traffic jamNavigating through traffic requires a lot of skill; even more so when there are lane closures that require motorists to condense into fewer spaces. There are many theories of proper merging techniques, including the "zipper" merge, which suggests drivers take turns entering the consolidated lane at what's called the "chokepoint"—or the last moment a car can enter into traffic before lane closure.

The Concerns of Zipper Merging

The main problem regarding zipper merging is many drivers simply don't know how to do it, because they may be following another principle of merging. Consequently, it's hard to communicate your intent as a driver to do one thing while others around you are attempting something different. This often results in the following zipper merge disadvantages:

  • Increased confusion. Many motorists use the disappearing lane to bypass slower traffic. Once they get to the point where they have to merge, they simply push their way in. If drivers waiting in the slow lane don't understand this principle, which is more in line with zipper merging, it causes a lot of frustration, and may lead to reckless driving and an increased potential for accidents.
  • Increased congestion. The failure of motorists to take turns and alternate through the bottleneck can increase congestion. One lane continues to move while the other remains at a standstill.
  • Increased road rage. The confusion over merging techniques makes it hard for drivers to find a smooth path forward to the merge. Even the sweetest person can become overly enraged as he or she witnesses other drivers passing them as if they were somehow more important. Sudden braking and increased frustration may lead to a direct collision.

For motorists who were taught to merge early, it's hard to accept the concept that "it's okay to 'cut'," according to Kristi Ericksen, an engineer with the Kansas Department of Transportation. And while many states support zipper merging because it seems to be more effective in high-traffic, low speed situations, many others do not. As of this writing, Florida doesn't have an official position on the subject. Experts agree that ongoing education of drivers on acceptable merging techniques will continue. If you'd like more information on merging etiquette, feel free to browse our site for extensive collections of articles and blogs.

If you've been in a collision due to a merging conflict, please contact our office directly for a more in-depth analysis of your claim options. You can do so by filling out the convenient scheduling form located on this page, or by calling us at (386) 673-4412 for a free consultation.


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