Commuters who flout rules make it tougher on the rest

Letter to the editor

November 15, 2011

There are a couple things that make my daily commute a little worse. The first is what I call "ramp riders," motorists who take an exit ramp not to exit, but to bypass slower traffic by continuing onto the on-ramp to merge into traffic ahead of where they were when they exited. This is especially prevalent on Maryland Route 32 at U.S. Route 1 in the afternoons in the northbound directions. It's gotten worse in the last couple years with the influx of workers to the Fort Meade area.

This also occurs in the afternoon on Route 95 North at Calverton (Route 212) and Burtonsville/Laurel (Route 198). I hope the new Inter-County Connector opening on Nov. 22 doesn't make this worse by allowing drivers another option to divert around heavy traffic by riding the ramp there.

Ingress and egress to our highways were designed for a certain capacity, and these ramp riders simply add to the numbers of vehicles that need to merge onto the highway, actually making traffic slower. This ramp riding should be illegal. It could easily be enforced by having license-plate-reading cameras scan plates of cars exiting and entering a highway where it is possible to ride the ramp. A $500 fine would quickly discourage drivers from continuing this problem that only makes life worse for the rest of us.

The second problem is what I call "lane jumpers." These drivers compound the problems every morning on Route 95 south approaching the Washington Beltway. The loss of a lane approaching University Boulevard on Interstate 495, coupled with traffic merging onto 495 from Route 95, causes traffic to back up Route 95 for several miles in the morning.

I happen to continue on Route 95 south through College Park and Greenbelt. These lane jumpers often pull into moving traffic without warning, only to pull back into the backup to continue to 495, again without any signals, and often crossing the single or double white lines. This practice is dangerous, and while pulling over these motorists in such a congested area might compound the problem, something else might work to penalize these. Here is another place where cameras with license-plate-reading capability could identify vehicles involved in this and send citations to their registered owners.

Seamus Brader


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