Lifestyle

TxDOT Discusses the Importance of the ‘Zipper Merge’

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Sometimes we all need a little refresher on the rules of the road, and the concept of the “zipper merge” is one traffic anomaly that’s often misunderstood. TxDOT San Antonio explains on their blog, “The idea is simple: when approaching a merge situation on a road or highway – that is, when two lanes move down to one – the merge should take place as near to the merge point as can be done. Doing so can improve traffic flow and safety.”

Though the idea is simple, the follow through can be difficult in practice. Those who are driving in the lane that must merge may feel anxious about getting over as soon as possible so they don’t have to nudge in later. People driving in the lane that continues on often feel like the mergers are waiting too late and “cutting” in line, and therefore they might not let people over.

As long as the traffic is slowed down (if one is traveling at a higher speed, it’s not worth the risk), it’s best for everyone to join like a zipper! The Minnesota DOT reports that zipper merging “reduces the overall length of traffic backup by as much as 40 percent,” so the benefit is worth it if we all work together on the road.