It's something that we all have dealt with or deal with on a regular basis. We are on the freeway or a street and there is a lane closure ahead. So we as drivers have to do what's known as a 'zipper merge'. Lots of cars instinctively get over to the merging lane which leaves the closing lane open for a few hundred feet before the merge. Many drivers get mad people "jump the line" so to speak and try to block them from cutting in line. But it turns out MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) AGREES with the line jumpers.

A similar incident happened to a Michigan resident who reached out to WOOD 8, who contacted MDOT. John Richard, communications representative with MDOT said, "There's no state law that says you have to get over, so if there are available lanes to use, it's not a bad idea to use those lanes because… if you use both lanes, if you've got a hundred cars, you're going to have a 50-car backup instead of a hundred car back up." cont...

MDOT actually designated a construction-zone lane closure on Eastbound I-96 near Leonard as a zipper merge site. There are changeable message boards clearly stating "use both lanes", as well as a sign saying, "merge here," at the merge point.  Nate Van Drunen, a construction engineer with MDOT, commented on the consistent flow of traffic at that point on his commute: "That was impressive. Everybody stayed moving, people were merging at the point, and although we weren't traveling fast, we kind of stayed at a consistent speed."

This is some real useful information, but also consider what he followed up with when it comes to skipping the line and merging as well: "If everyone's in one lane and then you have some of those guys shooting up faster in the other lane and then merging in at all different points in the queue, it creates that stop and go, stop and go, as well as a speed differential. It's not going to work for every location every time."


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