Lane closures are a part of driving life in New Jersey. And Garden State drivers have been merging all wrong at these forever.

You know how when the signs warn left lane closed ahead 2 miles, left lane closed ahead 1 mile, left lane closed ahead 1/2 mile? Here in New Jersey, the accepted practice is to get over early and get out of that lane which will be closed soon.

And it's the wrong way to do it.

Oh, and we get so pissed off at the "jerk" who takes advantage and flies past everyone to try to squeeze in and merge at the choke point.


Turns out the "jerk" is right. Not right as far as a common practice here, but right as far as what would make things move faster.

It's called a zipper merge and it's the standard practice in many states such as California. Now I hate California for many things, but when it comes to this they're better than us. Because study after study shows a zipper merge, where both lanes should remain occupied until the choke point then cars should proceed left, right, left, right, like a zipper, is the faster and smoother way to merge at lane closures.

This video explains it:

That all being said, please don't think I'm the "jerk" trying to go all the way to the end of the closing lane then cutting in. When in Rome I do as the Romans do. Because I know what the common practice is in New Jersey I get over early and am part of the less effective merge.

But really guys, if we gave this zipper merge a shot we'd see the traffic experts and studies are right. It would save time, it would save fuel.

It would make so much sense that New Jersey will never embrace it.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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