In construction zones, it is often observed that while one lane of cars waits patiently in line to pass through the construction area, some vehicles speed from either the open lane or the closed lane and reach the front of the lane to reach the merging point. This process is known as ‘zipper merging’. In this post, our St. Louis car wreck lawyer will discuss the pros and cons of zipper merging.
The pros and cons of zipper merging
Zipper merging is a concept that has been met by a divided response. While zipper merging is considered as a hindrance and a danger by many drivers, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), it may prove to be a more efficient way to merge at construction zones. The FHWA says that it enables maximum use of available road space and keeps the traffic moving.
The concept of zipper merging, according to FHWA, has many positives –
- According to studies conducted by the FHWA, zipper merging can increase the flow of traffic in a construction zone by 15 percent. Moreover, it reduces waiting time at construction zones by 50% by creating two lanes.
- Zipper merging may reduce incidents of road rage. Waiting at construction zones can be extremely frustrating. This frustration can boil over into road rage causing motorists to engage in rash behavior they would otherwise not. Zipper merging makes use of both lanes reducing wait time, therefore reducing instances of road rage that could occur due to long wait times.
- Construction zone merge signs are usually put up much before the actual location of the construction zone merge. Often, heavy congestion can cause traffic waiting lines that extend well beyond these signs where incoming speeding vehicles are unable to read these signs and can cause an accident. Zipper merging reduces congestion and therefore enabling incoming vehicles to read these signs and reduce speed, avoiding rear end collisions.
Despite the positives, zipper merging presents certain cons as well. While the concept was developed to address traffic related problems at congested construction zones, the same cannot be true in places where there is no congestion.
- The zipper merge is not always safe. In less congested zones or low traffic areas, where motorists tend to speed, zipper merging can prove to be dangerous. A split second of misjudgment and a zipper merging car can crash into other waiting cars or the barricades.
- Most drivers are taught to merge early at construction zones and the concept of late zipper merging is new. Therefore many motorists are inexperienced and need to learn how to zipper merge. Zipper merging, requires more focus and attention and not many are adept at doing it.
- Zipper merging is often frowned upon by other motorists waiting for their turn. In such cases a driver may tend to incite frustration among other drivers causing tempers to fly.
While zipper merging has been implemented in many states, it is still a new concept that motorists still need to get acclimatized to. If you have been involved in a merging accident, our personal injury attorneys can help you receive compensation from the party at-fault. Call (314) 361-4242 today to schedule a free case evaluation.