The next time you drive up to a road construction site transportation experts want you to think “Zipper.” So instead of merging into a single lane early as possible, experts state that it is better to drive to the end of the lane that has to merge and proceed to take turns merging in a zipper-like fashion.
The problem typically occurs when most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone and they immediately slow down and attempt to merge into the lane that will continue through the construction area. People assume that if they don’t merge early they no-one will allow them to merge later, or that it is impolite to pass up the line to merge closer to the work zone. And sometimes driver’s will react angrily that another car has passed them up after they had been waiting in line first and for a longer time. Some will even straddle the center line between the two lanes to prevent such attempts.
But the reality is that the passersbys are following proper protocol while the lane straddlers are in the wrong. Zipper merging is the most efficient way for traffic to come together when the number of lanes has been reduced.
This early merging behavior often leads to dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and even road rage.
Experts state the benefits of zipper merging is that research shows it decreases the possibility of dangerous lane switching and other accidents that lead to road rage. Don’t worry about being nice at the first sight of a construction zone. Stay in your current lane up to the point of merging. Then alternate with other drivers to safely ease into the remaining open lane.
So the bottom line is that courtesy driving in the context of lane closures is to proceed to the end of the lane where you take turns merging into the open lane. This will lead to less accidents and road rage.