Your Foolproof Guide To Zip-Merging

Written by John

On August 24, 2020
How do you feel when someone passes you down the lane that is closing shortly?
Would it surprise you to know that they have right of way?
Those who move to block or stop traffic passing are wrong. Yes, that’s right: they are wrong.

So, you’re sat there in a line of traffic patiently waiting to get through and then vehicles pass in the lane that is closing, does that infuriate you? You’re not alone, there are many that feel that way, but it does not mean you are right.

What Exactly Is Zip-Merging?Hanger Lane Gyratory and LT Station,... © Ben Brooksbank cc-by-sa ...

Zip-merging is a method that allows traffic to merge in turn from lanes that are merging into one, such as in a road works area or that of where a motorway or dual carriageway is coming to an end, or down to one lane.

The intention is that traffic will merge in one at a time from each lane, just as a zip closes. This should result in a steady flow of traffic, reducing congestion and optimising driving safety. To prevent drivers indicating and pushing in the lanes and causing the lane queue to remain stationary for longer than needed.

Should People Zip Merge?

Yes, these are some reasons why:
1- Reduces speed differences in the two lanes
2- Reduces the urgency to move over
3- Traffic travels at roughly the same speed through
4- Makes the merge safer and easier
5- The length of the queue is reduced by 50%
6- Road rage is reduced

Zip-Merging & The Highway CodeM56 motorway - Wikipedia

As a fleet driver you will be familiar with rule 134 of the Highway Code:

“You should follow the signs and road markings and get into the lane as directed.

“In congested road conditions do not change lanes unnecessarily.

“Merging in turn is recommended but only if safe and appropriate when vehicles are travelling at a very low speed, e.g. when approaching road works or a road traffic incident. It is not recommended at high speed.”

What’s The Issue With Zip Merging?

When you come up to the end of the carriageway or a road works area, most fleet drivers follow the etiquette of moving over early and staying in line. But this creates one long line of congestion and a near empty lane.

So, whilst fleet drivers think they are doing right, it can be more beneficial to you to continue in the empty lane until near the closure point and making use of all the available road and merging in turn.

Many get frustrated with seeing this and move to block the lane. But the simple fact is that two lanes of slow-moving traffic is better than one long one. So, if everyone uses both lanes it should result in congestion disappearing quicker or at least reduced.

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