'Tis the season.  The season of road construction in Minnesota.  We always hear that joke.  Minnesota has two seasons- Winter and Road Construction.  And it's really not that far off from the truth.

When you see a sign and it says "road work ahead" or "right lane only ahead" or "merge ahead" whatever the case may be, the question is, do you merge over right away and "merge early" or do you wait until the last minute, using both lanes and "zipper merge"?

The answer is to use the zipper merge method.  Sometimes, more so recently, the sign may actually say "zipper merge in heavy traffic".  And it works... if you do it right, which let's be honest, we really don't do.  And if people try to, it really gives people road rage.  And we, as Minnesotans, will think it's rude, or that person is a complete jack***.  Referring to the person who runs up the other lane to the front and expects people who have been waiting in the other lane to let them in at the front.  But guess what people. that is what you are supposed to do. Yep, you read that right, that is what we are supposed to do.

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From MNDOT:

When most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone, they slow too quickly and move to the lane that will continue through the construction area. This driving behavior can lead to unexpected and dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and road rage.

Boy, we certainly know this situation, don't we?  And to be clear, you aren't actually supposed to move over to early, the best thing is to keep using both lanes, then merge when you have to- at the last second.

Zipper merging, however, benefits individual drivers as well as the public at large. Research shows that these dangers decrease when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate in "zipper" fashion into the open lane.

There are times that you are not supposed to use the "zipper merge" method, and that is when traffic is moving at highway speeds and there are no backups.  It's just easier to move over when you can and keep everything flowing.

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