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How does the zipper merge work?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Car Accidents

When there is road construction on the interstate, it’s often necessary for drivers to merge. If the left lane is closed, for example, all of the vehicles need to merge over into the right lane.

The unfortunate reality is that many drivers do not understand how to merge correctly. As soon as they see that there’s a backup in traffic, they all start merging to the right. This creates a very long line of cars all using one lane, which is highly inefficient when two lanes are still open.

Merging at the front

To merge correctly, drivers should use the zipper merge. This means that both lines of traffic continue all the way up to the exact point where the merge needs to take place. Instead of merging at the back of the line, drivers are supposed to merge at the front. This is more efficient because it uses the entire roadway and traffic will move more smoothly. Drivers just take turns, with one vehicle from the right lane, followed by a vehicle from the left, and then back to the right – and so forth.

But because many drivers don’t understand how this works, they will sometimes act aggressively when other drivers continue on to the front of the line. This can lead to road rage and car accidents, such as when a frustrated driver tries to cut off a driver who is merging correctly. It also leads to excessive traffic congestion, which increases the odds of rear-end accidents and chain reaction accidents.

As long as drivers keep making these mistakes, accidents will continue. Those who have been injured need to know about all of their legal options to seek compensation.