The Proper Way To Merge?

Topic 26214 | Page 2

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Banks's Comment
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I merge at the first sign. I get passed all the time, don't care. People cross yellow lines to get in front of me because I don't do 10 over in a truck, I tend to do 5 under and maintain a safe following distance. It is what it is. No point in getting mad over it. Get mad about things you can control, not what you can't.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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Taken directly from the Minnesota DOT

What is a zipper merge? Drivers using both lanes as they zipper merge into a single lane 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.

Zipper merge vs. early merge 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.

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. Watch a brief video about how it works.

Benefits Reduces differences in speeds between two lanes Reduces the overall length of traffic backup by as much as 40 percent Reduces congestion on freeway interchanges Creates a sense of fairness and equity that all lanes are moving at the same rate 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.

Im guessing most states have similar things taught in drivers ed. In my experience I've seen traffic come to a immediate stop because people are going 65 and due to everyone cutting in too early comes to a near stop as others are merging in.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Turtle's Comment
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That's exactly why I prefer to maintain my lane and zipper merge at the end. It's more efficient and far safer in my experience.

Turtle's Comment
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I find myself less inclined to let the person that waited until the last second (or especially the one that blew by me, trying to "get a jump" on the traffic caused by the merge)

That's the exact attitude that causes the problems. You made a choice to move over early, but then get pizzed if the guy behind you doesn't do the same thing. You say he's trying to "get a jump", I say he's just maintaining his lane. So at the end, you don't let anybody in, causing more vehicles to slow down, more brake lights, more of a ripple effect slowing of traffic. The jam continues.

As does the debate lol.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

I find myself less inclined to let the person that waited until the last second (or especially the one that blew by me, trying to "get a jump" on the traffic caused by the merge)

double-quotes-end.png

That's the exact attitude that causes the problems. You made a choice to move over early, but then get pizzed if the guy behind you doesn't do the same thing. You say he's trying to "get a jump", I say he's just maintaining his lane. So at the end, you don't let anybody in, causing more vehicles to slow down, more brake lights, more of a ripple effect slowing of traffic. The jam continues.

As does the debate lol.

Rick's quote above is the way I've always felt too. In a truck it makes sense for me to get over as soon as i have an opening. I guess it's natural to feel like the vehicles that haven't moved over are trying to jump the line. Then i read something similar to what Turtle said. It makes sense for both lanes to keep moving and zipper into the open lane at the merge point. That would work great if everyone played nicely.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
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So, kind of on topic (or should i new thread this?) a while back i had to relocate a new fancy Freightliner with all of the bells and whistles. Including, to my dismay, the accursed "slow you down because somebody does something in front of you" apparatus. My question for the group is this, at what distance does that trigger? In other words, if I'm passing you, and your truck has that, when is it safe for me to move over in front of you without causing you to have the speed reduction?

There are so few drivers these days with radios to communicate, and many choose not to give you any visual indication of clear....

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

RealDiehl's Comment
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I guess it all depends on the amount of traffic too. If traffic is light and there is no jam at the merge, getting over early seems like a no-brainer.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I find myself less inclined to let the person that waited until the last second (or especially the one that blew by me, trying to "get a jump" on the traffic caused by the merge)

double-quotes-end.png

That's the exact attitude that causes the problems. You made a choice to move over early, but then get pizzed if the guy behind you doesn't do the same thing. You say he's trying to "get a jump", I say he's just maintaining his lane. So at the end, you don't let anybody in, causing more vehicles to slow down, more brake lights, more of a ripple effect slowing of traffic. The jam continues.

As does the debate lol.

While a "zipper merge" would be optimal - it is VERY RARE that even a majority of folks "play nice". Especially in congested areas - everyone seems to feel entitled to "go first".

The note from Minnesota DOT is interesting, but doesn't seem reflective of the lack of courtesy in todays society - especially in urban areas. Probably part of the reason why there are no ACTUAL LAWS governing the situation. And while DOT/construction workers could probably lengthen the "encroachment zone" of the merge, to force people to start to merge earlier - the notion that "alternating one vehicle from each lane at a time" will actually work in todays world, is a "pipe dream".

And I wasn't talking about the "line of traffic" where someone tries to "get a jump" - but the lane where folks have merged early, and someone sees the open lane as an opportunity to zoom by a line of traffic and get in front of everyone who already merged. I see that as discourteous & selfish behavior. And yeah - it pizzes me off.

So - absent any laws or hard and fast rules - if you're trying to move an 80' rig over a lane - which can already be a challenge in "normal moderate traffic", and you're coming into a merge situation - wouldn't it be SAFER to move over as early as possible - even if it means sitting in stop-n-go traffic for a little longer.

Yes - we can "bully our way in" by starting to encroach the lane we're trying to merge into. But similar to "swinging wide" to make a tight right-hander, eventually, someone is going to find their way under your tandems - and guess who's going to look like the "bad guy"? Keeping in mind - the first person that always gets the blame - IS THE TRUCKER - unless we can prove convincingly that is wasn't our fault. WE ALWAYS GET MADE OUT AS THE BAD GUYS. Why create another excuse for the public to do so?

We are definitely going to "agree to disagree" on this. Right now - I-95 is under heavy construction where I am - lane closures, merges, closed lanes, uneven pavement - the whole 9 yards. And the behavior I see from both 4 & 18 wheelers is atrocious and UNSAFE.

Rick

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

So, kind of on topic (or should i new thread this?) a while back i had to relocate a new fancy Freightliner with all of the bells and whistles. Including, to my dismay, the accursed "slow you down because somebody does something in front of you" apparatus. My question for the group is this, at what distance does that trigger? In other words, if I'm passing you, and your truck has that, when is it safe for me to move over in front of you without causing you to have the speed reduction?

There are so few drivers these days with radios to communicate, and many choose not to give you any visual indication of clear....

In the trucks I've driven with forward collision warning radar, it is not triggered when someone moves in front of you, no matter how close they are, as long as they don't decide to start slowing down. I usually ease up though anyway if someone cuts over too close in front of me.

I think the radar is triggered when it detects that you are approaching another vehicle or object too fast.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Mr Curmudgeon curses:

[What about the] "slow you down because somebody does something in front of you" setting?

The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) usually automatically puts 3 seconds between you and the vehicle in front.

I wouldn't call it "accursed" - I like the ACC. You won't be sneaking up on the truck in front who is going 1mph less that you. The only problem I see if that you don't notice that itsy bitty slowdown for five minutes then you think "WTF!" and start your pass maneuver.

While we're in the subject of merging, what's with the two trucks that line up and block both lanes so no one can pass toward the front?

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