US Driving – pulling onto a busy highway using on/off ramp

What are the rules for merging onto a US highway or Interstate from an on/off ramp when the highway is particularly busy? I am driving in Colorado.

This happened to me the other day, the highway was unusually busy and I slowed down to be able to merge with the almost stationary traffic. I was driving at 5-10 mph, waiting for an opening.

Meanwhile, someone pulled out of the highway and zoomed past me on the shoulder at an incredible 20 mph and honked his horn. I didn’t want to cause problems for others so I followed him off the ramp and tried the same thing on the next, quieter, on/off ramp.

What do the rules say? Am I right to slow down? If traffic was at a complete standstill and I made it to the end of the ramp with no opening, should I stop and block the ramp, waiting for an opening? Or if things don’t line up perfectly, is it my duty to miss my turn in order to aid traffic?

EDIT: This is the kind of ramp I am thinking of, I couldn’t think of a better term than on/off but now ‘continuous’ comes to mind.
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Answer

Most, likely all, States require merging traffic yield. This is essentially the same a changing lanes.

Cloverleaf ramps, which is what you describe, can be tricky because you can get stuck between two rules, yielding and no stopping. So yes, theoretically, you may have to continue without merging if it cannot be done safely.

An officer or judge may not consider a traffic jam sufficient reason to stop and block even more traffic, and I would agree.

However, what usually happens is someone who is exiting slows enough to leave an opening for an entering vehicle or someone gives way (technically not yielding) to let a vehicle merge into traffic. Basically, it just sorta works out if everyone is courteous.

You were OK to approach slowly because the purpose of the ramp is to match the speed of oncoming traffic. The other driver was just impatient jerk.

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