You’re Probably Merging Wrong In Construction Zones
With construction season in full swing, it's probably a good time to talk about the "Zipper Merge", which is a real thing that road construction crews expect us to do when we come up to construction zones with closed lanes..
So how what is the "zipper merge"? According to MnDOT (By the way, I'm using Minnesota's DOT because they have better info regarding merging in construction.)
When a lane is closed in a construction zone, a zipper merge occurs when motorists use both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area, and then alternate in "zipper" fashion into the open lane.
Usually we call those people jerks, because they cut to the front of the line.. which is kind of dumb, since it’s not like we’re all going to the same place and get ice cream if we get there first; but if we would wait to merge, traffic would flow better, according to multiple sources that work with traffic flow.
Some other questions MnDOT answered about the zipper merge:
So I'm supposed to merge late?
Yes! As you see the “lane closed ahead” sign and traffic backing up, stay in your current lane up to the point of merge. Then take turns with other drivers to safely and smoothly ease into the remaining lane. Don't worry about being "Minnesota nice." When traffic is heavy and slow, it is much safer for motorists to remain in their current lane until the point where traffic can orderly take turns merging.
When not to do the zipper merge
When traffic is moving at highway speeds and there are no backups, it makes sense to move sooner to the lane that will remain open through construction. The bottom line is to merge when it is safe to do so.
Still not sure of the whole "zipper merge" and if it really works? Check out this video (from another state) and let the talking cones explain it a bit better, mostly because they have moving pictures… check it out.