Don't drive like an idiot: This is how zipper merging works

It's not budging. You're supposed to use both lanes.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Don't get mad at drivers who stay in an ending lane and merge at the very last second. They're actually doing the right thing and zipper merging. 

GoMN spent some time riding around with Ken Johnson, a Minnesota Department of Transportation work zone, pavement markings and traffic devices engineer. He explained how zipper merging works and why officials want you to do it. 

Basically, it helps reduce backups when a lane has to end (due to something like construction) because traffic remains spread out over multiple lanes for as long as possible. 

It's also safer because traffic in all lanes keeps moving at around the same speed. Johnson explained that having slow traffic in one lane and fast-moving vehicles in another increases the risk for crashes. 

It's important to note that you can't always zoom past traffic and call it a zipper merge. Say there's a major backup on a regular exit lane and someone speeds ahead to right before the lane branches off and cuts in. 

That's not a zipper merge. That's just being a jerk. 

Watch the video above to see exactly how zipper merges work. You can learn more here

We also did a video on how not to drive like an idiot in a multi-lane roundabout

Next Up

Mondale

Walter Mondale dies at age of 93

His death was confirmed by family on Monday.

National Guard

Man charged in connection to shooting that injured National Guard troops

Four soldiers were inside a military vehicle that was shot at.

Chauvin trial

Walz declares emergency in Twin Cities, bringing in police from Ohio and Nebraska

The governor has asked the Legislature for emergency funding for the additional police.

derek chauvin court - closing arguments

Closing arguments in Derek Chauvin trial: Here's what was said

The jury listened to lengthy presentations from the prosecution and defense.

helicopter-186718_1280

Man, 55, airlifted to a hospital after hit-and-run in Granite Falls

The passenger in the vehicle told police about the incident.

Minneapolis, unrest

Facebook labels Minneapolis 'high-risk,' will remove posts that incite violence

Facebook will remove posts that call for weapons to be brought to Minneapolis and anything that celebrates George Floyd's death.

MyPillow

After being sued, MyPillow is now suing Dominion Voting Systems

The company's lawsuit claims the voting system suppressed free speech and hurt its business relationships.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren makes his decision ... and it's Gonzaga

The Minnesota basketball phenom is following the footsteps of Jalen Suggs.

Sarah Glover

MPR News hires NBC's Sarah Glover as new managing editor

The experienced journalist was the first to serve two terms as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

football play

Watch: Sixth-grader with cerebral palsy makes touchdown in Detroit Lakes

Kale Hannahs' classmates made sure he got a chance to play during recess.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, April 19

The latest from Minnesota health officials.

Related

Don't drive like an idiot (and other things to remember when roads are icy)

Here are 4 things you should keep in mind while behind the wheel.

Watch out for farm vehicles on roads, officials warn

It's harvest time so be prepared to share the road with tractors.

Video: How ranked-choice voting works

This will be used to elect some mayors.

Video: What causes those bad, random traffic jams?

They can come out of nowhere and have no apparent cause.