Driving Instruction

How The Zipper Method Encourages Late Merging

June 29, 2021

How The Zipper Method Encourages Late Merging

Did you know that there are 1.3 million car accident fatalities each year around the world? Are you looking to abide by the rules of the road? In this article, you'll learn all about the zipper merge.

We will discuss merging traffic, zipper merge laws, and how to merge on a highway zipper. Read on to discover this merge rule so you can drive safer and avoid accidents.

What Is a Zipper Merge?

Understanding the merging rules of the road are not only imperative to follow for your own safety, but also for those around you.

Do you ever cars rushing over into other lanes due to a roadsign saying the lane ahead is closed due to a work zone? This quick movement can lead to road rage and car crashes.

If you're wondering, “what is a zipper merge?”  it's where you use both lanes fully until you reach the defined merge area. Once you reach the end of the driveable road, then you enter the opposite lane.

Most drivers think merging earlier is better, but that is not the case. In the clear lane, every car should take turns letting one car over from the blocked lane. Take a look at this video for a visual explanation.

To merge like a zipper: let one car merge from the blocked lane, then a car from the open lane can pass, then the next car should let one car over from the blocked lane, and so no. This pattern continues until all cars are through the merge zone, representing a zipper.

Early Merge vs Zipper Merge

Unfortunately, some drivers can become aggressive when they feel others are driving incorrectly. They try to block others from merging, which only causes more problems. If you follow the zipper merge rules, as opposed to an early merge, you're abiding by the zipper merge law and decrease your chances of an accident.

The zipper merge follows a regular zipper, where cars will fill in one behind the other. Leaving one lane open for too long will cause an increase in traffic. As more people become aware of this law, traffic will ease up in the area. While you might think the early merge is being a polite driver, you're not doing traffic any favors by leaving the lane open.

Merging early causes those in the other lanes to slow down to let you in and traffic flow problems. This can increase the risk of merging accidents. The biggest challenge is getting everyone to abide by the zipper merge and not thinking a driver is cutting others in the lane.

Benefits of The Zipper Method

While you might see the zipper method as rude, you're actually going to benefit the flow of the traffic. Using an extra lane for as long as possible is recommended.

The benefits of the zipper method include:

  1. Reduced congestion on highways
  2. Fewer accidents in construction zones
  3. Fewer speed variances
  4. Reduced traffic

There will be fewer people pulling in and out of lanes causing more traffic and unsafe driving. When you have many moving lanes instead of just one, then cars won't have to reduce their speed as much as waiting in one lane. Not only is it a safer method, but it's quicker as well, and many states are encouraging their drivers to follow suit.

The zipper merge is to be used in congestion to help traffic decrease and drivers to move more freely. You don't have to worry about stepping on the brakes, you ride in your current lane and then merge when the lane tells you to.

3 Types of Drivers Not Following The Zipper Method

Since many are unaware of the zipper method, many drivers want to get over into the other lane as soon as possible to not appear rude and take their turn. Those who follow the zipper method correctly could become blocked from those in the other lane thinking they're cutting them in line.

Entitled Drivers

Some drivers are under the idea that when they see the lane closed sign everyone should get over to the open lane as soon as they can. This could lead to a dangerous situation that could negatively impact the zipper merge, where they don't let the driver doing the zipper method over.

Impatient Drivers

If you merge early, you might find yourself impatient and stressed being stuck in a slow-moving lane. When you see others driving past you, it can cause anger and impatience. Those in the open lane should allow merging vehicles over into their lane when it's safe during the merging area.

Road Rage

If others aren't knowledgable about merging laws, you could be causing more damage to the traffic jam. Impatience leads to road rage, which is dangerous to everyone. If your lane isn’t moving, you may become frustrated and angry at the passing cars. This can all lead to traffic buildups when drivers don't let other cars merge following the zipper method.

Varied State Merging Laws

While most states accept the zipper merge, some states question it. California backs up the early merge. Some other states are hesitant to implement it as well even though it's extremely beneficial. The states that have implemented signs letting drivers know about the zipper method have seen more drivers following this rule.

Make sure you are following the Virginia state laws and abide by the zipper merge rules of the road. Read the Virginia Traffic Signals Quiz to learn more about the basics in preparation for your driver’s test.

Understanding the Zipper Merge

While everyone won't be doing the zipper merge overnight, it's important to let others know about this important rule. For the safety of others, and yourself, share this blog with someone today. Consider checking out another blog on 7 Useful Driving Tips if you are a new driver who wants to learn more.

Are you ready to get started and learn about the rules of the road? Check out our services today to get matched with one of our many driving courses.