When you are driving and come to a construction zone that requires traffic to merge out of a lane, what do you do?
I usually merge into the first available open space. Frankly, it’s always bothered me when people speed down the soon-to-be-closed lane despite the signage, then merge at the last possible minute. That just doesn’t seem… egalitarian. It kinda feels like I’m being taken advantage of.
But I learned today that there’s a better way. Traffic experts say the best strategy when traffic is backing up is something called a “zipper merge” — fill up all available space in both lanes, then take turns letting vehicles from the closing lane in, kinda like teeth on a zipper. It may seem rude, but supposedly it will reduce back-ups by as much as 40 percent!
If the concept sounds foreign to you, there is plenty of guidance on the Internet. Study the illustration, from the Texas Department of Transportation (http://txdotsanantonio.blogspot.com/2016/10/is-zipper-merge-rude.html ). Especially check out the YouTube video “How To Zipper Merge” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wgSjstvsPc).