Should drivers give way to cars joining from a side road?

Down here in the South East, a habit seems to have developed where drivers stop to let other drivers out of a side road onto the main road. This is very courteous, and makes sense if you're in a queue of slow-moving traffic on the main road. However, this courtesy seems to have gone mad, with drivers on clear roads stopping to let others onto the road. A driving instructor once told me that if you did this in a test, you would be failed.

I feel that this will eventually lead to confusion on the roads, with people pulling out of side roads expecting other drivers to stop, to let them onto the main road. Do I have a genuine reason for my anger about this behaviour, or am I just a very rude driver?

Asked on 17 June 2022 by Matthew Stevenson

Answered by Lawrence Allan
This is a long-running debate that has never been fully clear. The Highway Code does not specifically say that you should or shouldn't slow to let people out of a side road or junction. However, as your driving instructor said it is usually considered poor road craft to slow down abruptly and let someone out if you have a queue of traffic behind that then has to slow down too. This causes cascading braking that can often lead to more traffic jams. If the road is clear or you have a sufficient gap behind and in front to let a car out it's courteous to do so, but to slow right down on a fast, busy A road can be dangerous. So in this respect I'd agree with you.
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