They Might Annoy You, But Drivers Who Merge At The Last Second Are Actually Doing It Right
"I like to sit in traffic," said no man ever! Like death and taxes, traffic is one of those universal truths that we can all agree is no fun. And perhaps one of the biggest traffic inducers on the road these days are lane mergers.
Whether it is because of construction or an accident, merging into fewer lanes always seems to raise the blood pressure of many drivers because they can't stand the last minute mergers who appear to slow things down.
The cars that drive in the closing lane till the end and then signal to merge into the moving lane, are often looked at as trying to cheat the system. After all, why should you let them cut in and get ahead when clearly you read the sign and followed it right away!
Despite of what you might think of these last minute mergers, transportation experts are now telling drivers to start merging differently, and it might surprise you...
Severalstudies now show that trying to merge as soon as you see a lane merger sign is not always the safest or the quickest. According to sources, people who merge early are simply creating a single lane of slow moving traffic. It in effect minimizes the amount of usable road and can even cause more accidents.
The solution then is what the German's call Reißverschlusssystem, or Zipper Mergein English. The way this works is for every car in the closing lane to drive till the very end and at the last minute take turns merging over into the other lane.
Since this system uses all available road space more effectively and as long as possible, it is said to reduce congestion by 40 percent, and also tends to reduce accidents because traffic is pretty much moving at the same speed instead of speeding to merge over.
Just like a zipper's teeth that come together without a hitch, the merging lanes tend to keep things moving smoothly and safely when the last minute merge rule is followed.
It's no surprise however that not many drivers know about this effective method and hesitate to follow it. Many states, including Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Washington, and Minnesota are relying on campaigns to educate the public and some even going as far as ticketing those who don't follow the rule.
Where the system fails however is that it only works if all drivers follow the rule. And despite campaigns, it might just take a really long time for all of the public to catch on to the concept and stop giving their last minute merging "friends" an obscene gesture!
Watch this video for the perfect demonstration of Zipper Merge.
It might take some time for the Zipper merge to catch on and perhaps even longer for us to believe the last minute mergers aren't all jerks! In the meantime, the solution that always seems to work is to keep calm and not give in to road rage induced by other drivers. Because, let's admit it, getting there eventually will always be more important than not getting there at all.