I was driving in a long line of cars in a business district. The speed limit was 25 mph and the line moved at about 30 mph. At a big intersection, the car two behind me jumped into the right turn only lane and sped up. My instincts told me she was line jumping. The car behind me moved into the left turn only lane; he was turning left. The woman who was line jumping pulled up beside me as I was about to exit the busy intersection. Fortunately she saw that she wouldn’t be able to successfully jump back in; she slowed down again, merging in behind me.
Do line jumpers think their time is that much more important than anyone else’s? Are they at all aware of (or care about) the impact their behavior has on others? Is it a case of people not planning, or being addicted to adrenaline, or simply being impatient?
I see this type of dangerous driving frequently. Sometimes the person gains one or two car lengths, and sometimes they lose ground. Often they stress the drivers around them. Some of them cause accidents.
The traditional advice, to simply let them merge back in, is still good advice. While it can be tempting to prevent the line jumping, responding to incivility with more incivility is not the answer. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The line jumper’s action is already dangerous. Trying to prevent them from merging can rapidly make the situation much worse. This is not the time to try to teach them a lesson.
To manage the stress it helps to think of legitimate reasons the person might be in such a hurry, such as imagining they are rushing home to a sick child. This can help you maintain your composure.
If you practice line jumping, stop it. Think about the people you are inconveniencing. They are just as important as you. They want to get to their destinations too, and like you they want to arrive safely. Uncivil or rude driving is a reflection on your character and can have unintended, negative consequences.