GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Headed home from an appointment, a driver trying to get to Plainfield Avenue from I-96 says she was the victim of rage — all over a misunderstanding about driving in reduced lanes.
It was Tuesday afternoon and traffic on I-96 was backed up because of the westbound shutdown ahead.
“It was a couple of miles to Plainfield Avenue, and we were moving very slowly,” said the westbound motorist who didn’t want to be identified out of fear the other driver might find her.
While the section of I-96 isn’t marked for the state’s Zipper Merger program, which encourages drivers in work zones to merge into single lanes later, driver one decided to follow that lead and use as much of the inside lane as she could before merging.
“It certainly is a much more efficient way to deal with road construction. And safer, I think,” said the first driver. “That’s when things got rather uncivil.”
The first driver’s passenger recorded the events on her cell phone.
The recorded video shows the driver of the silver vehicle — the second driver — let the first driver know he doesn’t care for her tactics.
What follows is several minutes of lane weaves and gestures not appropriate for family viewing.
“First time that he pulled out in front of me, he gave me the finger. He shouted obscenities at me,” said the first driver. “I was concerned. He was aggressive in the way he zoomed back and forth between lanes. “
So, who was in the wrong?
Zip merger area or not, the first driver said she had plenty of time to merge over.
As for the driver blocking the lane? He was impeding traffic.
“We understand what they’re doing. They get frustrated because everyone’s try to pass them, said Michigan State Police First Lt. Chris McIntire. “But at the end of the day, it’s still against the law.”
McIntire said it’s not uncommon to see road rage result from one driver trying to take the lane and another trying to block them off.
“What we see is they’re blocking that lane, sometimes way too far back,” McIntire said. “There’s still a lot of time for nature to take its course on these freeways and allow folks to merge in.”
The first driver eventually weaved back into the lane, got off at the Plainfield exit and headed home.
“Everybody on the road was frustrated. It took so long,” she said. “But that frustration can turn into road rage.”