However there are two solutions that could promote zipper merging:
(1) Force both lanes to the center before moving that center lane to the side that is available ahead:
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I wonder if cultures where queueing (like, in the grocery store) is not as common as in the US have this problem? I suspect not.
There is one area where a permanent two-lane road merges into a single lane. The funny thing is that (mostly) Belgians never use the second (left) lane that eventually merges into the single right lane.
This always seems stupid to me, because it increases the length of the traffic jam so much, that the traffic jam goes all the way over a roundabout, causing stops for all drivers, even the ones not going in the same direction as us.
The worst thing is, whenever I use the left lane - which I do all the time (and in return, pass 60 cars waiting in line), people sometimes get so angry that I've had two trucks in the past few months hitting the gas and blocking the left lane so no one can pass anymore.
Last month a new sign was installed along the road "Please use both lanes, drive all the way to the front and THEN start merging". Even now, people still choose to wait in line at the right lane. It is as if people feel guilty when they see a whole lane being empty and available to drive on.
The zip system is used ubiquitously here - I didn't even know there were other systems, so I was curious to see what new thing the article was about. From what I understood, the alternative is not really a "system"?
First option will not improve since (at least in Europe) it just changes lane priority. In linked article's merge case priority traffic is in left lane, since right one merges. In your center merge case priority traffic is on the right (when doing simultaneous merges to center lane, one on the right has priority over the one on the left). So it probably won't change anything.
Barrier option is much better, but it has challanges and restrictions of their own.
Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention that over here in Latvia I see people starting to respect zip merging. It's all in our head. Not because government said, but because everybody follows simple rule and everybody gets home faster and with less stress :)
I like option 1 because it forces everyone to move.
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Another idea is a temporary speed bump in the lane that is not ending.
Unfortunately, this spot still has lots of early merging. Some high traffic areas have special lanes for zipper merging, but I think the emphasis is on changing drivers' habits through public service announcements rather than redoing the lane structure.
Thankfully my city is replacing as many stop signs as possible with traffic circles, where you'd have to be a complete idiot to yield to someone who got there after you.
In Seattle, we have traffic circles in many of our residential neighborhoods. People still do this here. Another common thing is people taking lefts by just driving on the left side of the circle (I've had people honk at me for taking lefts the correct way)
Out of curiosity, is your traffic circle configured in a way where taking that left requires no turning while the proper right actually takes effort?
But yes, turning left instead of going around them should take no more effort than a typical left turn between small streets, while doing it the proper way requires a fairly tight turn. They seem mainly designed to force cars to slow down.
Tell them this: imagine a big circular road. Then imagine other roads joining it with T junctions. Then imagine the road is one-way. Finally just shrink the road in your head.
That's all it is!
This is how it would work in a sane system, but they don't always work this way. I can think of several examples in New Jersey, particularly around Flemington, where the circle manages the intersection of two roads having different importance. In these cases, the important road is given the right-of-way all the way through the circle, and those coming around the circle from the lesser road are required to yield.
Relevant to the circular road with T-intersection analogy, I'm reading the Wikipedia page on T-intersections and I must admit the concept that "vehicles on the right always have the right-of-way" makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But I suppose that weird rule would screw up the circular road metaphor.
In countries where you drive on the right, I believe the typical default rule is that traffic coming from the right has priority. In roundabouts, this would mean that traffic on the roundabout must wait for those joining it. However, the rule is reversed for roundabouts. (This definitely applies to Germany, and I suspect that it applies in most other countries as well.)
You'd be surprised. Or else the vast majority of drivers around here are complete idiots. They basically treat traffic circles like a confusing 4-way stop sign. It's infuriating.
(1) add the barrier from option 2 to option 1, so that all the merging happens at the front.
(2) Keep the "make both parties move structure" from option 1, but don't make it 100% symmetrical. Instead, nudge the top lane down just enough so they are forced to slow down and somewhat zipper in with the bottom lane.
Even with zipper merging the right-of-way is going to be on the person who is staying in their own lane.
I'm not sure if my experience is regional, or even imagined, nor do I know the reason...I'd imagine it makes assigning blame in an accident much easier, but that's a really crappy basis for traffic rules.
I'm pretty well convinced that we'd never hit critical mass of drivers that feel morally obligated to even moderately inconvenience themselves to benefit the merging of others. That merge pattern is a recipe for stalled traffic in the right hand lane.
First one seems workable, though.
It has been repeatedly advocated and promoted by various governments in Europe  and I doubt anyone questions its effectivity. Some experiments have been done in the past with alternative methods like zipper merging with groups of cars, but this is only applied when traffic can be regulated (with lights or traffic controllers). The nice thing about zipper merging is that with enough public knowledge, drivers can regulate merging themselves.
:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNhnLYI2Efw – Dutch government TV ad from 1989 which explains and promotes zipper merging (albeit very poorly, I must admit).
I still try it every time because most of the times, it just saves me a lot of time.
I've never seen/heard of people being fined for not doing it or preventing people to merge.
Yeah, it's funny :) In U.S. they have the same with road circles/roundabout. Some time ago I watched TED talk where the speaker was talking about this like it was some amazing innovation :)
* The vast majority of the people blasting down the late-merge lane clearly have no interest in alternating or merging into the largest/safest gap at the end. They'll squeeze into the smallest latest gap that they think they can possibly get away with.
* Quite a few of the early mergers feel they've already done their part. Whether they're competitive, territorial, or sincerely concerned with traffic flow/safety, they're not much interested in alternating with the late mergers either.
So how does this play out every effing day at construction projects and toll booths? You end up with a few late mergers playing chicken with a few early mergers at the chokepoint, jockeying for position inch by inch and degree by degree as they try to cut each other off. That's where all the "vigilantes" come from - they're people who are already stuck in the aftermath, they know how it happened, and they have decided that they'd rather settle for forced early merge than botched zipper merge.
Without enforcing proper merge behavior on both sides, zipper merge just becomes a big Prisoners' Dilemma game with a few defectors screwing all of the cooperators.
Except unlike prisoner's dilemma, it's not a zero (or negative) sum game. The entire traffic flow can speed up if zipper merging is done. The "late mergers" don't have to risk losing their game of "chicken" while the "vigilantes" don't have to deal with the reckless maneuvers of some of the former.
People don't do zipper merging because people are human and drive emotionally . The stereotypes of the conservative early merger claiming the moral high ground and the reckless late merger doing anything to save a few minutes are the cultural results of this mentality.
 Another example is the special breed of driver who stops the traffic flow on a major road (which has the right of way) to let someone on a minor cross road or parking lot exit onto the major road, thus inconveniencing everyone behind them for the self satisfaction of having helped the one person they can see.
1. The same thing applies to stopping to let people turn left across traffic, where the left lane of oncoming traffic is stopped and the right lane is clear.
This is similar to the person on a grocery checkout line who lets someone cut in front of them; they are also putting that person ahead of every other person behind them the line.
It's an interesting situation; people feel they are doing the right thing yet apparently never stop to think how they are imposing their decision on others.
There's a blind-spot of sorts regarding the larger effects of their actions.
Or because you know that otherwise they'll be at that crossing for the next hour if nobody's willing to let them by. Perhaps there are some funny allusions to net neutrality to be made here...
The scenario I had in mind while writing my post is that of the local road which crosses a major stretch of highway. Such highways might be an actual interstate, a busy two-lane highway, etc. One of the worst types of road to cross is the one that is far too wide for its own good– an ambitious 6-lane road with not enough traffic to ever be full (Trenholm Road in SC, ahem), but enough so that drivers spread out across all lanes and make crossing very annoying sometimes. There are parts of the Taconic (NY) that pretty bad to cross, though I'm usually the one on the highway. The local cross sometimes gets backed up 5-10 cars, 2-3 of which are stuck in the median. Getting on the highway or going around by going the next town can add 10+ miles. Letting someone cross by slowing down a bit and changing lanes is not, in my opinion, a smug assault on the efficiency of those driving on the highway... it's just something a few people do when they recognize that nothing is very efficient anyway. (Note that I haven't said much about safety because it was only a small part of their comment, and not the part I was responding to. I hope it's clear that I am not advocating for people to test fate by slamming their brakes to let someone curtsy across the pavement.)
If everyone knew about zipper merging there would be no early mergers (and 'late mergers' don't exist within the context of zipper merging).
The real problem is accountability. There is none of it(as cops can't be everywhere, all the time) so people end up exercising what little power they do have in order to punish those they view as the abusers.
I may be overly optimistic, but I think a sign saying "use both lanes and zipper merge at end" would do a lot.
However, educating people does allow them to make better decisions.
Rules themselves aren't always the best/optimal/safest solution either and being loose may be the best solution.
For example, in one country in Asia if you are "in-front" of someone you have the right to merge/enter a roadway/get on a free way/change lanes over the person already in the lane. This is just cultural and is so much better than what we have in the west (like the USA). If someone changes lanes and "hits you", it is your fault (unless you were in-front of them).
Makes it so much easier to get on the free way, change lanes, etc. as you only have to worry about what is in front of you. Not what is in front of you, behind you, next to you, etc. There are no "blind spots" etc.
Obviously when you're going 100 km/h, the ideal merge point is significantly farther back than when it's stop and go. Nobody is saying you should wait until you're 20 feet from the barrier and then swerve into the other lane. But it's not like that's unique to this situation.
If you move the merge point back, then by definition it becomes an early merge, right? I don't understand your disagreement with what seems like a totally reasonable statement by Justin.
If you define "late" as "the latest point at which you can safely merge without causing negative traffic reactions (e.g. by forcing someone to brake)" then zipper/late merging is better than "moving over as soon as you can", even in light traffic.
I agree. But note that the idea of Zipper merging is when traffic has already slowed down, not when it is still moving.
It is optimal only when the local driving culture allows it to be.
I live in an area where drivers are extremely selfish and the police don't seem to spend a lot of time ticketing bad drivers, so zipper merging typically doesn't work here.
This is backwards. Zipper merging doesn't work when drivers attempt to be unselfish by merging early, which results in vigilante lane blockage of those who weren't as considerate. In other words, I'm not being selfish when I block late mergers; I'm enacting justice on other people who were being selfish.
The system works when all parties recognize that the best thing for everyone is to merge late.
One of the reasons why people early merge here is that many people don't let mergers in. And one of the reasons why people don't let mergers in is that they regularly get cut off by a second car after letting a merger in. It's a vicious circle.
Back in "the day", zipper merging wasn't even an issue. A lot of people early merge here because they'd rather be the one letting people in than hoping to be let in.
Yeah, which is why almost the entire article was about the campaigns to change the culture, not about justifying zipper merging as optimal.
Those campaigns in Washington and Minnesota just wouldn't fly here.
When our metro population was around <=3M, people still zipper merged (in the mid 90s and earlier).
This is so true. At congested merge points in my city, you have people who don't really care about the alternating needed to make a zipper merge work. First, you have people who just won't let people in, and then you have people who will try to sneak into the lane with the merging car ahead of them.
In the same way one or two bad drivers can destroy a lane or two of functional traffic flow, a good driver can create a lane (or two) of harmony.
In Florida, we all have a non-verbal mutual agreement that we're all trying to screw each other out of the best spot in the road. We all want to be going faster than everyone else, we all want to get to the front of the line and skip all the chumps, we all want to move into the lane we think will move the fastest at a red light, and we all think turn signals will just warn someone when we're trying to get ahead so they can take our spot on the road.
It honestly wouldn't be so bad if we could keep the speeding and aggressive driving controlled, but there's an unusual number of highways with ridiculously reduced speed limits (55mph on I-95 in Miami, I shit you not.... right around a large stretch of road where 45mph is the minimum speed limit) and a lot of assholes who think they're more important than everyone else. Not much you can do about it, other than a "fast lane", which is basically what they've created for a large stretch of I-95 combined with the Sunpass system.
They are screwing up the system by merging too early, then adding insult to injury, getting all bent out of shape about people who aren't 'early mergers'.
So first they create the problem, then they get upset when someone does it the right way. Classic!
The problem is that without the signs (and enforcement) drivers in the Twin Cities Metro regularly shoot to seal any gap that may allow someone signaling to enter their lane, regardless of the distance to the merge point. This behavior also occurs in on-ramp situations where drivers are entering the highway and slow lane drivers refuse to move over, but don't want you in front of them!
I have driven in many states and never has the mentality that you cannot, MUST NOT, let someone ahead of you been as bad as it is here. Minnesota Nice, indeed.
It is getting better, but still 40% of the time the car at the end of the zipper merge is NOT happy to see you, and thinks they are letting you in.
Signage is helping at the big construction areas.
If you want to show people how it's done, you go the same speed as the cars next to you in the open lane, and zipper merge at the end.
Yes, THEY are doing it wrong, because they're early merging. (IDIOTS!) But you are ALSO doing it wrong.
I'm reminded of the George Carlin comment that everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is an asshole.
The proper way to execute a late zipper merge is to match speeds and merge at the end.
You are not correctly zipper merging if you are passing other cars before merging at the end.
In this situation, of course you're going to pass those other cars (please do so slowly and carefully if you pass them on the right). It would be ridiculous to slow to a standstill with half a kilometer of empty road ahead of you.
When zipper merging works correctly, you usually cannot pass cars in the other lane, because traffic automatically flows in the right way. So in a sense you are right that if you pass cars in the other lane, someone is doing the merging wrong. That someone are the people in the crowded lane, however, not the one of who is passing them in the empty lane.
Even if the second lane is free, it's safer and more efficient to match speeds with the first lane. And shouldn't we take actions that maximize safety and efficiency? Note that there is no global gain from speeding down the right lane, since the bottleneck is what controls the flow.
I suspect many of you will disagree with me, so let me address some possible concerns.
Is it safer? Yes. Generally driving is safer when all vehicles are moving at similar speeds. Relative speeds being low mean that there's plenty of time to react to danger. It's also safer because other drivers are more predictable when going at a single speed.
Is it more efficient? Yes. The bottleneck is constraining the flow, so gains before the bottleneck end up being useless. The important thing is to make sure that traffic is entering the bottleneck at a fast, consistent speed. Predictable and uncontested merges are the best way to stop the traffic lane from slowing. Going at the speed of the left lane offers two benefits here. First, it's easier and more predictable to merge when you travel at the same speed as other traffic. Second, if you travel at the same speed as other drivers, they won't get annoyed at you and attempt block you out (to everyone's detriment).
Is it weird? Yes. Driving below the speed limit with space in front of you is an odd thing to do. But in this case, you're matching the speed of traffic and there's no global opportunity cost because the bottleneck ahead is the constraint, not your speed. It's weird, but it makes sense.
The reason that the zipper merge is recommended by so many travel departments is not because it's straight-up more efficient than other merging strategies - it's because it's more robust to defection.
But just because it is robust to defection, that doesn't mean the optimal strategy is to defect.
For those of you who disagree, why? Could you point out where you feel my logic fell short?
What should the speed be for somebody in the unoccupied lane? Certainly 80km/h is far too much. On the other hand, it also doesn't make sense (IMHO) to come to a complete stop in the free lane just because cars in the occupied lane have to stop. I feel that a steady 30km/h is a good compromise.
Does that sound reasonable to you?
The whole reason zipper merging is efficient and safe is that both lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, making merging quick and easy. If you zoom past the other lane of traffic, you are actually worse than the early mergers in terms of safety and efficiency.
Edit: For those of you downvoting me, could you please explain your reasoning? Do you disagree with the content of my message or its delivery?
What would be the point of matching speed with the other lane when you're not actually about to merge?
I've been there. I've been in the backed up lane in traffic with the lane next to me moving much faster, near the speed limit. I often try to get into the fast moving lane and it is a bit scary because it can be difficult to see far back enough to get into the lane without cutting somebody off. I still believe it is the fault of the people in the slower lane for being there though, and it is their responsibility to stay in that lane or find a safe opening to get to the next lane. If I see a bunch of stubborn early mergers, I will assume that is where they want to be and I will drive past them like a bunch the bunch of parked cars they are. But I will indeed not necessarily drive 80+ mph and I will pay close attention to the movements of the cars.
Your speed should not be more than 20mph different from the lane next to you. That's probably at or even past the limit of a safe speed differential.
(1) It's safer (matching speeds reduces odds of and damage from collisions)
(2) It's more efficient (If you zoom ahead, there is a nonzero chance that drivers in the left lane will be annoyed and attempt to block you, reducing global efficiency. Note that there's no loss in going slow since the bottleneck is the constraint. As a result, going slow can only gain and never cost.)
(3) It's fairest (people who arrive at the same time will leave at the same time, regardless of their lane)
Another comment lays out my logic further: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8084137
I know it feels silly to drive slowly in the right lane, but it's safer, more efficient, and fairest. Why wouldn't you do it?
We don't rule the lists anymore , but I'll put the horrible traffic and drivers of the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) up against anyone in a gridlocked struggle for the title of worst.
Though, I've routinely been told by people more traveled than myself that we hardly rate on an international scale.
Different areas in the US have very different driving cultures, and the transient nature of the DC area means that drivers bring their habits from wherever they came from, and so everyone is obeying slightly different driving cultural norms. It's a mess.
People begin often merge far too early, and get offended when folks like myself "budge" at the front of the line.
Learn to zipper, darn it!
Edit: This TPT parody, How to Talk Minnesotan, shows how to drive in Minnesota (scrub to 11:58):
If you ever lived in rural Minnesota, you know this is completely dead on.
I live in the US in a "nice driver" area with a number of traffic circles. On a fairly routine basis I come up to a traffic circle and stop because there is someone in it coming towards me, but then they try to "helpfully" stop and wave me in, slowing down themselves, everyone behind them, and even slowing me down as now I'm confused and less likely to move. Or I get stuck behind such a person in the circle and have to stop gracelessly as they unexpectedly stop in the middle. (This being a traffic circle it's not that dangerous due to lack of speed, plus over time I've learned to predict who is going to do this based on the car body language...) I haven't yet witnessed this causing an accident but it's just a matter of time, it snarls things up that badly. They think they're being friendly. If someone would explain that "friendly" is using the traffic circles as designed, they'd probably do the right thing in the future, but so far I haven't discovered the hand gestures that properly express that.
Edit: or perhaps we should fault inattentive driving on the truck driver. Still sad.
Edit: to clarify, the slower speed should be that low only now during construction and lane closure.
The point of the zipper merge is maximize efficiency and safety by matching the speeds of the two lanes.
The wrong way to zipper merge is to drive past the other lane and merge at the end.
The correct way to zipper merge is to drive at the speed of the nearby lane and merge at the end.
When you zipper merge correctly, almost no one gets upset.
Here is a Michigan DoT paper from 2007 that analyzed zipper merge studies in various states and countries. Only 1 out of 6 showed statistically significant increase in throughput.
"It was found that the system did not increase the throughput or decrease the length of the queue." (Netherlands)
"It was found that the throughput did not increase, but the queuing was more efficient and there were less frustrated drivers." (UK)
"Beacher, Fontaine, and Garber (12) found that there was an increase in the throughput and a decrease in the queue length; however, the difference was not statistically significant." (Virginia)
"However, flow did not appear to be significantly affected by the dynamic late lane merge system." (Kansas)
"The data from both of the studies shows that the typical queue length decreased and the lane usage were nearly equal, but the throughput decreased slightly." (Minnesota)
"The results from Maryland’s deployment show an increase in the overall throughput, a reduction of the maximum queue length, and a more even distribution of volume between lanes."
The problem is people who do not merge early when traffic is flowing. These people wait until the last second to merge instead of finding an opening while traffic is flowing and force traffic to slow down in order to let them in.
And the really real problem is that the average driver in the USA has no idea what they are doing and should probably not be driving at all. It would take a huge change in the way we train drivers to get them to recognize when they should use each type of merge. And forcing people into one way to merge or the other is not really the "fastest/safest" way, because it varies on conditions.
I personally wish they would have closed off the entire right lane as there is only a couple hundred meter stretch where this road is 2 lanes and so I wish they had just kept it a single lane all the way though while construction was underway. Here is the road in question: http://s.joshstrange.com/oRq9.png From where you see Louie Pl it turns into a 2 lane road then goes back to 1 lane at Opportunity Way then back to 2 lane where you see it get fatter again. However construction makes the road for a mile or two after Opportunity Way 1 lane only so the 2 lanes for such a small stretch are almost more trouble than they are worth.
Zipper merging also generally only works when there is movement after the zipper. In many places in the US, the point where a zipper is occurring is followed by more traffic injection (um, there was was a reason for losing that lane, after all, and it was probably the fact that there was a new lane coming in) in less than a mile and any advantage is lost.
Consequently, everybody and their dog doesn't expect to drive a car in the UK.
For example, I love going a constant speed in start-stop traffic (letting gaps appear ahead of me then closing them as traffic stops) so as to smooth out the ride of everyone behind me.
So what's the optimal way to get this behavior to spread? It's probably not just to gun it to the front of the line and yell 'zipper!', everyone just thinks you're an asshole.
VikingCoder suggests "If you want to show people how it's done, you go the same speed as the cars next to you in the open lane, and zipper merge at the end." I love it, because it's really awkward, and people will note it enough to maybe think through what's happening, what your logic is.
But I dunno, maybe there's something else more clever out there, too.
This is not to be confused with, e.g., a road that splits and the left lane split it moving fine and the right lane is backed up and a driver in the left lane waits until the last possible second to move over, often times coming to a complete stop, thus backing up what should be a free-flowing lane. No, in that case you didn't move over in time, you don't get to slow down traffic, you take the lane you're in and keep going, you'll have to take the next exit.
Zipper merges are obvious and natural if you set them up right - what it takes is the knowledge to do it. Once people know that they should be yielding to the mergers, the whole merge process speeds up considerably.
Those turn-only lanes are just wasted capacity that could be used to carry more traffic into a zipper merge. I'm guessing that at some peak hour the turn lane has utility, but at reverse-peak they should be able to switch to a regular lane leading to a merge point.
California drivers may or may not be bad, but they're much better than the ones in Minnesota.
IIRC California officially endorses early merging, though?
The reverse (merging out of the exit-only lane to stay on the freeway), I think usually works better with a late-merge, but you do still have the problem that you can't do a proper zipper merge, because the lanes aren't fully merging, so you can't alternate one-right/one-left. Instead some cars want to lane-change and some want to continue in the lane, which adds at least a little complexity.
It could be partly improved by signage changes though, it sounds like, to just mark the exit lane later.
Then again people also try to pass on the right by entering the merging-in lane and immediately getting stuck. More than once I've seen people try to pass inside the merging lane by going on the shoulder. Is it something about the 358i?
Now though, I did full D-bag and just drove past most of the line. At the exit, the queue started breaking up, leaving plenty of room for me to merge into.
Actually if everyone took a motorcycle instead of their car, most of these problems would be gone. But that's probably a silly argument.
If you haven't driven in Italy, expect zero braking during merges. I really do mean zero.
Trucks will move over (at speed), cars will move over (at speed). The "zipper" action is seamless and fluid, even when the vehicles are temporarily extremely close to each other.
Just look down the road, see a merge may happen. If you are a truck move over, if you are a car you may need to accelerate to move over.
The first time you experience this it looks and feels scary, especially as people merge with only 50cm-1m between vehicles. But once you're used to it you realise that you virtually never slow down and merges are really quick and easy.
I think that's actually because more people are early-merging than late-merging. So you have more car volume in the open lane than the soon-to-be-closed lane leading up to the merge. Definitely a way better situation everyone early-merging, but sounds like there's still room for improvement: ideally both lanes should move at about the same speed.
If you're interested in this field, I can't recommend the work of Tom Vanderbilt enough. His book "Traffic" brought urban planning to the masses in the same manner "Freakonomics" made social and public policy accessible.
But here's the fairly objective thing I want to know: the people who have been (very negatively!) described as "early merge vigilantes" generally operate by staying in the lane that goes away but pacing the cars in the other lane, blocking the people behind them from zooming ahead; and then quickly merging just before the lane goes away (usually an enabler in the other lane will make this work better so neither has to slow down or stop at this point). So here's the question: isn't this exactly what the zipper merge is supposed to accomplish, with both lanes travelling the same speed? Why is this so-called "vigilante" behaviour being described as bad? If a driver that's smug about their late-merging behaviour being optimal is going noticeably faster in their lane than the lane that merged, doesn't that mean that what they're doing is exactly not a zipper merge?
Perhaps the answer is that the ideal to aim for is not "late" merging, so much as "speed matching" merging: when there is a merge ahead, if you're in the faster of the two lanes (whichever one that is!), slow down a smidge now and then you won't have to screech to a braking halt at the merge point (and you'll also make the flow better for everyone behind you). Zooming ahead because there's a briefly clear section of road may be "late" merging in some sense, but is not the same thing as "zipper" merging and is not improving flow.
And I've been known to be a "vigilante" before. I'd give it up in a second if people would actually start filling the other lane.
There's a merge here in Seattle -- the southbound I-5 collector-distributor with the onramp to 90 where it merges back into I-5 -- where people zipper halfway reasonably well and I actually routinely stay in the less-filled lane and late-merge.
Washingtonians are awful at late merging/zippering though. Even when people are late merging you get tons of people merging early and then the line moves forwards and it screws over the lane that is being merged into. People just won't simply drive forwards to the merge spot.
Dividers might help in some cases, but when the road is empty and everyone is doing 60+ mph the dividers are going to cause accidents. You could try to put down double lines on the road to block merging, but nobody pays attention to those here either.
Getting zippering into drivers ed and getting them early, spamming the TV with ads, and putting signs up all over the place and carpet bombing the message might work.
Happy to see them doing this.
Oh yeah, and there's definitely an emotional component to it. When I'm stuck behind 50 cars and some asshat in a BMW goes speeding past to late merge the world goes completely red. I would love to stop doing that. If everyone zippers the asshat just has to pick a lane like everyone else, and there's no way to "cheat".
And yes, "asshat" and "cheat" are all in my own brain. I find it extremely difficult to stop thinking that way when I see it though.
But that's in theory, with people actually cooperating. In reality no matter what education campaign for early merge some few percent of people are just dicks, and when they see an open road ahead will zoom through at twice the speed and this is what causes the merge problem (see the green car in video).
When people espouse late zipper merge it makes me sad because of what it says about human nature.
Concerning people not letting you in: In case of ending lanes (except ramps) you are obliged to let people in. There is always the occasional douchebag that doesnt but it almost never happend to me. At worst you have to wait for one car to pass.
If no one feels like they are in the free lane, they'll be forced to cooperate.
So, on a two-lane highway, make one center lane and have both lanes funnel into it. then you can move that free-flowing lane wherever you need.
This picture doesn't show the full extent of the redesign, but the yellow highlighted part is the former problem lane.
I can dream right?
It's only rude if no-one else is doing it (i.e. you're speeding ahead of everyone merging early). If everyone stays in their lane until the merge point, no-one's zooming ahead, so it stays fair.
They want to make it more common. Pretty sure everywhere in EU everyone late merge. In west USA at least, I only see early merges.
Minnesota still does a very poor job of letting people know where the expected merge point is.
> Part of DMV road test should cover highway and emergency (road block) situations.
> Utilize responsive testing (how fast person reacts to something). Could be an in-house application.
> Older drivers should have extra testing once they hit certain age.
> Re-test drivers every 10 years.
> Driving and doing your make up? Reading a book/iPad? Eating chipotle? License suspension. Bye bye.
In general every situation where I had to steer out of the way was caused by an older person who should NOT be driving.
Zipper merging on New York roads? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Do you have any statistics about driving accidents? Because all the stats I've seen show that older drivers are safer better drivers than young people, and this is especially true when comparing to young males under the age of 26.
They also do not include cases where other people cause accidents and go on their marry way while you wreck your vehicle avoiding them.
Like the other poster stated, it's young (novice drivers) and old drivers.
It's also a scientific fact that you reaction time decreases as you grow older.
>Because all the stats I've seen show that older drivers are safer better drivers than young people.
> Age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, may affect some older adults' driving abilities.5
> Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80. This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes
So it's not that they are more likely to get into crashes, it's that they are more likely to die from the injuries that a crash causes while a younger person would survive if they received the same injuries.