The Zipper Merge

A bill is being proposed in the Washington Legislature to fund additional education to teach students in driver’s ed how to properly merge into traffic, using “The Zipper Merge” technique.


Road Rage And The Zipper Merge

Having spoken before about the dangers of road rage, we cannot stress enough how effective proper zipper merging can be for diminishing road rage and facilitating a greater flow of traffic. Zipper merging refers to the areas designed to keep traffic moving when road construction, an automobile crash, or simply just roadway design force two lanes to become one, or “merge.”

During a zipper merge, drivers use both lanes fully until they come to the point where one lane ends at which time cars on the closing lane take turns entering the main flow of traffic.

A lot of people assume that the correct procedure is to get immediately into the flow of traffic upon seeing a lane ending. In heavy traffic, they may even slow down, signal and try to get into the destination lane long before the merge point. While this may feel like the right and correct course of action, the proper use of the zipper merge requires proceeding to the very end of the merge lane, then alternating entry into the primary lane with other drivers.

One Exception To The Rule – Light Traffic

Whereas in light traffic it may well be possible to enter the primary lane early, in moderate to heavy traffic it is best to use both lanes right up to the merge point.


How Effective Is The Zipper Merge

When done properly, a zipper merge can reduce backups by up to forty percent, which leads to smoothly flowing traffic, happier drivers and thus fewer incidents of road rage. When done improperly, it can lead not just to road rage but miscommunication between lanes and car accidents as well. And we all know that an added car accident is going to slow traffic even more!

Rules To Live By

So how does one properly use the zipper merge to fullest effect? Here are a few key points to remember when using the zipper merge:

  • Stay in your lane – When preparing to merge into the main flow of traffic, it is wise to remain in your current lane and move over only when approaching the actual merge point.
  • Alternate with drivers already in the destination lane – At the zipper merge point, you should take turns with drivers already in the destination lane. This is the time to set one’s ego aside and not begrudge people their position when merging, regardless of which lane one may have started in or who arrived when.
  • Don’t speed – When preparing to merge, slow down. If you find yourself in an open lane because others merged early, resist the urge to speed up. Deviation from speed limits is a common factor in zipper merge auto accidents.
  • Trust the process – While it may seem counterintuitive or even rude to not move over into the main flow of traffic at the earliest opportunity, drivers who stay in their up to the merge point are actually using the zipper merge technique correctly. When all drivers play their respective parts during a zipper merge, traffic congestion is significantly reduced, tempers don’t flare and road rage scenarios and car crashes are usually avoided.


Keep Calm And Call A Car Accident Attorney If You Need One

In closing, the law offices of Wiener & Lambka would like to encourage you to always keep calm, drive defensively, and to always be considerate of your fellow motorists.

Check out the video for first-hand information from a car accident lawyer at Wiener & Lambka PS:

If you are looking for a proven professional, then please give us a call.
Contact your local Wiener & Lambka office today.

If you are looking for a proven professional, then please give us a call.
Contact your local Wiener & Lambka office today.


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