          • 0 avatar
            tekdemon

            Having lived in Buffalo for several years I have to say I’m surprised by your story, most people are super nice drivers around there-sometimes *too* nice, I remember more than one awkward wait at an all way stop because the person who had right of way was trying to be nice and let me go. Yes there are still plenty of idiots, like the guy who rammed into my bumper when I was at a stop sign waiting to merge onto 33-apparently not seeing either my car nor the stop sign nor the stream of cars blasting by at 60mph in front of him-who gave me a monthlong headache that made me wonder if I was slowly bleeding to death inside of my brain. Still, even then I found people to be sheepish and friendly and mostly honest when they screwed up. Everyone in Buffalo was always way more friendly than I would have expected, as someone who grew up in NYC. Even the worst traffic in Buffalo wasn’t ever really that bad.

            Now, there were still encounters with horrible drivers but typically this was on a weekend night with drunk idiots swerving all over the place because unfortunately Buffalo’s public transportation isn’t the most user friendly (despite there being a subway) so more than once I’ve seen someone who’s very obviously intoxicated swerving all over main, and I also remember the time when a drunk driver passed out in the McDonald’s drive through. *sigh*

            Honestly, drunk morons aside Buffalo is probably one of the best places to drive I’ve ever been, and I lived there for many years-it always amazed me how easy it was to get from downtown Buffalo out to the airport, park my car in the long term lot, and be in NYC an hour and a half later.

    • 0 avatar
      rmswins

      You are right that “Efficient merging is accomplished at the point of the lanes merging…”
      Now the article states;
      “…instead of staying left and heading east towards Rochester, [the Cube] had gone straight-on across the center lane split and was now on the left shoulder and moving a good ten mph faster than the rest of us.”
      So ideologically you should be agreeing with the author by this point because the Cube overshot the “point of the lanes merging.” I guess you could disagree with him still if overshooting the merge point qualifies as overly-efficient merging. 110% efficient? 55% of the time you are 110% in disagreement with yourself?

      You are also right that “Dickheads in these situations more often are people who straddle centerlines to prevent efficient merging.” but I’m not sure where you are going with that because there is no centerline if everyone is in one lane. The author mentions a center LANE, but that was in the lead-up to the incident. I’ll assume you are agreeing with the author that the Cube was a dickhead for ignoring the centerline, at the junction split, by driving over into the shoulder.

      Then we get to your conclusion;
      “Just because the majority of drivers prefer to create traffic by lining up in one lane does not mean that your way is correct.”
      You agree with the author twice, but at the last minute you pull an M. Night Shamalamalan.

      You should read this:
      http://gawker.com/npr-pulled-a-brilliant-april-fools-prank-on-people-who-1557745710

      (if the link gets scrubbed, Google “NPR April Fools 2014″)

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        What I said was that I agree with Thomas that the Cube is illegal and wrong in the situation he described. However, he generalized all merges and called those who use the open lane dickheads. I took exception to this and supported my objection with additional information. The zipper merge is the most efficient solution to merging two lanes into one. I’m not sure how you interpreted my posts otherwise, but I didn’t say what you think I said. I’m sure you feel very clever about your response, though.

        And…that NY Times article was ridiculously biased against proper merging. Traffic engineers design for efficiency, the irrational behavior of drivers thwarts those designs. Ask yourself this: How do you think autonomous cars would merge? Would they line up in one lane once alerted to a merge ahead based on the time they arrived at the intersection, or would they perform a zipper merge at the point of the merge? You folks that choose to line up and wait and then blow a gasket over folks that choose to do it as it was designed have a neurosis.

        And just to clarify, I’m not defending illegal actions or agressive driving. There is no argument here about how to merge legally and properly: use both lanes, then give one, take one.

        • 0 avatar
          Tinker

          I was required to go to Mountainview, CA for business, and experienced Californa’s idea of merging 6 lanes into 1. Of course as people realize that there are going to be 6 lanes ahead all attempting to move over at the same time, people would move left sooner, and sooner or later some dipstick would attempt to beat traffic by driving 80mph in the rightmost lane and then cut everyone else off. As this was the natural on-ramp from the hotel to the site I was visiting, it happened often enough that I went a different route, and continued further up the road and then came back after I had merged into the bulk of traffic in the left lanes, thus being protected by people preselected not to perform that bone-headed maneuver.

          So what do the clever guys do when they are faced by 6 lanes of on ramp? (I mean other than move to TX and drive Farm-to-Market and Ranch Roads to get to work?) I’d have a yard of new Teflon tubing in my head or an aneurism, if I had to put up with that daily for years.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Out gunned by a Cube? You’d be absolutely murdered by a KIA Soul then.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      This is a sad day for the American car. Losing to an asymmetrical toaster. At least it wasn’t being driven by hamsters wearing ugly pants.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Soul’s are much slower the a Cube…>

      Kia Soul

      Engine: 2.0 liter

      Horsepower: 142

      0-60 mph: 9.9 seconds
      ………………..
      Nissan Cube

      Engine: 1.8-liter inline-4

      Horsepower: 122

      0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds
      ……………………

      The boxy speedster>

      Scion xB

      Engine: 2.4-liter 4-cylinder

      Horsepower: 158

      0-60 mph: 8.9 seconds

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      They both look like someone stuck some wheels on a baby shoe and called it a day.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Road rage and tailgating? Yeah, I used to do that. I fully sympathize.

    I finally trained myself several years ago just to back off and let them be a dickhead or the equivalent term for a female doing the same stunts.

    It’s hard to do. I’ve actually had to pull off and cool down a few times.

    I’ve decided they are just not worth the risk to my insurance, bank account, or driving record should something happen and I get charged with being at fault.

    I always hope they crash out sometime down the road.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    You should have video taped the whole thing and cackled after the Cube wrecked.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Ah, the New York State thruway, the scene of my absolute favorite road rage example. Heading southbound back towards the city on a Sunday night there was a huge backup at the tollbooths (this is back in the late nineties). Someone drove all the way to the front of the line in a closed toll lane and tried to merge in right in front of the booth. Of course, nobody was going to let him in. After a few minutes to inching, waving, and yelling he decides to force his way in, literally. It was truly a sight to behold– two cars going through the booth at once, extruding out a 1.5 car width mass of twisted metal and broken glass on the other side.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Had the Cube caused an accident I might have been justified in being upset but once he had managed to stuff his car into the gap I should have backed off and let him go.”

    I might wager the Cube driver would be toast and rightly so, you would probably have survived in the 300 but I’m not familiar with Chrysler safety systems.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah, we were headed the same direction, he’d have just side swiped me.

      The funny thing is, not everyone goes right at the split. It seems like there is an accident there dang near every day. These people are diving in from the left and crossing a lane of traffic to merge at more than the last second. I’m not talking about your normal zipper merge.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        A normal zipper merge is on the right, and shouldn’t be hard to negotiate. These kinds of middle of the highway splits are too common on the east coast, and they ARE accidents waiting to happen, where there’s a single lane that gives drivers an either/or decision.

        In California, the highway department eliminates that center option lane wherever possible, forcing a motorist who wants to change direction to change lanes. That eliminates SOME indecision, but not ill-advised, last second moves by motorists.

        When I was in highway design, we were told to design for the lowest common denominator, but the variations of stupid are infinite, while we were limited to the rules of geometry and the laws of physics.

        • 0 avatar

          Its about the most piss poor interchange I’ve ever seen. It’s really hard to describe in detail but the right two lanes go up and over a small hill and then the rightmost LA e is forced to merge into the left. About 300 feet after that another on ramp joins the highway as the rightmost lane and that lane leads onto another restricted access highway, route 33.

          You get all these lanes of traffic from the 290 being compressed into a single lane and then ten line of cafs splitting to jump into the fast lanes on 90 or diving into the new slow lane to exit. To make matters worse, you also have people coming in from westbound 90 trying to dive from the left lanes all tne wah right to exit at 33 and people on the on ramp trying to get left. It’s just nuts.

          Its usually OK when I go in to work in the mornings, but I’m always way early, on the way home, however, most every night there is some kind of rear end accident or fender bender in those lanes as I go past in the opposite direction. Its just silliness.

          • 0 avatar
            buffknut

            Thomas, I have been entering that exchange from the westbound 90 heading to the 33 for some 20 years now. I make that merge right about 7:30 in the morning and it is a real free-for-all. I am amazed that there isn’t an accident every day.

            I read somewhere that there is a plan to re-design it.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @28 Cars Later
      Generally what causes accidents is difference in speed. Vehicles going in the same direction tend to be involved in less accidents with each other, even with some Tom Foolery occurring, a perfect example is motor racing.

      Remember it isn’t speed that kills, but difference in speed.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I leave plenty of space between my car and the one in front. In heavy traffic, enough space to ride out the standing waves. It might cost me 30 seconds of travel time, but it is a heck of a lot more relaxing. Anyone who wants to zip in there is not going to get my blood pressure up.

    Life is too short to get upset at other people doing stupid things that don’t really affect you. There are enough things to get upset about that DO affect you.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Final flight? What happened? Did the Ultradrive do what it did best, or did you drive it straight to CarMax, sell it and buy a Cube?

  • avatar

    God I wish that had been me…

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I went to college in Buffalo and know that stretch of road well. Always hated it.

    As for the Kia, eh. It’s like Adele Dazeem nee Idina Menzel sang, Let It Go.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    The funny thing about lane crashers, is a traffic study has them helping the flow of traffic.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Yes. The infamous sleeper move. His was not as elegant or subtle on this day but I imagine he was attempting said move when he happened upon you.
    We’ve all done it and now with the distracted driving proliferating, pole positioning ala the sleeper is easier to do. If you didn’t have to hit your brakes to accommodate this guy then you can’t fault him all that much TK. He got you fair and square. As the Brits say, “Mind the Gap!”

  • avatar
    rmswins

    When I read the article, I interpreted the Cube as merging from the shoulder. People seem to be talking about zipper merges as if it’s a legal maneuver from the SHOULDER.

    Either way, I commiserate with the author. I’ve had far too many incidents like this on my daily commute into Los Angeles from Orange County. Just when I think I’ve tempered myself, someone will catch me in the wrong mood on the wrong day.

    The best thing I’ve seen was a brand new BMW 7 Series that dive-bombed, across the double yellow, into the carpool lane. I had to get on the brakes pretty hard from ~60mph down to ~35 since there was no run-off room and I was driving my 1997 Ranger. An 1/8th of a mile ahead, there was a large sign marking the legal carpool entrance/opening. Before I could finish cussing or checking my stool for blood, a moto-CHP comes flying by and flags the BMW. The BMW ends up using that carpool opening to start the pull-over procedure.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    It would be optimal if everyone waited to merge while calmly sorting and getting ready to alternate. Signage should be used to educate people on this, but we don’t seem to spend money on signs anymore so much of the extra lanes go unused and cause issues as people mistakenly merge early trying to be polite.

    What would be really cool would be the satisfaction of checking a jerk into the wall, but of course we shouldn’t do it.

  • avatar
    blppt

    Sort of related—I continue to find it absolutely astonishing that morons cant bear the thought of GOING TO THE NEXT LIGHT(EXIT) and TURNING AROUND if they miss their turn. Nope, they’d rather swerve across 3 lanes of traffic and possibly kill somebody else instead of losing 3-5 minutes of travel time.

    Now, if its 20 miles to the next exit (such as the NYS thruway in rural spots), its at least somewhat understandable.

  • avatar
    Number6

    After living in Worcester MA and Annapolis, I always thought WNY drivers were better than those folks. Sometimes I wonder, and the reason, each and every time, is because I took the 290 home. The rightmost lanes move the fastest because all the waterheads in the left lane slow and let the right-lane swine merge. That road design is nothing short of idiotic. For me, the 190 adds only 2 miles to the commute, so that’s the preferred drive.

    • 0 avatar

      These days I just run in the right lane the who way down from Millersport highway and zipper in at the bottom. I notice a lot of the left laners will run up fast until a half mile from the interchange and then shift all the way right. It’s definitely the fast way through.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> For me, the 190 adds only 2 miles to the commute, so that’s the preferred drive.

      When I go to Worcester, I prefer 190 too. It’s so much more relaxing. Mainly because it doesn’t have the insane truck traffic you get on 290/495. Also, the idiots in the left lane that can’t maintain the speed limit on the hill on 290 westbound at Shrewsbury drive me crazy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Fun fact: An ’89 Bonneville can run down a speeding 3rd gen Ford Expedition.

    But he started it.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    We have a local interchange in the Toledo area, Maumee actually, where I475/US23 and the Anthony Wayne Trail/US24 come together. People seem to have a real problem merging here, a lot of people, being afraid to actually put the accelerator to the floor, instead stop on the ramp and wait for the sometimes endless strings of semis to pass before they finally merge onto 475. For some reason, Nissan Altimas seem to be the idiot’s car of choice when they do this. Usually grey or silver, with 2.5 engine badges on the back. I have been nearly rear ended about a half dozen times when one of these morons slams on the brakes at the top of the ramp, making me stop, and then someone behind me having to slam their brakes on to keep from hitting me. One time, this Winter, actually, it was snowing, but wasn’t too bad. An Altima driver did his usual stop at the top of the ramp thing, but I was ready for him, and had no problem stopping behind him. Behind me, an F150 was going too fast, and he had to slam on his brakes to keep from hitting me. Well, he wound up getting sideways and sliding down into the “ditch”. I called 911 and an OSP car showed up before I even had a chance to get moving. The trooper asked me if I had been hit and I told him no and what had happened, and then he went and gave the Altima driver a short talking to. I have seen a lot of close calls on this ramp, and a lot of wrecks. Supposedly, it’s going to be completely redone in a few years. Couldn’t be soon enough for me. Now if they could only get some sense into the skulls of these morons…

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I’d be willing to bet that most of those Altimas have bar-code stickers on the side windows, so the drivers are likely unfamiliar with the road. I have often driven “like a moron” when out of town, in unfamiliar territory, because I try not to be too aggressive.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Which direction on the Trail to which direction on 475? SB towards Perrysburg? Or Northbound? (I know that the Salisbury ramp onto NB 475 is less than ideal–remember that accident that happened a couple summers ago–couple semis, a pickup and a motorcycle involved, and a couple good-Samaritans killed in the mess, and to top it off, one of the semi-drivers was seriously hurt after diving off the 475 overpass onto the Turnpike median below to avoid the second oncoming semi. One of the victims, IIRC, was coming down that ramp and was cut off by the second semi in the wreck.)

      People in the Toledo area in general, over the last eight years or so, have developed the general inability to merge; perhaps the advent of $3.50+/gallon gas was to blame! More often than not, I am stuck in a line (or the first car) behind someone who is barely breaking 50mph as they merge into traffic going at least 65mph! I’ve tracked it, and guess what??!! It doesn’t screw your MPGs up to use the “acceleration lane” to..ACCELERATE!!!

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    As far as losing the drag race goes, using *AutoSchtick* may have been your downfall. Unless you were holding 6,400-6600 RPM at the time you mashed the gas, you put yourself at a disadvantage: you bumped it down one gear, when the trans controller might have given you two if you had just left it in D. For selectable-gear automatics, save the manual control for hills and tight, curvy roads (were you want more engine braking.) For open road drag races, leaving it in *D* (and letting the computer pick the gear that will deliver maximum acceleration) is your best choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Oooh. That explains a lot. There’s no way I would have revved it that high on my own.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        You were in ‘Autostick’. As Copper stated, that explains it. The 300M’s autostick is a very clumsy mode in my experience. Good for controlling power in corner exits when playing with curves, but unless you are very aggressive in the auto stick mode and rev matching, it was slow acting and always seems tentative to me in the downshift. I figured it was set-up that way to avoid hard over revving induced from the axle driving the engine.

        In drive, the 300M quickly finds the lowest gear based on throttle position/vacuum while rev matching the engine and it just explodes with acceleration. Just have the wheels pointed in a straight line.

        You must have been in an aggressive mode, Thomas, if you were in Autostick.

  • avatar
    redav

    Why do people call roads “the” 90 or “the” 290? I’ve never understood that.

    • 0 avatar

      I think its a regional thing. When I lived in the Seattle area we never called any of the roads “the” anything. It sounded odd to me a t first, Brut I’ve picked up the habit and now it seems normal.

      • 0 avatar
        buffknut

        I suspect it’s because the roads have names and it used to be more prevalent to call the highway by its name, not number. For example, “the Kensington” became the 33, the Thruway became the 90, the Youngman became the 290 and the Scajacuada became the 198.

        When I was younger we called all the highways by “the” name.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          I used to drive “the Nimitz” before it mostly fell down and became 880, and there’s a “the Banfield” that I drive now when I’m tired of being on 84. Never have called the numbered highways “the #” though.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Chicago, too, has the Dan Ryan (I-94, IIRC) coming north from Gary, following the Red Line, the Kennedy (I-80/90, IIRC) from Downtown to O’Hare, etc. (Don’t recall the one that skirts the city to the south and west, and becomes the Northwest Tollway north of O’Hare.)

    • 0 avatar
      pb35

      It seems to be a west coast thing as far as I can tell.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    Damn you got murdered, more props to you for posting this story. Frankly I’d be embarrassed of the cube kill haha

    If I were you I’d avoid driving in NYC, EVERYONE is a douche and cut the line at off ramps and merges, they also don’t know the alternate merge etiquette. I keep a tight formation but don’t want them to ruin my car and will let them in, don’t even stress about it.

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    I think a lot of these merge/goober moves are because of an “I’m better/more important than you” mindset. Case in point;

    In Miami Gardens Fl there is one of the most horrendous sections of road known to man.Coming off the Palmetto Expressway heading east, to get on I-95 north, you twice have to move from right to left 3 lanes in the distance of about 1/3 mile. One evening trying to get back to my hotel, during rush hour(which seems to start at 6am and end at 2am)on the second merge the car behind me decided to jump into the spot that I was trying to get into(me=F-350/flatbed, him=Jag XJS). OK, fine. I head up the line a bit and merge in. Well, this seemed to enrage the Jag driver as suddenly he comes powering up along beside me, wanting to force is way in front of me again. I decided he could kiss my shiny white hiney and didn’t budge. He was now in the breakdown lane and had to swerve right to miss a mattress laying there. This put him in the grass, where there was a large hole that he found with the right front wheel.

    Don’t know and don’t care what the damage was to his Jag, but I hope it was expensive. Act like an ass, get treated like an ass.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    Looks like this is the location, right?

    http://goo.gl/maps/2FgPI

    It’s pretty easy in google maps to drop a pin and then share a link to it. Beats trying to describe the interchange in writing :)

    Btw what cured me of blocking people from getting in was pragmatic. I used to never let people who were zooming in the open lane in front of me. Thwarted they would just move farther up. I’d say to myself “I can’t wait to get up to end and see that jerk stuck there!” But you know what? That never happened. The jerk was never stuck there. He always managed to get in further up. So my blocking was not only futile, it ultimately improved his position.

    So if your mentality is that it’s not fair that they do that, let them in, knowing that you actually kept them from getting even better position!

    • 0 avatar
      Hemi

      Of course he could leave us with a “google pin”, but he’s painting us a fucking picture. God does no one read anymore? Should all books have photos instead of vivid descriptions forcing us to use our imaginations? Go back to your tweeting!

      I do however like your idea of people merging in front of you, rather than getting a better position.

      Also Tom, you want a “nimble” handling car, perhaps you need a car with some oomph.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I still occasionally feel the desire to force some disrespectful fool to recognize that he owes my whip RESPECT! I almost always drop it as not my job to educate them on my dime now. I noticed the change when, as a new father who drove ever so carefully when “the treasure” was in the car I one day wanted to drift an interchange in the rain and realized that even though she wasn’t in the car her only father was. Since then I’ve tried to develop enough self respect to preserve my hide for its own merits, but it’s a big change.

  • avatar
    dahammer

    I once drove a 1998 Volvo S70 (non-turbo), in situations like this, my inner zen would justify the actions of others “they must be in a hurry, but I gave myself plenty of time”. I now drive a 2005 S60 2.5T, vengeance is mine.

    Why are there so many comments comparing 0-60 times of these cars, wasn’t the author driving at 40 mph, or did I get this wrong?

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    Throwing this out there – but it is possible the Cube could have been modified.

    Normally I wouldn’t think a typical cube driver would be tuning it, but based on the aggressive way he was driving and the fact that companies like UpRev do tune the CUBE – it’s not out or the realm of possibilities.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Only real “zipper merge” I’ve done is at construction zones. I have occasionally stuck my car halfway out into the narrowing lane, with positive results. If I have to go at a glacial pace through this zone (after having merged like the rest of the traffic), so can you, the d-bag in the Range Rover/Beemer/other. OTOH, I’ve had the same thing done to me A MILE before the first flashing arrow! That’s a bit extreme, so I was able to take a previous Accord off-roading, leaving that idiot in the Caddy with a puzzled expression on his face! :-)


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