SAQ: Merging onto highway can be source of frustration for San Antonio drivers

What to do is based on signage present, driving instructor says

SAN ANTONIO – One pet peeve we hear from drivers is about yielding and merging, especially on the highway. With many different types of interchanges in the San Antonio region, it can be a source of confusion and frustration.

One viewer wondered if people need to go back to basics.

“Why don’t drivers know to let others merge/zipper into a lane?” Christina asked.

Others cited the presence of yield signs on some on-ramps, which can be an adjustment for some people from other areas.

“Why do loops accessing interstate or highways have posted yield signs?” Desiree asked. “Most drivers treat these as stop signs and fail to merge appropriately, causing unnecessary backups.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “the Texas Transportation Code requires access or feeder road (frontage road) traffic to yield the right of way to traffic entering an on-ramp or leaving an off-ramp on controlled access highways. However, YIELD signs are not necessary and are not recommended where a free lane is available to off-ramp traffic and neither traffic needs to yield.”

There are a couple of situations where that applies in our region, including at the Loop 1604/I-10 West interchange.

As for the second part of Desiree’s question, we went to Rhodes Driving School in Helotes for answer.

Instructor Roland Garza said it all depends on the signage present. A red and white yield sign means “yield to stop,” requiring a driver to yield the right of way to the oncoming traffic, find the gap, and then keep up with the flow. But that also means you may have to stop until the way is clear.

“A lot of people, I think, they’re just going to get on there and they expect people on the highway to make room for them. and the people on the highway kind of expect people to do the opposite,” Garza said. “So everyone’s kind of doing their own thing. And that’s where we probably come up with a lot of accidents or close calls or fender benders.”

And Garza said merging and yielding is all about awareness on the roads and it’s critical for you to use your signal light or blinker, especially when getting onto a highway.

“Movement and light attracts the eye of the driver, so if the person on the highway is not focused and then they see movement and they see light, then they’re suddenly aware of the situation,” he said.

Garza said even experienced drivers need to be attention at all intersections, as signage and traffic flows can change.

Have questions about transportation or traffic? Let us know and your answer may be our next story. Find past answers on our traffic page.

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