YSK: that merging lanes are designed to be followed to the very end.

  1. Forwhatwver reason, arguing about zipper merges is like a national pasttime for me and my dad. It's insane that it comes up so much for us.

  2. Hahaha I just had a heated argument with my father and uncle in law about this last week... He was bragging about taking up two lanes to block the rude people passing everyone waiting patiently in line ... I was like dude... There wouldn't be a line if everyone just followed the rules, what you're doing is dangerous, and the cause of extra traffic backups. He insisted it was a moral dilemma and asked me "what if you were in line for a ride at Disneyland and people just jumped in front of you?" I said "it's fucking traffic... Not a line for a ride man... You can look up simulations that prove it's better for everyone if you just do the zipper merge" he insisted it was rude and we never came to an agreement

  3. I mean… I try to merge as soon as possible when it’s safe to do so. I don’t think this makes me part of the problem

  4. Have a spot where I live that has a merge lane about a mile long. One day in heavy traffic a cop in the adjacent lane was blocking the merge lane at the very beginning. He wouldn’t let anyone continue to the end of the merge. Thought to myself… how the fuck does this asshole not know that he is making it worse?

  5. If I was ever rich I would pay for billboards by the freeways with pictures that explain zipper merge and then we would still have people who wouldn’t understand.

  6. I used to argue the point with my ex, one night we were driving home and there was a 4 mile backup of people preemptively getting in the right lane. He joined it. I complained at first and tried to convince him to get into the left lane and merge at the end, but nope. So I started counting the cars flying by us… he got mad when I hit 100 and finally pulled out. We were about 3/4 miles from the merge by then.

  7. A lot of states don’t have long entrance ramps. Like here in Texas some ramps are maybe 30-50 feet long, to make it worse the come from a spot where it’s not easy for the driver on the highway to even see them coming in so the entire process is reliant on the drivers to proactive keep the space open when passing on ramps

  8. zipper merges should be taught in fucking 8th grade I don't know how so many people are ignorant to general etiquette and procedure. they go I go you go they go

  9. It only works if the guy next to you isn’t an asshole and doesn’t let you merge. Cops will say you were supposed to yield in the merge lane.

  10. Lived in Sweden for a few years and was blown away that people zipper merge near perfectly and don’t get bent out of shape. I’d say 99/100 people let you in when it’s your turn. They also drive speed limit for the most part and stay in the left lane when not passing…driving utopia for me.

  11. People know they’re suppose to merge like a zip, but I don’t think they actually grasp the concept that to merge like a zip, you need to leave a car sized gap in front of you for the other car to zip into.

  12. Just do what I do: refuse to get rid of a shitty car and watch as Taylor in his $40k pavement princess has to back down cause mofo knows I have nothing to lose

  13. the only reason i don't is because of other drivers. almost every time i follow the lane to the end in busy traffic, some jackass gets utterly pissed that i dare even consider merging in front of them when i had aaaaaallll that space to merge before the end of the lane, getting stuck merging from the breakdown lane or just at a complete stop in the merge lane until the unfortunately rare decent human being lets me in. it's infuriating when you have a perfectly safe distance to merge, but some douche canoe puts the pedal to the metal as soon as your blinker goes on because they never grew out of the preschool mentality that being first in line is more important than life itself.

  14. Pretty sure taking OP's advice is gonna result in me getting rear ended. In that that almost happened the last time I neglected to notice the lane was ending and tried to merge at the very end. The car in the other lane behind me literally sped just so that they didn't have to let me merge in front of them.

  15. Exactly. I don't get over early to be polite, I do it because other people are not (at least when driving lol) and I'd rather be going slowly than stuck trying to merge with no one letting me over.

  16. Yeah people say this shit online like they have a ten foot dick and yet I go around them on a daily basis.

  17. The most efficient way to merge is to do so without causing any braking behind you. If that is at the beginning or end of the merge lane, it doesn’t matter.

  18. Exactly. Yours is one of about 4 comments in this entire thread that is accurate and realistic. OP and all of the others who are bitching about zipper merging obviously don’t drive on highways on a daily basis.

  19. That's false because the people behind you will just speed ahead and merge in front of you, so you'll have to wait that much longer. And then you have the "nice" (dumb) people who will let multiple people merge in front of them as they move alongside the merge lane.

  20. Its the ones that just hug the line on the right and ooze over at 25 below the speed limit as their lane ends. If you’re going to ride it out to the end you should at least be doing the speed limit.

  21. as a trucker merging lanes are a pain the ass for me drivers seem to always slow down to a stop when merging instead of increase speed to match traffic

  22. No, merge lanes are to give you distance to accelerate to match traffic and merge safely. If the lane you are merging into is at a dead stop, it doesnt matter where you merge. There is nothing magical about the end of a merge lane other than it becoming the shoulder and at that point you really have to stop.

  23. OP says what should happen. What actually happens is the continuing lane goes slower because people getting over too soon and letting the lane that ends move ahead. It would be more fair if people followed OPs advice. But that’s not going to happen.

  24. After moving from the US to Germany, my theory is that drivers education is just severely lacking in the US, which makes people drive the way they do.

  25. Exactly, it's impossible to explain to people on reddit the difference between theory and practice and why you need to design systems around people and not expect people to conform to benefit the system just because they should when they don't have to.

  26. Or they could design the roads so that people don't have to follow advice, just put up a barrier or obvious lane markings so that people know they can't merge until the end

  27. Oke so lets say you drive to the end and need to get to a stop. Because they do not let you merge as they have right of way. Now you need to wait with merging till the oncomming traffic would not be impacted by your need to accelerate on the right most lane again. Not doing this means they have to slow down and those behind them.

  28. I'm assuming they're referring to when traffic is at a near stand still. If traffic is flowing well as it is in your example then this doesn't really matter.

  29. Technically they don’t have the right of way on a zipper merge. You are required to alternate. In reality, people won’t let you in sometimes which is also a cause for traffic backing ip

  30. It pains me to say this, because I agree with your sentiment 100%…but according to people who study traffic for a living, you (and by extension me) are wrong…

  31. No, everyone moving over immediately is compacting traffic into less lanes and therefore backing up traffic more. Using the merge lane till the zipper merge means more cars are spread out for a longer stretch of road.

  32. Well it’s a merging lane. If it’s being fully utilized people are going to recognize there is a lane that is being used that is ending. Most people are okay with zippering at an on ramp. If we normalized using the full capacity of the lane, people won’t be dicks about the zipper.

  33. Sounds like you’re describing a situation in which you and the other drivers are all not making proper decisions. Kind of a bummer, but driving improperly to avoid others you perceive as driving improperly just creates more of this shit.

  34. I've never once been stopped from zipper merging in decades of driving. Moving over early means you and the person correctly merging at the end will impact the lane at the same time causing double the slowdown to the merged lane.

  35. That worked once upon a time. Now, in a less civilized time, people will straight up run over you at the end of the merge.

  36. Lol, if I tried this I’d be run off the road or rear-ended. There are large swaths of people who would rather kill both you and themselves than let you go ahead of them. It’s much safer to merge as soon as the opportunity presents itself, efficiency be damned.

  37. Whatever, imma merge into the main flow of traffic as soon as it safe to do so. I’m not waiting until the end of the merging lane and pray that someone lets me in (because usually they won’t and I’ll get honked at or worse).

  38. I don't think it's a matter of being polite, its a matter of not trusting someone to let you merge in. People see "letting" someone merge as "optional", and there are a lot of assholes on the road.

  39. I don't mind if you merge in the beginning or at the last point of the dotted line. Once the line becomes solid, that's the end. No more chances to merge, better luck next time. Try merging earlier than. Don't drive on the shoulder of the freeway to try to cut five cars.

  40. Because mfers will speed past you on the merge to try to get in front, rather than waiting 2 seconds and merging behind you

  41. My understanding is that perfect zipper merging (with no stopping) is very difficult for normal people to do, so it ends up causing lots of stopping and contention at the end, while merging earlier allows you to find an opportunity to merge without having to stop, keeping traffic smoother. An "ideal" vs "real world" comparison.

  42. In Nebraska we have signs that literally say ‘stay in your lane’, ‘merge at point’ and ‘take turns’. People still can’t figure it out.

  43. Ok so part of the problem though is when you have heavy traffic and people in the lane that continues don't want to let the person in the lane that's ending over. I've been in situations where I was almost run off the road because my lane ended and people didn't feel like I should be in front of them so they didn't give enough space to get over. I'd rather get over early and cause a slow down than that.

  44. Right by where I live there are a couple “merging lanes” that are made for people turning into the road, but all the local assholes just use it as an extra lane to pass people with.

  45. Thing is, the average person refuses to let you in at the zipper, and the other average joe behind you tries their best to ram your ass and honk insistently despite the lack of anywhere to go, so you must plan to merge early to maintain anything resembling orderly motion, as opposed to having to deal with the angry five year olds that drive many vehicles.

  46. I get over right away because the alternative is getting fucked by someone at the very end, resulting in me getting on my brakes. I know I'm not supposed to do it, but I swear to god people speed up in my city just to screw you over if you wait till the end.

  47. Great YSK but I would add that if you are entering one of these lanes and they are leading to a highway...speed up to highway traffic. Trying to zipper merge 30mph below the highway speed doesn't work. So people behind the slow person end up moving early and breaking the entire structure.

  48. I mean if you are going full speed limit or more theres no traffic so doesnt really matter that much.if you are in bad traffic then you arent going full speed so merging at the end is easier.

  49. All things being equal, yes, it should work like the OP stated but humans are inattentive and selfish. In my area, New Mexico, the drivers will do anything to gain a half a second on you. Turn signals are a sign of weakness. Looking at another driver might get you shot. Get over while can, your life may depend on it.

  50. 100%. Can’t depend on the humans to change their behavior to solve the issue of traffic (or any other issue for that matter).

  51. Driver’s ed literally teaches you to get over as soon as it’s safely and legally possible to do so where I live lol

  52. The issue is two fold. People think that zipper merge means race to the end of the lane and force themselves in. Meanwhile people in the thru lane won't make spacing between. As someone else put it. Merging in a way that does not cause the vehicles behind to touch the brakes is the CORRECT way.

  53. I wish this were always possible. A lot of the time when I'm on the acceleration ramp theres a tractor trailer ahead of me chugging along at 30mph when we need to get to 65. Happens way too often and there's nothing i can do about it.

  54. Except that in some places there is no merge lane. It's an on and off ramp and sometimes they are connected. (Road keeps going from on ramp and turns into an off ramp) so following it to the end doesn't work. Merge where there is space and it's safe. Plain and simple.

  55. This is a very important point. People are not helping by zipping past traffic to skip the two lanes that are bogged and stopping to be let in, therefore blocking the still-moving lane that goes elsewhere. Zippers work in some places, but in cities things get more complicated often things may not be as simple as "just zipper"

  56. Yes and no. Always have to maintain the speed of traffic and be pro active. People aren’t paying attention on the road at an all time high. You just need to get to the next lane, regardless of how long it does or doesn’t take.

  57. No thanks. I don't want the anxiety of being at the end of the merge and having to brake completely when nobody lets me in.

  58. In my experience, that's the more usual outcome. Lane comes to an end but I can't merge over because nobody will let me out. I get stuck there until traffic gets stopped at a traffic light usually. As soon as I see the Lane Ends sign, I start looking for the opportunity to merge and get out of that lane ASAP.

  59. Wait you mean I'm not supposed to cut over the solid white line and cut off the other three cars ahead of me trying to merge? Oh....

  60. Same as the people who incorrectly use the passing lane and create traffic. Where I live, the amount of human created traffic from incorrect merging, improper use of the passing lane, and just general selfishness is astounding. And of course, those are the same people that loudly insist they are doing it right whenever these kinds of posts come up.

  61. I dont pass early because it seems polite, I'm doing it because we're getting on the highway and the person in front of me is still only going 40 mph

  62. I have signs up around me that call it "Alternate Merge" and it can be confusing, I misread the word "alternate", ... I think zipper merge is easier to understand.

  63. Not only do they merge before the end but they also tailgate in an effort not to let a single car from the other lane in front! 😡

  64. I know it’s fucking stupid. I’ve seen people ride on the line so as to not anyone else behind them merge ahead of them if they wanted to.

  65. YSK: the “end of the lane” is where the dashed line ends. After that, it is ONE LANE. The merge is done. No more passing, even if there’s “room” to squeeze your car past the cars already in the lane in front of you.

  66. My physics professor grandfather explained this to me when I was like 9, and now I feel totally justified in my zipping past traffic in the open lane

  67. They’re meant for you to get up to speed of the other cars by the time you’re merging- that’s why you’re not supposed to fully stop. If only people understood. I love the ones that just sit right at the end of the merge lanes with blinkers on.

  68. I might also add, if people just kept a moderate low speed during a traffic jam, it would clear up a lot faster. When people are constantly breaking and speeding up, it constipates the flow of traffic. If you maintain a good speed of 15-30 (or whatever speed is appropriate for where you are at the moment in between cars) you won't have to slam breaks and speed up so frequently.

  69. this literally does not work often enough to be an always thing. more often than not if you try to do this you will crash into the barrier because people won't let you in. just merge whenever you can, christ sake

  70. Anyone who thinks utilizing the merge lane all the way is annoying or selfish is just dealing with the cognitive dissonance of realizing theyre a lemming. Youre not mad because the other person is selfish for doing what theyre supposed to, youre mad that other people arent making the same dumb ass decision you did causing you to wait an extra 10 minutes

  71. wholeheartedly agree... for the most part, as long as the lane signage is done properly. Unfortunately there are too many private companies in the mix cutting corners and you get abrupt changes with horrible transitions. I've been on the planning side of this plenty enough to know how it can be done well and there are a lot of folks who don't even check their work zones.

  72. I drive a bus for work. And the amount of people who don't understand zipper merging, is astounding. One time, I had a guy damn near hit my front bumper/side because he felt like HE should go behind the car I just let in (using zipper merging correctly). I then pulled up next to him at the next light and yelled at him about how he needs to learn zipper merging, to which he said he knew about it. Just didn't give a fuck I guess.. and somehow tried to explain that I was a public servant, as a bus driver, and should have let HIM in because of it. The fucking audacity of this fucker!

  73. YOU should know that while theoretically correct, no one fucking lets you in if you wait that long if theres traffic.

  74. Ok the other thing people need to understand about merge lanes, specifically entrances onto highways, is they are intentionally long enough for you to accelerate to highway speed BEFORE merging into the flow of traffic. I commute on the interstate every day, speed limit of 70 mph, and without fail a couple times a week I'm behind some knuckledragger who gets up to 45 and immediately cuts over to the travel lane when there's still a solid quarter mile or more of merge lane in front of them. Now I either have to follow their lead and merge behind them at a dickishly low speed, or gun it and pass them in the merge, which is also kind of a dick move and not safe.

  75. I agree that ideally that's what should happen. In the real world though, you also get the problem with people failing at zipper merging then braking and causing traffic. People in the thru-lane will often bunch up and not let people from the merge lane in without cutting someone off.

  76. OP is accurate. I work with a lot of engineers and civil engineers and road construction companies and when they design a road to be shut down and traffic flow etc. they plan on both lanes being fully utilized. You should go as far as possible in either lane then zipper merge.

  77. Don’t do it. Move over when you can safely. Theoretical design and actual function are two completely different things. It takes just one bad day for you to get T-boned or shot for cutting someone off.

  78. One of my pet peeves on the road honestly. We have a highway that goes from three lanes to two and there is literally a two mile stretch where the closing lane is not being used at all. And then all the people wonder why traffic is so backed up.

  79. Something can be technically correct and not practical at the same time. What happens if you get to the end of the merging lane and you can’t merge, you just stop? then you have to cut into traffic from a dead stop and, uh oh, back up traffic!

  80. Merging very suddenly went viral and now everyone acts like a civic planner and it's beginning to annoy me. Clearly the design doesn't work and still makes traffic. Like the viral roundabout demonstration where small initial conditions cause massive changes in the pattern, it's game theory or chaos theory or whatever you want to call it. You can also merge early. Either way please stop lecturing me like you just cured traffic. You didn't.

  81. There are people who zipper merge correctly, but then there are the floor it, race to the front, force their way in without signaling people and I think those people make everyone have a bad perception of zipper merges

  82. idk man...I'd rather merge as soon as I find an opening, rather than wait all the way until the end and now there's no chance and i run out of lane. I don't know if I'd slam on my brakes or go plowing into the grass

  83. Yeah but how things SHOULD work and how things ACTUALLY work are widely different. I try to go to the very end and merge, but often I end up being completely stopped for a while because people will NOT let other people over because they think those people were selfish and doing the wrong thing and want to punish them for not doing the “correct” thing.

  84. When its lanes narrowing down to less lanes....The point is if cars are backed up you shouldnt be able to use it to skip cause the lane should be full

  85. You’re the problem driver that this post is calling out. If there’s a driving lane, USE IT. That’s why it’s there. All you “polite” drivers are causing the congestion to be worse by not using the entire road.

  86. No. Fuck that. As soon as you know a merge is coming, fucking merge. If you wait until this end, this Masshole will ruin his own car before letting you in.

  87. What you are suggesting is subjective, up to everyone interpretation. You know what is not subjective? Stay in lane till it ends, but match speed once merge signs begin. Objective. Teachable.

  88. This gets posted way too often, and it always leaves out the following critical information: The zipper merge only works when everyone participating in the merge understands it and uses it.

  89. So many people feel the need to jump in front of as many people as possible. Think you are in front of the zipper? Guess again, because here comes big pickup guy plowing through in the shoulder.

  90. People keep saying this, but I don't see how it can be true. The people cutting everyone off is what's causing the backup.

  91. Not using all of the available roadway is an inefficient use of roadway at a time when it’s more necessary. If they put the notification a half mile back and everyone starts merging at that point? It just starts the traffic backup further back.

  92. It depends where you live. Here, they used to want you to merge ASAP but they recently decided to implement zipper. While it does make more sense, people are still not doing it because they’re used to the old way.

  93. If people aren't supposed to merge until the end, then it is a fault in the lane markings. There should be an extra thick solid line there until the end, basically making it "illegal" to merge until the end.

  94. BS zipper merging only works in a perfect it only takes one fool to screw it up. Just merge into the correct lane as soon as it's safe and avoid the bottleneck. Works much better in a real world scenario.

  95. No it doesn't. Watch a simulation, merging early causes a chain reaction stoppage wave through the whole lane. I do it daily and it works fine. One fucknut is always going to do it wrong that doesn't mean you join them and magnify the problem

  96. Usually when I’m following merge lanes some dickhead in a big truck veers over to block both lanes so I can’t get in front of him.

  97. EXACTLY THIS! I live in a small town where we locals use our merge lanes correctly as described and there’s no stopping, high flow. On the weekends the tourists show up and fuck them all up.

  98. I purposely dont leave any room for people to try to cut in right at the start and force them to the end of the lane. Only then so i open up space for them.

  99. This entirely depends on the local area and community. I spent a lot of time on road trips. In some place, like seattle for instance..I saw a perfect zippermerge on a bridge and it blew my mind.

  100. Everyone is incorrectly framing this as merge early or be a zoom by a**hole. You should stay in lane till it ends, but match speed once merge signs begin. Objective. Teachable.

  101. I think that works in theory, but there are far too many jackasses on the road who won’t let you over at the end. Just try and avoid that none sense altogether

  102. In my experience, I watch people zoom through the merging lane then yank their car in which causes a domino effect in which multiple cars break and slow down, making traffic even worse

  103. I agree. I hate that people get over prematurely and then take up both lanes because they don’t want anyone else to take advantage of the available 100-200 feet of lane left. It’s ridiculous 😩

  104. Passing on the right is illegal where I'm from, yet people seem to use these merging lanes for exactly that. Srsly, wtf is wrong w/ ppl? If it's stop and go traffic, zooming ahead a few car lengths only demonstrates that individual regards others as less than themselves.

  105. This is terrible advice, if you have any speed as you go to the end and the other guy doesnt let you zipepr merge you are going to crash or at the best slam on your brakes.

  106. Ish... its only bad to merge early if doing so causes another car to hit breaks atall. If you can merge early without affecting the flow of traffic then there is no problem with doing it.

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