When driving home from our cabin in northern Michigan, a sign on I-75 warned us that the left lane would be closed within four miles. After about half a mile, the traffic suddenly stopped. After sitting in the stop-and-go traffic for about 15 minutes, I noticed that a few cars in front were blocking the left lane, which was clear for several miles in front of this lane. Some self-righteous traffic police sit in the left lane and crawl at a slower speed than the right lane to prevent people from using it. I moved to the right lane. Eventually, I passed the man and returned to a clear left lane. Others lined up behind me to make the most of the road. In the jam before the temporary merge point, this is what you have to do.

As I understand it, “zip merging” reduces traffic backup by making use of all open channels. This seems intuitive to me. Two lanes filled with 500 cars will be half of a lane containing the same vehicles. Uh.

As we moved slowly in the left lane, another driver was dissatisfied with my presence there, waited until I was just behind him, and then rushed into my lane without warning. I suddenly turned to my shoulder to avoid him, and my heart beat faster, just like I had just spent an important moment near the walls of the Sonoma circuit, even though we were driving at 25 miles per hour, that moment was hardly better than another. Fast walking speed in one lane. My son asked what happened in the back passenger seat. If the driver acted his own way, that place might be hit by another car.

Obviously, when a person and his kindergarten children may be forced off the road, no matter what happens, my laws and experts suggest that using open lanes will be punished. Later that night, I closed my eyes and imagined that the driver’s long-standing inconvenience, incurable itching, and terrible food calmed me down to sleep.

I will also try to understand why someone would risk the lives and limbs of other drivers (and their own) by deliberately and suddenly carrying 3,000 pounds of metal onto someone’s road. Or, more harmless but equally illogical, why would they do what the first person did and block miles of open roads, putting them at the same or slow speed as the lane everyone ultimately needs to enter… finally. (I often see drivers straddling two lanes to cause the same despicable effect.) Of course, they must know that they are creating a traffic backup that is much worse than it needs to be, and sometimes stretches out enough to cause an on/off severe -Tilt back several miles.This is what i see all the time. So why would they do this?

Who is doing this, what are you thinking?

Do zip merge

First of all, this is you should Execute when the traffic is backed up before the merge point. It is called “zip merge” (or, “late merge”):

When you walk on the road where the lane is about to end-for example, marked “Left lane closed, 2 MILES”-stay in your lane. Be patient. Wait until the real merging point and then merge to give others the space they need to merge. At that time it should be a simple, alternate feed. Cars with open lanes move forward Moving, the cars with closed lanes move behind them. The cars with open lanes move forward, and the cars with closed lanes move behind them. A, B, A, B are like the teeth of a zipper together.

Cooperation It’s the secret recipe. The result is a faster and more organized traffic flow, with fewer back-up cars behind by making full use of all open lanes.

This is what a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation told me about the zip merger:

“If the traffic is smooth, it usually doesn’t matter when it passes. But when things start to get stuck and jam, we want people to use two lanes so that the backup doesn’t extend far. For example, if there are 1,000 cars in a jam, We would rather have 500 cars in one lane and another 500 in the other lane so that the spare car won’t be extended. This helps when there are curves, line-of-sight issues, or other intersections nearby.”

If you get a driver’s license from a cereal box, this is MDOT’s recommendation Is not To do (emphasis mine, because it may be the most important word you read this week):

“A driver who blocks an open lane is just creating a dangerous situation and citing Road rage. All they did was nothing more. “

Of course, the zipper merger was not invented by me—although I think any driver with any sense of spatial reasoning can come to this conclusion by himself—but it is accepted and advocated by traffic engineers, transportation departments, and driving educators.Country likes Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington, Which includes trying to get drivers to join the zip merge. It should be common sense now. When I mentioned that I was writing this article, a colleague said, “I think there is a case of opening and closing that supports zip merging.”

My answer is: “Not in Michigan, man.”

So let me ask again, what is your driver’s idea of ​​showing multiple violations of the national flag code on the pickup you lifted when you block an empty lane? Does obstructing traffic make you feel powerful? Do you think you are a policeman? Will you be passed on as an unbearable personal insult? Do you think you are helping in some way?

I won’t get a clear answer from Dr. Bill Van Tassel, the Driving Training Project Manager AAA, He answered my question about zipper merging very kindly.

Expert advice

Although Dr. Van Tassel has not seen any formal research on why people prevent zip merging, he has some speculations.When I suggested that these drivers think that they have contributed to some greater benefit to some extent, Van Tassel thought, “It may be more that people are more concerned about their own interests than,’Oh. , I think it will help. If I block this lane, then everyone can’t use it. I think it might be closer to the former, “This will help I Pass faster, if there are other things around me, then I will pass there more slowly, so I won’t let this happen. ‘”

The ideas of those drivers are flawed, which seems obvious to me, but you don’t have to believe me. As Van Tassel told me, zip merging clearly “speeds up.” Studies have shown that the use of zipper consolidation through temporary work areas can increase traffic flow by up to 15%, which Van Tassel calls a “nice little reward.” In addition, it can reduce the physical length of the backup by 40-75%.

Other benefits of zip merging

It also has a safety aspect (except for the obvious not to be in front of someone in the next lane, please).

Dr. Van Tassel believes that this helps improve the safety of personnel working in these construction areas. “As people enter that single lane more calmly and smoothly, we hope to only improve the safety of professional pedestrians, if you will. …they are the priority.”

Although he did not see much research on this aspect (except for traffic flow improvement, the lack of research on zip merging seems to be a theme), Van Tassel believes that zip merging also improves driver safety. “If you are in that lane, you have to make room for cars that need to move in front of you — or if you are a car entering that lane, you have to arrange the space to be there — which allows everyone to focus on Space.”

“Space is your best friend,” he added.

Communication is also an aid and benefit of zip merging. It is obvious what to do when cars take turns to merge into the lane, but communicating with people around by waving their hands or blinking their headlights will never hurt.

It is unlikely that practicing zipper merge will be good for the environment (This is a study that supports it)This is something that people like Van Tassel would like to see more research. “If we can shorten the length of traffic and increase the flow of traffic, then we may reduce the number of people sitting there idling-pollution from traditional engine cars. There may be some quantifiable environmental benefits, which may have a strong impact on some people. Appeal.”

Did i do something wrong?

I told Dr. Van Tassel about my previous anecdote on I-75 and asked for comments and criticism. I’m sure I will get a stop. This is his response:

“Generally speaking, if the overtaking can be completed safely, it is okay to pass by a slower vehicle. This must involve changing lanes twice, so safety is an important issue and it is worth mentioning. Do not give other roads to other roads during these operations. It’s also important for users (including pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) to cause any problems. One of our recommendations is to never let other drivers have to brake, Or revolve around you. This may be very applicable in this case.

“It is also worth noting that some states may prohibit overtaking on the right side, so drivers must understand the laws in their state regarding overtaking. In fact, slower drivers should drive in the rightmost lane, but this It doesn’t always happen….”

Not really.

Please cooperate with all riders to drive. And, whatever you do, don’t block the traffic.Everyone is trying to get somewhere, and We will all get there sooner It would be happier if we use zip merge.

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