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     Yield: To allow another vehicle to go before you when you are driving. – MacMillan Dictionary

She looked 17, but she could have been in her 20s.

It’s hard to tell, and she was only in my line of sight as she passed me on the right, cell phone glued to her ear.

Deeply engrossed in her conversation, she seemed oblivious to me as I drove west on Interstate 90.

I saw her barreling up the on-ramp and knew her car and mine would arrive at the merger point at the same time unless she slowed down, or I did.

I glanced at my driver’s side mirror and a semi-truck was bearing down hard in the passing lane. By my calculation, he would be beside me at about the time the three of us converged at the top of the on-ramp.

Looking back to my right, it was obvious that the young driver was going to enter I-90 if my vehicle was there or not.

It looked like a clear-cut case of “forced entry.”

I tapped my brake as the semi blew past on my left and the girl with the phone shot ahead of me on the right.

Accident averted.

I’d like to say that this was the first time it had happened, but my observation is that more and more drivers are ignoring the yield sign on the on-ramps. They approach the interstate as though they have the right-of-way instead of the motorists already on the interstate.

But wait. The yield signs have disappeared on many stretches of the interstate.

A Department of Transportation spokesman told me that in stretches where the highway has been updated, “acceleration lanes” have been added, obviating the need for “yield” signs.  The new lanes are not full third lanes because the driver eventually has to move over onto the slow lane of the interstate. But, according to the spokesman, the 980 feet of acceleration lane, plus an additional 500 feet of “tapered lane” should handle the merger without mishap.

So why did I feel at risk?

Perhaps it was also the cell phone distraction of the driver.

Though the DOT disagrees, I’d like to see “yield” signs reinstated. They remind motorists of the risk ahead, and to be cautious.

Yes, the “yield” signs often were ignored. But so are many laws, and that doesn’t mean they should be taken off the books.

Feb.1, 2017