What Is A Zipper Merge And Is It the Best Way To Merge In Traffic?
With the warmer weather months upon us, comes the construction season as well. Yes I know, we have two seasons - winter and construction. I've heard that too many times.
First, and most importantly, with all the roadway construction happening in work zones throughout the Southern Tier of New York and Northeast Pennsylvania, I can't stress enough the importance of following the posted signs and slowing down.
Keep our hard-working construction workers safe. Too many times we hear of road construction worker fatalities, and the Southern Tier is no stranger to this fact.
That said, in areas of merging traffic where two or more lanes are narrowed down to one, there seems to be confusion and/or debate as to when to merge.
According to Greater Binghamton Today, various state DOTs around the country are adopting the 'Zipper Merge.' What is the Zipper Merge? One of our Townsquare Media radio stations in Bizmark, North Dakota, Cool 98.7 puts it in this context:
The concept is simple. Rather than having all the cars merge into the open lane as early as possible, all cars should use all lanes as long as possible and then cars take turns merging. - Cool 98.1
It's designed to be the most effective and quickest way to move through work zone roadway construction sites. Now, will motorists follow this and be courteous? I've seen plenty of motorists who don't merge until their lane just about runs out.
Now, is that the correct way to do it? I usually merge way before the lane runs out. Am I in the wrong? Now, I like the Zipper Merge idea, but only if everyone would adhere to it. And I'm not sure New Yorkers have that kind of patience.
Requires that a driver in possession of a lane must yield the right of way to all vehicles which properly signal their intent to merge into their lane or are attempting to avoid an obstacle in the road. - NYS Senate