Merging

Allow me to set the scene.

I’m driving merrily along the highway, and I begin to see signs indicating that the right lane is closed ahead.  Immediately cars start pulling into the left lane as they get the opportunity.  Others slow down in the right lane, waiting for a chance to pull over.  Of course, this causes the right lane slow down unnecessarily at various intervals, which annoys me, but I keep my cool.

I stay in the right lane.  I prefer to ride along until I am forced to merge.  I am not a jerk, trying to get 10 more cars ahead, like that will get me to my destination any sooner.  I just think it makes things go a lot more smoothly when people stay in their lane and then merge in, every-other-car, in a sensible fashion.  What I NEVER do is pull out of the lane that is NOT closing, over into the lane that IS closing, and speed up to see how far ahead I can get before pulling back over.  That’s obnoxious.  But if I find myself in the lane that IS closing, I will generally stay there until the merge.

So.  As I am nearing the end of the availability of the right lane, and the cars in front of me begin merging into the left lane, every other car.  There are still a few hundred yards left, but I fall into place with the other cars because it seems like the natural thing to do.  It’s a beautiful thing, really.

But THEN.  A few cars come from behind and zoom past us, trying to make the most of every last foot of the right lane, and a big 18-wheeler truck that is a few cars ahead in the left lane didn’t like that very much.  He decided to swerve into the right lane, purposefully to block those few cars from going any further.  It was obnoxious as well as clearly hazardous driving.  I mean, he wasn’t a dainty automobile by any stretch.

Well.  He met his match with the driver of a beat-up pick-up truck who wasn’t taking no for an answer.  The pick-up tried to pull around on the side of the road, but he began to run over the cones, and the 18-wheeler didn’t budge.  Still not willing to admit defeat, the pick-up slowed down, pulled in behind the 18-wheeler, and zoomed across to the left lane in front of a car that made the wise choice to let him go.

The 18-wheeler was forced to merge left, behind the pick-up, and we traveled along in the left lane for a couple of miles before the right lane opened up again, and we all went our separate ways.

So I ask you.  Is it considered rude to ride along in a lane that you know very well is going to be closed ahead, and merge at the last possible minute?  Or does it makes more sense to do so?  Is there a “rule” about this?  Discuss.