You've probably seen the confrontation happen as you're traveling down the Maine Turnpike or I-295. A driver is coming down the on-ramp to enter the highway just as someone in the left lane is approaching the end of the on-ramp.

Horns honk from both cars as they start to get close to each other and it's a battle for who can get ahead of the other. It shouldn't be this way, but so many drivers don't know or don't care who has the right of way at the end of on-ramps.

The big clue to who has the right of way is the sign at the end of every on-ramp on every highway in Maine and the country. The one that says "Yield."

Google Street View
Google Street View
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I actually know people who didn't believe me when I said there's a yield sign at the end of on-ramps. I had to pull up the above Google Street View pictures to prove it.

When entering the flow of traffic on the on-ramp, you must yield the right of way to traffic on the highway. That means if you reach the end of the on-ramp and are unable to safely merge into traffic you must stop. Although this is a very uncommon occurrence, that's the definition of yielding.

There's an unspoken courtesy that if you're in the right lane you merge over to the left lane if you're able to, allowing the driver on the on-ramp to safely enter at highway speed.

However, if they don't move over, it is the responsibility of the driver on the on-ramp to yield to the driver already on the highway. If that means they have to come to a stop on the on-ramp because traffic is congested, so be it.

Even the Maine State Police back this up by saying "The bottom line is that the traffic on the ramp, must "Yield" or give way to traffic already on the Interstate no matter what, not the other way around."

So keep this in mind next time you're rolling down the on-ramp and the person doesn't move over for you. They aren't required to.

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