What is the law for merging in Illinois? How is responsible in the event of an accident? Do you know the correct answer? I thought I did until I read an explanation issued by Illinois State Police.

There has likely been a situation where you're on a highway and you experience the merging lane kerfuffle. "If they would have hit me it would have been their fault!", is something you might have said out loud or thought in your head. Or maybe, "I have the right of way, I'm not slowing down or changing lanes." The confusion rests with the question of who should be yielding in this situation. That answer is simple but some of you might not like it. How do I know the answer may ruffle some feathers, just read the comments on ISP's post pertaining to the Merge law.

According to Illinois State Police, the driver in the merging lane and the driver on the highway in the right lane both have a responsibility in this situation.

Unless the ramp has specific instructions (typically during construction of other special circumstances) the sign posted here {below} which is clearly visible at converging roadways means BOTH drivers have to yield to each other.

Illinois State Police via Facebook

To clarify, Illinois State Police explained,

Illinois law states BOTH vehicles must adjust speed and position to avoid colliding with each other. That means the driver on the main line of the interstate AND the driver of the vehicle entering on the ramp must adjust their speed and vehicle position to not hit one another.

If this ticks you off, you're not alone. There literally dozens of "This is !" comments, but the law is the law and it's clearly stated.

Sec. 11-905. Merging traffic. Notwithstanding the right-of-way provision in Section 11-901 of this Act, at an intersection where traffic lanes are provided for merging traffic the driver of each vehicle on the converging roadways is required to adjust his vehicular speed and lateral position so as to avoid a collision with another vehicle.

Like it or not, if there's an accident involving two vehicles and a merging lane, both drivers are probably getting ticketed.


JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram.