|Zipper merge diagram. Image credit: NCSU|
"Zipper merges" can be frustrating, but they are actually recommended by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and law enforcement. Zipper merges happen when drivers in the lane ending at a lane reduction point on the road merge with vehicles in the thru-lane in alternating fashion. By doing this, demand is distributed equally, reducing the delay at the reduction point.
The Coloradoan listed the following steps to zipper merges:
- Vehicles should fill both lanes as long as possible
- At the merge point, those in the thru-lane have the right of way and aren't required by law to let you merge
- Use your blinkers to indicate you wish to merge and make eye contact with the driver of the thru-lane vehicle to make sure they are willing to let you merge
- If allowed to merge, do so smoothly and at the pace of traffic
- A courtesy thank-you wave never hurts