Yielding Inappropriately – Do’s and Don’t of Merging.

We’ve all seen the red and white triangle “Yield” signs. What does it mean?

So this is just gonna be a little rant about Yielding in traffic. Today I saw something that frustrated me. Someone who didn’t know how to use a yield. The Yield sign is not something that means the other person gets to go first just because. Yield in my mind means in the event that you cannot navigate the roadway without impeding those who have the right away, you need to accelerate, slow, or stop and let the other person(s) proceed through until you can enter safely.

yield sign
A. Yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection or that is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard; and Having yielded, an operator may proceed. All other operators approaching the intersection shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle so proceeding. – http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/29-A/title29-Asec2057.html

So I’m sitting at a light waiting to turn left with my signal on, the light turns green, and just as I start to move someone coming from the other direction wanting to take a right enters the ‘yield ramp’ to turn. They proceeded to come to a complete stop even though they had plenty of time to proceed through before I even came close to being in the yield zone, causing the person behind them to slam on their brakes to avoid an accident. They had PLENTY of time until they would have impeded my travel onto the road. Yield does not mean stop and let the other person go. It means take caution, time your yield correctly, don’t proceed until you can.


If you can go, go! Don’t think your being polite by stopping and letting someone else go before you just cause you have the yield sign. The person behind you is also looking around studying the intersection to execute their own yield. If you slam on your brakes when they’re not looking it can cause an accident. It really pisses me off when people do this and I’m behind them. I’m not saying too just bust out in front of cars either. If you get in an accident where you didn’t have the right of way it makes it hard to prove your not at fault even if it was blatantly the other persons fault.

A really good bad example of people who don’t know how to yield are those people who like to drive down to the end of the highway entrance ramp and then stop. DO NOT DO THIS! You should be up to speed before you even get to the highway entrance. You should be checking traffic and timing your entrance onto the highway long before the end of the ramp. If there is a lot of traffic and you see an opening ACCELERATE to make your gap/entrance into traffic flow. You’re 8 Times more likely to cause an accident by driving 10mph under the speed limit than you are driving 10mph over.

A long time ago I was driving with my permit instructor. This was before they changed the old Yarmouth South entrance ramp. As I was going down this long ramp I noticed that there was a semi truck in the slow lane and it was looking like I was gonna crash into him if I kept up on my course. As I started to lift on the accelerator to touch the brake the instructor screamed at me “NOOO!!” and he pushed down on my knee slamming my foot into the accelerator. Vroom the car comes to life and now it definitely looked like I was going to run into the 18 wheeler. As the ramp started to end, the instructor gripped the wheel and steered me over into the brake down lane until I had accelerated enough to get ahead of the truck and then told me to merge over.

He yelled at me for wanting to slow down and he said that’s basically trying to cause an accident. What I learned from my instructor that day was invaluable. He did say “They don’t recommend using the break down lane as an extension. But its better than stopping if you can see that the break down lane is open and clear of vehicles. You don’t want to hit a parked car or something else that may be in the way by driving down the break down lane. You also don’t want the person behind you smashing into you and sending you out into traffic if you try to make a last effort stop.” You can avoid both of these situations by planning your entrance into traffic as soon as you have traffic in sight. When you see an opening go for it!

If you have to stop or slow down at the end of a long highway entrance ramp you have failed. When you stop the people behind you might not see you and smash into you sending you out into an even worse accident. This is because they are distracted by looking and gauging where they can make their entrance into the traffic flow too. This is actually a pretty common occurrence with on ramps and yielding. What I learned from my permit instructor still sticks with me today. If you’re to afraid to make the yield at speed, or to speed up to make it, you need to let someone else do the driving.

One last thing, if your already on the highway, and you can see cars trying to enter, move over and speed up! If you can’t move over just speed up! Don’t hit your brakes it messes everything up for everyone. You’re in traffic to move, so keep moving. Brake only when necessary to avoid accidents, as unnecessary braking causes accidents.