My own experience is that local custom trumps everything, because if you don't follow it, you'll be like Edward Day, who died contesting his right of way.
"His case was clear, and his will was strong,
But he's just as dead as if he were wrong."
But if you're not local, how do you know what the custom was? In my example above, where the 'custom' was to ignore the traffic light turn signals, if that lady had hit me, custom wouldn't have prevented her from being held liable, or getting a ticket.
Another custom in my area is to stop dead in the middle of the road (during bumper to bumper traffic) and wave people into the road from side streets. I have read on this forum (Special Snowflakes I think) that doing that is an insurance liability, as the waver assumes responsibility for giving the other car safe passage or something. Plus I see far too many cars sticking perpendicular in my lane while trying to turn into the far lane of traffic, just begging for an accident to happen. I won't follow that custom, even though I know about it.
Hopefully there aren't real-life examples of that poem, where someone was hurt or injured just because they didn't know the custom, and were following the rules.
I have seen this happen and have participated. I never knew or thought it was a liability. I see it as a courtesy. Traffic is backed up, someone needs to turn left, leave a space for them to do so. Even for right turners. Just today, traffic stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian (not a major intersection and no pedestrian lights). This cleared traffic for me to make a left. It worked out wonderfully. The thing is, I didn't understand what was happening, as I was sitting and waiting for a safe left, contemplating if I should just do a right and take the scenic route. There was not a ton of traffic ahead for these two lanes, so there really was absolutely no reason to leave a space, as you would to avoid gridlock. People just stopped at the crosswalk. It is a university area with many walkers, so this may be considered a "local custom," and someone not "in the know," would have possibly just continued on, not knowing passage of a pedestrian had been created. I can see the hazard with the neighboring cars blocking view of the pedestrian or not knowing what's going on. I would hope the pedestrian would be equally aware if both lanes did not have a stopped car in it before walking in front of the empty lane, as a moving vehicle could very well be approaching and not stopping. We all have to look for oncoming cars, whether driving or walking.
In my area, zipper merge is the norm, right merges into left. Cars tend to do every other car, but of course there are those who stick close to the bumper in front, so as not to allow a car in, and I have seen cars take up two lanes (drive on the broken stripe) to avoid allowing anyone to merge in front, but I would say for the most part, people do the every other. There are some that merge before the lane officially ends. I don't see the point. People fully stop the right hand lane traffic while they wait for space to open up in the left hand lane to merge early. It seems counter productive.
I stay in the right because people merge early and I can bypass 5 cars in my now empty lane to the merge. If you want to merge early and wait, that's fine. I don't consider anyone rude for staying in the lane they are in until the appropriate time to merge. The people who clog traffic to merge early irk me.
I don't understand this "no lane merges" concept. It seems like pointing out "every other" for the merge, when the lanes come together, is what the signage is for, in zipper fashion...like don't be a hog and let's take turns. If everyone is supposed to every-other merge before
the lane ends, what is the protocol for when
? Is it 100 ft, 200 ft, and for someone like me who has no concept of what those measurements look like, then when
and by what landmark