Construction Zone Ahead? Don't Merge Yet, Transportation Officials Say

You know those drivers facing a construction zone narrowing the lanes of traffic who zip up to the front of the line and cut in?

Annoying for the patient drivers who stay back and wait for an opening in traffic, right?

Well, transportation officials from several states say that tactic actually results in less congestion and is the recommended practice.

If drivers see that their traffic lane will close ahead, they should wait until the point where the lane is closed off before merging, some traffic experts propose.

Kansas is the latest state to adopt this strategy, while a number of states, including Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington, have already adopted the “zipper merge.”

Minnesota even created this informational video on the practice:

The strategy can reduce traffic delays by 35 percent, Colorado Department of Transportation told USA Today.

The thinking is that those drivers who stay back and wait to merge are leaving a lane unused, a Colorado transportation official told the newspaper.

This spring, the Kansas Department of Transportation rolled out a memo encouraging drivers to start using the zipper merge.

“When traffic volumes are heavy and traffic is moving slow, it is much safer for motorists to remain in their current lane until the point where traffic can orderly take turns merging,” the Kansas Department of Transportation memo reads.

What do you think? Should California drivers adopt the zipper merge? Leave a comment below.

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