Is a Zipper Merge the Answer?
You saw the sign: “Right Line Closed Ahead.”
You groaned and prepared yourself for the inevitable traffic that would occur when the two lanes merged into one. Predictably, some drivers tried to get over to the left lane as soon as possible. These drivers were trying to be polite—they didn’t want to cut the line—but they inadvertently caused traffic back-ups well ahead of the merge point. Other drivers continue cruising along in the right lane as long as possible and then cut over at the last minute—typically incurring the wrath of those who drove politely and waited in line.
Neither of the scenarios described above is ideal. Luckily, they are not inevitable.
There Is Another Way
Some experts and state transportation departments recommend that drivers use a zipper merge approach when confronted with a highway lane closure. A zipper merge occurs when both the lanes of traffic continue traveling as they were when drivers first see signs of an upcoming lane closure. Then, at the point of lane closure (or within a few car lengths of lane closure), drivers in each lane alternate merging into the lane that remains open. This approach, which resembles a zipper closure, allows drivers to fully use both lanes for as long as they are open and creates predictability at the merge. However, in order for this late merging approach to work, all drivers must know about it and comply with it. Unfortunately, we are not at that point yet and merging traffic still creates a significant risk of highway accident injuries.
What to Do If You’re Hurt in a Highway Merge Accident
Merging traffic can be a time when crashes are likely to occur—particularly if a driver is distracted, drowsy, drunk, or otherwise negligent. If another driver has hit your vehicle and caused your injuries during a traffic merge then you need to take steps to protect your rights. Specifically, you can:
- Call the police and make sure that an accident investigation is completed.
- Get medical care for all of your injuries.
- Retain evidence, such as witness contact information and photographs, from the scene of the crash.
Additionally, you can contact a car accident lawyer who can protect your rights and help you get a fair and just recovery after a highway merge accident. To learn more, please reach out to us via this website or phone to schedule your free initial consultation.