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"Down" with the zipper merge?

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by ThosEM, Oct 1, 2014.

?

Are you a late merger or an early merger?

Poll closed Oct 8, 2014.
  1. Merge as late as possible

    59.5%
  2. Merge as soon as possible

    51.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    I'm curious how Tesla drivers feel about doing the zipper merge when the number of lanes reduces, in heavy traffic:

    Do you merge late, choosing whichever lane is clearest until one of the lanes ends?

    Or do you merge early and fume about the drivers who continue down the lane that will end, if it is clear?

    A related issue concerns turning at an intersection onto a road with two or more lanes, in heavy traffic:

    Do you turn left into the leftmost lane, or right into the rightmost lane, and merge to change lanes only later, after completing the turn?

    Or do you attempt to change lanes as you are making the turn, cutting off cars turning onto the same road from the other direction?
     
  2. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    It drives me crazy when drivers wait until the last second to merge. Frequently it's this behavior, not the lane reduction itself, that causes the backup.
     
  3. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    Can't participate in the poll since I do it either way depending on the general speed/pace and the degree of traffic congestion.
     
  4. AmpedUP

    AmpedUP EV Nut

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    30 years ago, merges like this weren't much of a problem. Now, they are an enormous headache. My observation is that American society has changed, and is now dominated by drivers that are unbelievably selfish...and the worst offenders are the ones merging at the last second after forcing their way ahead of us "sheep." You know who you are...and don't tell me you are merely driving "efficiently."
     
  5. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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  6. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Yes. The problems arrive when some people merge early and others merge late. If everyone merged at the same spot it would work better. The only easy spot to agree on is the end of the lane.

    Not to mention maximizing the road used (entire lane that is to be merged) allows for less of the road back to be used clearing it for other people potentially.
     
  7. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Agreed. It drives me nuts to see everyone doing it the 'polite' way, yet backing traffic up twice as far back as it should be. If you're already over, fine, but there's no reason not to use both lanes until the merge point.
     
  8. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Years ago, I was travelling (I think it was in Georgia somewhere) and there was construction with a lane closed. They had signs up telling drivers to continue in two lanes and to merge at a big sign with an arrow that said "Take your Turn" or similar. It worked beautifully. Traffic flowed right up to the merge point and everyone just took their turn merging. I thought it was brilliant.
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Yep, this is how it's SUPPOSED to work. Around here there's a spot that merges into 1 lane (just the way the road is designed) and if traffic is backed up to the point where folks are in the intersection of the previous light, those in the right line STILL get pissed when someone drives in the left lane. They go as far as to drive half in both lanes to prevent folks from going forward.

    On the flipside, I hate driving with my wife because even if there's no one on the road with us, she'll drive in the left lane all the way until the merge. I'm talking, she treats the cones as if they're lines on the road and just follows the curve. Drives me nuts.
     
  10. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    "Down with the zipper"
    "About time to unveil the D"

    Hey! I thought this was a family forum!!!

    :tongue:
     
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    :p

    I voted both. If I can merge early and easily I'll do so, but otherwise I just zip to the end of the other lane and wait my turn. Once in line I also try to maintain steady speed until clear to help try to flatten any wave.
     
  12. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    Theory may suggest that late merging is more efficient, but I can't recall ever seeing traffic backed up at a merge because people merged too early. Current driver behavior seems to favor ignoring all opportunities to merge while traffic is flowing and instead bring traffic flow to a halt by cramming themselves over at the merge point.

    I think this is a case where human nature will always ensure that some people zoom past the slowing "herd" to take advantage of the opportunity that the emptying lane presents, thus causing a choke point that could be avoided.
     
  13. djplong

    djplong Member

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    I saw something similar in Pennsylvania. Signs said "Stay in lane until merge point" and then "Merge HERE ->". Worked *perfectly*!
     
  14. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    Agreed. Most of my experience with lane merges has been due to construction, where there is often no off ramp or major intersections between the lane closure signs and the actual merge point. In such cases, it is better to merge earlier when it's safe instead of waiting until the last moment and forcing your way in, slowing the whole line down sometimes dramatically.
     
  15. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    The problem is without clear guidelines or a universal practice, you get a hodgepodge of approaches. For instance, the guy who merges early and sits there watching cars whizz by is resentful by the time he gets to the merge point and aggressively tries to prevent others from merging... causing the whole line to slow down. If signs clearly marked where to merge, and to take turns, it actually works quite well.
     
  16. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    I would argue that's a separate issue under the category of aggressive driving. Most people will not do that.

    That would at the very least ensure that people are willing and prepared to let mergers in. However, I'm not convinced it's any better for the flow of traffic than if everyone merged early while traffic was still moving smoothly with larger gaps to safely merge into without causing anyone to hit their brakes. Of course, that would not be easy to enforce, especially since traffic varies considerably. Anyway, to the extent that it is practical, I will agree that a marked merge point makes more sense than allowing people to make up their own mind based on level of selfishness.
     
  17. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    I voted both. It depends on how bad I have to pee!
     
  18. Reykjavik

    Reykjavik Member

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    The problem is that the people merging early cause the lane they merge into to slow down earlier than necessary. If people used both lanes equally until just before other lane ends, then it would be just as easy to merge at the late point as it ever was to merge early.
     
  19. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    ^this.

    I'm with mknox: when signage is present to tell people how to behave (zipper merge), it works beautifully and no one is resentful. Lower stress all around, and optimal whenever there's enough traffic to force a slowdown.
     
  20. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    I'm always with mknox. That guy always seems to have down to earth explanations and smart ideas.
     

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