I often hear in my defensive driving class that “Texans don’t know how to merge.” One thing that typically irks people is a crazy traffic jam, caused because people don’t know how to merge (or, actually, they choose not to merge properly).  Whatever happened to the good old “zipper” tactic when merging? Remember, the one car, per car thing called the merging zipper that you should have been taught in driver education?

Traffic jams on highways are often triggered where two lanes must merge into one.  Lanes of cars cannot merge if there are no large gaps between cars. Therefore, drivers who create large gaps between cars will ease this type of traffic jam.  This should be simple, but typical drivers pack themselves tightly together whenever the traffic comes to a stop, so nobody can merge, except at the end of the jam.  This creates a low speed (or what some of us call the daily “grind”). If drivers would just back off and allow others to merge ahead of them, and they left large spaces ahead of them to do so, even if traffic slows to a crawl, merging would be easier and traffic wouldn’t be reduced to a crawl.

So here, what we end up with is people not only merging before the lane ends, but also attempting to merge where it ends.  So, while doing both causes a jam, simply merging by allowing one car, per car before the lane ends just makes sense. If everyone followed this rule, we’d all get where we’re going on time.  And we’d be just one big happy merging bunch of Americans.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson

Writer / Comedienne / Artist

The Merging Zipper – Comedy Defensive Driving