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Learn to do The Zipper

It’s not the latest dance craze. Nor the most popular new game for your ipad. It is how we are supposed to handle the single lane freeway traffic due to road construction.

The MN Department of Transportation website offers these notes on the Zipper Merge.

What is a zipper merge?

When a lane is closed in a construction zone, a zipper merge occurs when motorists use both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area, and then alternate in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.

So I’m supposed to merge late?

Yes! As you see the “lane closed ahead” sign and traffic backing up, stay in your current lane up to the point of merge. Then take turns with other drivers to safely and smoothly ease into the remaining lane. Don’t worry about being “Minnesota nice.” When traffic is heavy and slow, it is much safer for motorists to remain in their current lane until the point where traffic can orderly take turns merging.

When not to do the zipper merge

When traffic is moving at highway speeds and there are no backups, it makes sense to move sooner to the lane that will remain open through construction. The bottom line is to merge when it is safe to do so.

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