The Zipper Merge: Convincing Motorists Isn't a Snap

ZipperMerge

Global climate change is "undisputed fact" or "needs more study." Spiritual or secular. Coke or Pepsi. There are certain lines we draw in society that shan't be straddled. The totality of who you are, how you were raised, what you've experienced and what you know, or think you know, all converge to form steadfast beliefs. It's probably safe to add one's stance on the "zipper merge" to that list.

Drivers Confess to Bad Behavior, Regrets

Never heard of it? Lack of familiarity is central to the sometimes emotional debate that erupts when talking about the zipper merge, aka late merging. Say there are two lanes of highway traffic and because of construction a section of one lane is closed, narrowing traffic to one lane. It's rush hour and traffic flow has slowed dramatically. You see the sign well before the merge telling you traffic is reduced to one lane ahead. What's the safest, most polite course of action? A) Put your turn signal on and move from the ending lane to the continuing lane when there's a natural break or another motorist waves you over, or B) Continue in the ending lane all the way to the merge point, then make your way over.

Conventional wisdom or common courtesy dictates that you follow procedure A, getting over as early as possible to keep traffic flowing and be fair to everyone. And that presumptuous driver who motors all the way up to the front and then expects someone who got over early and paid their dues to just up and let them in? They're a jerk (or something saltier), right? Not so fast.

Studies by the Texas Transportation Institute, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration have shown that the zipper merge (thus named because both lanes are used and drivers take turns merging one car at a time, like the teeth of a zipper) improves traffic flow by as much as 15 percent, according to the Detroit News. MnDOT also found it reduces the total length of a backup by as much as 50 percent, and commonly by 40 percent.

"Although motorists seem to believe that a single lane of traffic flowing into a work zone should flow through unrestricted and much faster without a slowdown for merging traffic, this just does not happen in the real world of traffic hazards," MnDOT says. "Motorists slow down because of the uncertainty of the drivers' actions ahead, poor visibility beyond, signs/drums/barricades and (other obstructions). That slows down the rest of the line of traffic, and the longer the queue, the more it slows down and a longer time before it regains speed."

Instead, states that ask motorists to use the zipper method want all available roadway used up to the merge point. The zipper is not intended to be used when traffic is flowing briskly, with ample distance between vehicles to move over earlier without causing a slowdown. But when traffic is slow moving, using both lanes and taking turns one car at a time from each lane has proved effective. MnDOT says by creating two full lanes of traffic, the speed difference between the lanes is reduced. When everyone is equally "disadvantaged," incidents of road rage and other bad behavior — like playing "lane cop" and driving in the center to prevent passing — are fewer. Signs instructing motorists to use both lanes up to the merge point help take the pressure off people who fear scorn or retribution.

The problem is, the concept pretty much goes against everything we've learned about driving etiquette, which traditionally tells us to get into the continuing lane ASAP. Compounding that is a lack of consistency among states. While states like Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington and Pennsylvania use, or have used, the zipper merge, California, for example, does not.

Mark Dinger, spokesman for the California Department of Transportation, says the Golden State encourages early merging by posting signs at a half-mile, 1,500 feet, 1,000 feet and at the merge point letting the driver know a construction zone is ahead and which lane is ending. Citing Federal Highway Administration data, Dinger said sudden braking caused by late mergers results in rear-end collisions — the most common type of work-zone accident.

"Drivers who cut in at the last minute cause sudden stopping and lane changes, which cause direct collisions as well as delayed-reaction collisions by drivers further back in the queue who may not be paying attention or expecting traffic speed to suddenly change," Dinger said.

There's also a cultural attitude that late mergers are unfairly getting away with something. An informal poll of our street-savvy staff on Cars.com's editorial team yielded considerable dissent, with 10 participants voting in favor and four against. Even among yea-sayers, a common caveat was that they'd need to feel confident drivers around them also understood the procedure. Meanwhile, dissenters' comments ranged from, "I understand the theory of zipper merging, but I'm a fan of getting over as early as possible" to "Zipper mergers deserve to be tarred and feathered."

Can zipper merging overcome such deeply rooted aversion? Proponents believe with enough public education and practice, motorists will get the idea. In the meantime — as always — it seems all we can do is stay alert, pay attention to signs, be courteous to other drivers and exercise caution when changing lanes.

Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

By Matt Schmitz | May 19, 2014 | Comments (74)

Comments 

Robert

I have always done this. My take is that open lanes are open lanes and are to be used. If people choose to merge early, then who are they to tell me to not use an otherwise legal open lane. No one is stopping them from using the other lane.

I agree with the article, that if everyone just used all lanes and merged later, then everything would be equal and no one could claim unfairness.

Jay

There will continue to be lane cop and road rage incidents with merging early or late. Most drivers today feel they are entitled. They feel they are special and no one else isn't. Their also should be a better way of educating drivers instead of just handing them a license for state revenue.

AL G.

funny I've always done this as well. To me both lanes should be used until they merge into one. On the other hand If I merged early, I don't have a problem with the person merging in at the merge.

wain

If all other drivers marge early it's great that way they leave the open lane for me to move forward so i can merge at the very end and still do it without braking the law. will merging early make traffic flow faster?

J

Driver's ed need to address this in EVERY state.

Paul

I'm in Minnesota and while the article states we 'use' the zipper merge, i'd say we're far from adoption. Something about the MN nice/passive aggression makes this a challenge.

That said, I always use the zipper merge when I'm on an on-ramp or approaching a construction zone. Where I verge on the uneasy feeling of being 'unfair' is when I leave one of the left lanes to jump in the on-ramp/merge lane and circumvent traffic. That feels like 'passing on the right'.

Jdan

Do the Merge, the zipper merge. It is the safest way to merge.

cheryl

Also, in a zipper merge, if everyone drives slowly enough, the traffic never has to stop....in an idealistic world....

Zak R.

When my family moved from the fairly open roads of the midwest (where you got over when the sign said and you cursed the *bleep*ers who didn't) to the cramped, congested parkways and expressways of New York (Long Island, to be specific), we were amazed by how much more simple, pleasant, and efficient the "zipper" method was than what we were used to. In fact, it automatically made us think that everyone on Long Island was nicer (though life soon disabused us of that notion... it's just that they're less judgmental drivers)!

Matt

Here's the thing: As long as there is confusion on the issue, the problem will continue. Ideally, people use both lanes as far as possible and actually zipper merge one-for-one. The problem is since that's not what happens, people who do do that do gain an unfair advantage because they get way farther up in traffic than they would have. Another problem is there are a lot of jerks whose only goal is to get as far up and past people as possible to gain the most advantage. Usually if I'm in stop-and-go traffic next to an on-ramp, I leave space for people to get on. Many times, there is someone who chooses not to use that space and instead go up another two cars to the very end of the lane and then get in.

If we got it to the point that all lanes were equally backed up and people actually observed the zipper merge, great. Until then, I lean towards getting over early.

Ted

Global climate change is, indeed, fact. Don't let the 3 percent of scientists fool you. There is no debating on whether it is happening.

Olde Pharte

Great. Now folks have the perfect excuse for their rude, arrogant driving habits.

It was in a study. It must be true. Good grief.

Fred

The problem is this statement in the article: "When everyone is equally "disadvantaged"

See, the problem is, everyone is NOT equally disadvantaged. Until that can be enforced, driver behavior will make this fail. People will hate the other driver and block them.

Transportation engineers (and I am infact a civil engineer myself) often ignore driver behavior in favor of theory. It is similar with roundabouts. Sure, the work faster for drivers that know how to use them, but toss unfamiliar drivers at them, and it will slow everything down and cause accidents.

Mark Dinger is right on. Without being able to enforce car-over-car merging, in practice the zipper merge will slow everything down as people refuse to let others in, and drivers are forced to force their way in.

The zipper merge is nothing more than the prisoner's dilemma problem. It only works with cooperation, and it's tough to enforce cooperation.

Lisa Colorado

I was one who'd merge early and I have resented people whom I thought were getting away with something, getting through the slowdown ahead of me. But now that I understand the zipper merge I will stop maligning the driver of the other car and just let them in as I had been doing before with resentment. I will continue doing what I think most of the other drivers think is more polite, though. Overall, courtesy on the road eases everybody's day just that much.

Jeremy

Since day one of boot camp (navy), we were taught to use the zipper method in regards to any time there were multiple lines of recruits going the same place. In regards to traffic flow, the zipper happens naturally, without prodding street signs, coming aboard any navy base. The zipper works great and is very fast, but only if everyone expects it and respects it.

jPad

The trouble is people equate this situation with the one where a driver goes to the front of a single lane exit and cuts in... not the same thing at all.

Pam

I'm with Robert, and the article. It's faster and more efficient, and I can't stand when people freak out and get over long before the break, and then sit there, and then those are the same people that decide to text, and let 3 and 4 car gap lengths get in front of them, because, well, they are who they are...

janet

This goes for regular roads as well. There are multiple spots on the road I travel home from work. They merge from 2 lanes down to 1 lane after the stop light, but at the light everyone decides to get in one, long, backed up line of traffic. This ends up blocking the left turn lane so people can't get over, which in turn makes them miss the light cycle and adds more cars to the backed up line of traffic.

Ken

There's a great treatise on this in "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)" by Tom Vanderbilt starting on page 44 ...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307277194/tag=kenlin-20

Alex Wolf

I feel like current signs are also a problem. The current signs say "Lane ends in Xfeet. Merge left/right." If they signs say to merge early, and everyone merges early, how can you fault them for paying attention and following directions? Signs should be changed to say: "Lane ends 1500ft. Slow down, STAY in your lane for Zipper Merge."

If the zipper merge was the public norm, or if there were nationwide PSAs about how it will now be standard practice. However, until there is more than just an article on it, waiting in line will probably remain the norm.

As long as there isn't 100% clarity on the "correct" method, there will still be driver hesitation and road rage at the actual merge that will cause additional delays and collisions.

Dennis Myers

Pittsburgh drivers have always done this. We call it the Pittsburgh Merge. It's development was probably born out of a feeling of mutual survival. We also let people turn left in front of us in slow moving traffic.

Theresa Switzer

Personally, I have spent a great deal of time sitting in long lines of stopped traffic, having merged as soon as I was able (as I was taught so many years ago), watching cars zoom past in the open lane (because most have merged into the lane the sign says to merge into) and I have repeatedly contemplated if this was a line at any retail establishment and people were not only allowed but encouraged to cut in at the head of the line, would I be getting through faster??

Jason

This is the reason I don't carry my gun in my car. I would never hurt someone with it but I would definitely shoot some tires and radiators.

Pete

The accepted practice in Germany, where I learned to drive, is the "modified zipper merge," (it has an other name but I don't recall it). It happens EVERYWHERE where one lane merges into another and the rule is allow two vehicles in the continuing lane for every one vehicle merging. Very efficient/German.

Walt

Simple solution - put signs right at the merge point that say something like MERGE HERE or MERGE POINT. In NYC there are signs where lanes converge at the Lincoln Tunnel that say ALTERNATE FEED. Drivers follow the rule.

Josh

I am so relieved to hear that some states are supporting logic.
If drivers would look at a reduction in lanes as a bottle neck where the object is to get the most traffic through as efficiently as possible, instead of looking at the lane you are in as owned by you things would go so much more smoothly.
Ironicly, merging early creates a more dangerous situation, as drivers who don't merge early can and will drive at a different speed than the full lane. If everyone stays in their lane until the zipper, everyone is equally disadvantaged, travelling at the same speed, and accidents are less likely.

Richard

Many years ago, on Interstate 93 in NH, I observed a big sign saying "Right Lane Closed, 2 Miles." Rounding a curve with very poor sight-lines, I came upon the tail end of a line of traffic stopped in the left lane. Drivers ahead of me immediately merged left and stopped in the line. I thought, "There's a disaster waiting to happen," and continued unimpeded in the right lane to the merge point. A few minutes later, a fully-loaded truck rounded the bend and crushed the last cars in the needless backup, killing 4 people. I'll never forget that - it gives me a shiver every time it comes to mind. Zipper merge is they way to go...

Kim F.

The slowest lane is the one everyone is merging into early. I always wait till the last minute to merge, just like the signs say.

Travis

I'm split about this. Personally, I move over as soon as I notice a lane closure, but when I get there, I do try to make a point to let the person in the other lane in.

Just one car, though. In Massachusetts, if you stop for one, three will try to follow.

Kerry

Please note that zipper merging should only take place when a lane is closed or there is construction blocking a lane. It is NOT the same situation as having three lanes, the right most lane being an "EXIT ONLY" lane and the other two being "thru lanes" where traffic is going 70 mph. What irks me is when people drive down past a 5 mile long line of cars waiting to safely exit and then they come to a complete STOP in the middle lane right at the mouth of the exit. Not only is this unsafe (as cars in that lane have to SLAM on their brakes to avoid you) but it is as rude as butting in a 6 block long movie line at the door. I wish cops would ticket these people. I have seen so many close calls. This is not the same as zipper merging which is totally the right thing to do.

Keith

Why not force the issue by placing cones down the centerline ahead of the merge to keep everyone in lanes, then bring the lanes together equally at the merge point so there's not a 'correct' lane. Don't rely on training or culture, where one untrained person can mess the system for everyone. Besides, there's an inherent fairness in alternating that most drivers respect as long as the entries to the merge point are equal.

Rich Johnson

No to zipper,most drivers move over early, and resent those drivers that speed past them and cut off someone that has been waiting.
I'm not above blocking both lanes, and will not allow a driver in that speed past all those of us who have been waiting our turn.
The zipper leads to road rage merge lane should be shorter.

Chris Stengel

I first encountered this in Western Pennsylvania...it's genius. The trick is the right road signs...and they've got them here:

"RIGHT LANE ENDS XXXX FEET"
"USE BOTH LANES UNTIL MERGE POINT"

Then at the merge point is a sign:

"MERGE HERE - TAKE YOUR TURN"

It takes road rage down to a minimum, removes the whole "hey I did the right thing, why should this guy get to go, try to straddle 2 lanes to become a policeman" behaviors which are what REALLY slows down a merge.

I still don't get why there's a tendency to not want to use all available capacity. This also tends to rear its head with dual turn lanes. For some reason, drivers tend to favor one of the lanes over the other instead of evenly dividing themselves. Sometimes this ends up obstructing access to the other turn lane. So if you see more cars queued up in one turning lane in a dual-lane situation, please be smart and queue in the lane with fewer vehicles. Dividing as evenly as possible shouldn't be hard, and it actually makes throughput all the better. The same would go for intersections where straight-thru traffic experiences a merge just after the intersection. The logical thing to do is to divide evenly and merge at the merge point, not have everyone queue up in one lane.

Kathleen Motley-Hale

I learned to drive back in the 60's in New York. I was taught to use both lanes until the end. Why leave an entire lane empty? Just take turns at the end.

Jeff B

18 Wheeler's most often block both lanes on an interstate to prevent drivers from using the open lane up to the merge point. It's very frustrating to be blocked for no reason when you see an empty, open, driveable, legal lane to drive in for miles in front of these trucks.

Jill Spriggs

We'll have to hold our own opinions, and ne'er the twain shall meet. My own favorite solution to the problem has two semis driving side by side, keeping people from cutting into the line of traffic from the right. I have no problem with allowing people in who politely have their turn signal on, glancing beseechingly at the drivers behind them. However, when I have drivers brutally attempt to wedge in front of me, forcing me to make a choice between hitting him broadside or allow the creep to muscle me out of the way. I seethe.

Jill Spriggs

Another annoyance is the people driving in the median or the shoulder on the right in an attempt to bypass the traffic.

Michael Mulkey

The speeders and stop sign/right on red light runners would not do it.

Laura Jones

In Germany, zipper merge is the law. It is illegal to move over until you reach the end of the lane. It works well, but Germans are also big on following rules.

Jill Spriggs

I like Chris Stengel's solution best: Chris Stengel
May 21, 2014 12:30:23 PM
I first encountered this in Western Pennsylvania...it's genius. The trick is the right road signs...and they've got them here:

"RIGHT LANE ENDS XXXX FEET"
"USE BOTH LANES UNTIL MERGE POINT"

Then at the merge point is a sign:

"MERGE HERE - TAKE YOUR TURN"

It takes road rage down to a minimum, removes the whole "hey I did the right thing, why should this guy get to go, try to straddle 2 lanes to become a policeman" behaviors which are what REALLY slows down a merge.

Mark Meyer

It's this very type of thing that compels me to not carry firearms in my vehicle. Individuals that think they are too good, too important, too WHATEVER to wait in line like the rest of us causes me to experience a potentially homicidal rage. And it will be a cold day you know where when I allow you to cut me off after I have behaved responsibly, changed lanes at the first indication, and patiently awaited my turn. I'll run your sorry behind into the ditch if I can!!

Bryan

I've actually used "the" (in my mind) Zipper Merge two finger hand signal, but admittedly I suppose drivers wonder what "scissors" means and focus just on the middle finger, which could explain the reactions I've seen.

David B

The illustration with this article shows exactly why zipper merging will never work - all of the cars are following too closely. If all the cars in the illustration above, and all drivers left at least a car length, even in stopped traffic, you wouldn't have the sudden stopping when people attempt to merge - zipper or otherwise.

MiG

There is only one way to merge fairly and safely: all cars use all open lanes until the lane closes, then merge one from each lane. Nothing else makes any sense. Americans are completely hopeless at this-go to England and they have it figured out, for the most part.

Mike C

The Zioper Merge is the law of the land in Europe. It works well for rule following Germans, for free spirited Italians and the permissive Dutch. Even us Americans can adapt well. If the research shows it is faster, then let's do it! And while we are at it adopt the roundabout and even truck-free Sundays on highways. Plus proper etiquette for passing. Keep up the zipper!

Rose

Americans are obsessed with queueing up. It does help to keep things organized, but in this case it just doesn't matter. It doesn't slow things down and actually keeps things moving. But who is actually going to read all these posts???

Cee Cee

Anyone who says California doesn't use zipper lanes hasn't had to use the Caldecott tunnel during morning and evening commute hours. 4 lane freeway turns into 2 lanes. I always thought the TWO zipper lanes on the East to West side actually made traffic safer when everyone just used them and merged at the merge point.

Benedicta_Iris

I'll do it whichever way seems most convenient at the moment. The maneuver that makes me fume is driver who bypasses the legitimate lanes on the shoulder, then attempts to cram in.

Harlowe Thrombey

The few people who are against the idea of a late-as-possible merge in zipper pattern... are just putting ego above science. This article wasn't written on a whim, or on someone's idea of what causes road rage. This article is about science. And to get angry at what is logical is very selfish, because people that put Ego above science cause all sorts of problems in the world, on the road, and elsewhere.

David

This has been a pet peeve for years. I had a web page promoting zipper (wish I had used that name) merge. Just make sure the zipper is centered between the two lanes. Makes 100 % sense !

Robert Crawley

If there's two lanes and you pass by a quarter mile of cars bumper to bumper and your in a lane by yourself...where do you think your going...to privileged land ?

Nahbro

The problem also is that some states (like where I drive in PA and MD) have both "zipper merge" signs and signs that simply say, "Merge Left/Right" without any indication of when. You're right, if people learned how to merge traffic would flow much better.

KC

Unfortunately, this doesn't solve the issue of merging when two lanes stay two lanes, but one becomes a directional/exit-only lane.

For example, there's a parkway here that is two lanes up until the very end, where the right lane turns into an exit-only lane to a major interstate (northbound) and the left lane continues for another 1/2 mile before exiting onto the southbound interstate.

Naturally, during high traffic the right exit-only lane backs up because (go figure), the entrance from that lane is another merging lane onto the interstate. So people stay in the left lane, zip ahead, and then slam on the brakes and expect people to stop and let them in right before the split.

The problem is driver behavior -- humans are inherently self-centered and only looking out for themselves. Until we convince people not to drive like a**hats, merging will ALWAYS be an issue.

Bob little

Perfect and correct!

SD guy

I live in California and find it funny that the state says they discourage the zipper method as that is the only method I've ever seen anyone use here. As a result both lanes are equal length and no one has any reason to get mad at anyone else.

gen6tex

I've always considered it this way. If you are driving down the road and see a sign that reads "Stop ahead" do you A) stop, or B) proceed with caution, ready to decelerate and stop at the sign? When I see a sign that reads "Right lane ends" I don't immediately change lanes (as if that is even possible most of the time). I proceed and decelerate and look for an opening. Often other drivers won't let you in. The safest thing to do is to roll forward and wait.

Kathode

Here in British Columbia, the zipper merge is just How It's Done. On a heavily traveled bridge between North Vancouver and Vancouver, there are 3 lanes of traffic, with the middle lane switching directions throughout the day, depending on traffic needs. When there is only one southbound lane, 4 (four!) lanes of traffic zipper down to 1: first the 2 right-most lanes zipper together while the 2 left-most lanes do the same; now you have 2 lanes, and they immediately zipper down to one. It's all very friendly and efficient. What a difference from when I lived in California!

Jim

The philosophy looks like it works. The first problem to overcome is teaching drivers to speak English so they actually can read the signs with instructions.I live in Detroit and when I see translators at the DMV helping people take their driving test, I know we're in trouble. Let's make it mandatory to learn English before issuing a drivers license. Then we can train future drivers the rules of the American roads so they actually know what signs mean. Great concept though (zipper merging)

North

Folks should consider that driving is a cooperative venture, not a competitive one; and then act accordingly.

David

Picture is all wrong. The zipper should straddle the centerline for a ways (until the merge is completed). Then each lane is equal in priority. All it takes is a few more cones !!!!!!

Andy

All you need to know to make the right decision is to know that I saw signs in GA once that said "Lane Closure, two miles ahead." Traffic was crawling as people hustled to get into the left lane. I continued at the speed limit, arriving at what WAS the merge point. They had simply neglected to take down the sign. There was no closure, and early mergers had backed up traffic for absolutely no reason at all.

Really interesting post for me....Once again thanks....

DanM

Education is the key on this. I've known about zipper merging for some time, but I refuse to do it when I'm the only one. Because let's face it- when it's just one person, it's not a "zipper"... it's just one person apparently being an entitled prick. Once we're all on the same page and everyone in both lanes gets it and we can all zipper in unison, that'll be a wonderful day.

Mike from Chicago

This is fascinating. I would not have guessed this in a million years. However, I still doubt that most zipper mergers are doing it because of the scientific evidence. I suspect most zoom up to the merge point simply to avoid waiting.

Nanbig

Try to teach this to PA drivers...they are all wanna be entitled princesses and think they literally own the road and have police powers. I still zipper merge and if they don't let me in, I will force my way in.

rod

You can't merge into stopped traffic this is what happens during peak periods. The side zoomers aren't able to see if traffic is moving from back where the back up starts.
Also why not zoom up all 3 freeway lanes to zipper into one exit lane? Because it clusterfcks everything but that's what you get when people drive past a backed up exit then stop to wait then non exiters behind them move out around and slow faster moving traffic which then moves out around them slowing the fast lane.

Robert johnson

I have always found the zipper method to work great....on paper, an animated Gif or rice going down a funnel.

In PA there is a place called the split on I83 near Harrisburg. The left lane is meant to go to route 581 to other cities and the right lane stays #83 into Harrisburg.

Everyone knows the routine, it is not a merging situation for construction, etc. So you have people that will get in the left lane, up to the point that the two roads diverge. The people in the left lane are there because route 83 into Harrisburg is moving slower. So they stay in the left lane until the last moment and then leave route 581 and curve into route 83.

Now let us assume the zipper effect and the left lane is the faster lane. So why should not all cars stay in that left lane and then at the last moment decide to converge onto route 83? Who or what is the determining factor that makes one drive in the faster left lane and merge at the end as opposed to those in the right lane. IS there any legal reference to who gets to drive in the left lane or right lane. Nope. It is left up to the individual. We are left dealing with personalities instead of a well designed roadway and that is a breading ground for road rage.

Everyone sees it happen. You'll have 99.9% of the traffic had merged onto #83 into Harrisburg. Then you have the car in the left lane, cruising past everyone, using the lane that is meant to become #581. Then the car in the left lane curves into the 40 MPH #83 traffic, the #83 car taps their brakes, which causes 20 cars behind to tap their brakes and eventually the traffic crawls to a stop.

I am not sure the zipper works in all cases. To end the zipper they are adding an extra lane so that you'll have two lanes heading into Harrisburg. Hm? What makes me think that even with two lanes you won't have the car in the #581 lane that will want to get over onto #83. You know for some people they want to go 80 MPH in the 65 MPH and they will use that fast lane that allows them to do 85 MPH.

As mentioned the real problem is educating drivers. Transportation department studies will show you the results they want to support their many times short-sighted plans for road construction.

Zipper merge works in theory, but will only work in reality if people approach it properly. You cannot have the 'merging into lane' traveling at say 40 mph and the ending lane traveling at 65 mph and expect any kind of orderly merging.

My solution to help the situation and hopefully educate some 'self-entitled' drivers is to get in the lane that is about to end and drive the same speed as the 'merging into lane'. While it does nothing for traffic in front of me, it will back up traffic in the ending lane and, at least for a time, have both lanes traveling the same speed at the merge point. this is conducive to getting the zipper merge rolling.

So you are telling me that merging at the end is more efficient than a single stream of continuous traffic. Stop... merge... stop... merge. Sounds way more efficient. I live in a state where truckers block zipper mergers. When a lane is being shut down gradually in my state, guess how many times I have to stop or slow down.... None

craig

Zipper merging should be outlawed in every state most. I have been truck driver for quite some time when and have seen a lot of accident due to people's inability to so a proper lane change and wait till the last second to merge back over. Please use common sense.

kdrwnj

Big fan of the zipper merge. To be honest, I simply got tired of being the guy who merged early and hating the ones passing by, so now, I'm the one passing and merging. Follow me and live!

Oh, and there's no sweeter feeling than seeing those stupid wannabe traffic cop truckers get a ticket for pulling that "Rolling roadblock" idiocy. F***sticks.

Dominic: Read, 'in theory'

Craig: Agreed, people cannot manage to perform a zipper merge.

kdrwnj: Perfect example of selfish dolt who is the problem.

State transportation departments use zipper merge to justify their inability to properly manage traffic knowing all the while a certain percentage of people will foul it for the rest.

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