Drivers who get frustrated when other motorists wait until the last possible moment to merge in construction zones need to reconsider their long-held notions of highway courtesy, transportation officials in a growing number of states are concluding.
Transportation departments in Missouri and Kansas have joined Minnesota and Washington in urging drivers to use the “zipper merge” method when approaching lane closures, most often associated with road construction.
Using all available lanes until the last moment, then alternating entry into the open lane, helps reduce accidents by keeping both lanes moving at the same speed, said David Silvester, a Missouri Department of Transportation engineer.
“This isn’t rocket science,” he said. “It’s easy.”
The goal is to change a mindset among drivers whose first instinct is to get in line as soon as they see a sign warning of closed lanes ahead, Silvester said. For those folks, drivers who buzz past in the lane that is ending and crowd back into line at the last second are considered rude or inconsiderate.
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