Drivers Who Merge at the Last Minute Are Annoying, but They’re Right

Drivers Who Merge at the Last Minute Are Annoying, but They’re Right

Summer is full of road construction and lane closures. What’s the best way to merge to another lane when yours is closing? You have two options:

1. The courteous approach
Immediately turn on your blinker and patiently wait until somebody lets you merge in.

2. The zipper approach
Ignore the early mergers, zoom ahead and move over at the end of the lane to merge like a closing zipper. (You’ll want to avoid making contact with the early mergers who most likely will not appreciate your “cutting in line” tactic.)

Surprisingly, studies show that the zipper approach is actually the best one to keep traffic moving efficiently. In this system, every car in the lane that’s ending drives all the way up to the front of the line and takes turns merging with the other lane of traffic. (From above, it looks a bit like teeth on a zipper coming together.) Because the system uses all of the available road space for as long as possible, it cuts congestion by 40 percent. It also reduces crashes because all traffic is moving at the same rate of speed rather than some cars going very fast while others poke along.

Some states like Missouri have even created their own videos to help educate drivers about this more efficient approach to merging in heavy traffic – see below.

What do you think? After reading this information, will you merge immediately when you see lane closure signs, or will you wait until the last possible moment?

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