Respect The Damn Traffic Zipper, Asshole!

I am sure you are all familiar with the traffic zipper, two merging lanes of slow moving traffic, cars take turns merging, one from each lane. This is fair and keeps the traffic flowing, except for the asshole who fucking decides to ride the tail of the person in front of them in order to deny the zipper. Yes, it is a little thing that doesn’t really affect in a huge way, but the assholery is evident and the fact that you find yourself playing a game of merge chicken with this douchebag is really fucking irritating.

And yes this happened to me on the way home fmo work, and it was a bad day at work and I didn’t want the fucking aggravation.

Respect the (traffic) zipper, m-fer!

I so totally agree with you on this–it’s one of my pet peeves!

I also hate when drivers refuse to merge early and drive past the zipper to try to gain a spot further ahead. To paraphrase Dave Letterman: “When you see a sign that says ‘Merge ahead,’ go on and get your ass over in the other lane. You KNOW that the lane is closing–GET YOUR ASS OVER!!”

My god, I hate that. It’s one of my worst pet peeves. It drives me nuts that anyone lets them in once they get to the end.

A related peeve is the oxygen thieves who feel like they have to race around you on the shoulder to beat you to a merge when a two lane turns into a one lane.

I share your anger. I hope that most people like that are just mouthbreathers that are too stupid to understand the concept in the first place, rather than ridiculous narcissists who would rather fuck up traffic and have everyone hate them just to be one car ahead. Fucking morons, the lot of them.

So are you for the zipper or not???

The ‘zipper’ point is defined by whatever authority decides such things (DOT?) the zipper point is at the merging of the 2 lanes - that’s where the zipper comes together. Merging early screws the people in the ‘thru’ lane, as well as providing an incentive for a-holes to ‘cheat’.

Also the attitude you express (not allowing people to merge where the ‘authorities’ decided where the merge point should be), and your vigilante approach about taking it into your own hands actually caused shockwaves in traffic in both lanes which slows down everyone.

In short - chose the shortest lane, stay in it till the merge point, allow the zipper.

that vigilante comment was more intended towards Diogenes the Cynic for encouraging people to deny the alternate merge as determined by the DOT (or whatever).

but even in David Letterman’s own words:

Bold mine

The key is ‘merge ahead’, it doesn’t say ‘merge now’, Which word doesn’t D.L. understand here?

That’s idiotic. If people behave and merge in advance, they can do it while still moving. If they wait until a “zipper” point, they have to come to a complete standstill while the people waiting in the merging lane accelerate in. There’s a reason why they signal the merge well in advance and it’s people like you who screw it up for everyone.

actually **Finagle **you are the one who screws everyone. If you just think about it you should see the light. If you offer 2 lines, one is the ‘thru’ line and one is the line that merges. The greater the difference between the 2 the more incentive there is for people to ‘cheat’.

And as long as people ‘cheat’ there will be competition at the merge point. That causes sudden starts and stops and causes shockwaves. And under most conditions there will always be people merging in the merge point anyway.

The best way to do it is to allow 1 car length to merge at the merge point, this will allow the traffic to move in the most efficent manner.

Nope, never heard of anything called the traffic zipper. when first presented w/the concept, my thought was the asshole who zooms up to the back end of the car in front of him so he can do a bat lane change and get in front of the car in the next lane so he can then do the same thing again.

Actually, it’s not that small a thing. Your rant is even more justified than you think. Normal arseholery usually involves an arrogant fuck cutting in and affecting one other driver. Traffic zipper arseholery, on the other hand, affects lots of people, and could theoretically at least, do so for a long time. The whole point of the zipper is to keep the two lanes moving at the same time - achieved by merging one for one. Trying to squeeze a second car into the one-car gap provided by the guy in the through lane will mean that guy has to tap his brakes, causing a chain reaction. Similarly, if the guy in the through lane is an arsehole and speeds up to close the gap, it is worse. Then the car needing to merge will slow waiting for the next gap, but that gap doesn’t come because the through traffic has speeded up. So the guy has to stop and wait. Then everybody behind him is stopped, and everybody in the through lane is doing 40. All because of one arsehole who is by now miles away. Speed differential between the lanes is the bigest enemy of the zipper situation.

I think you’re misunderstanding your cite. The case that they’re trying to avoid is exactly the one that your behavior brings about – people can only merge at the end of the jam. The alternative, keeping a large distance between cars and allowing merges to take place requires a long distance for the merges to take place. Certainly more than a car length or two.

The “traffic zipper” is a classic game theory situation. It’s a game in which, if everyone cooperates, the cost for all players is minimized. However, players can default, and, by screwing others, reduce their own cost. And, if there’s anything that game theory teaches us, it’s that most people are selfish gits.

So you’re that asshole in the Merge lane who feels that he has to go to the very fucking end of the lane until his right tires are in the grass before forcing his way into the line of cars who have been waiting their turn to advance. The Merge lane is that length so that cars and trucks can have enough room to pick up speed to match the through lane flow of traffic. It’s an acceleration lane. That’s why it’s so fucking long dimwit.
But no!! You have to get just a few more cars ahead, by-passing the many gaps in traffic where you could have merged in at existing speeds. Also, many of these asshats were in the freakin’ through lane and pulled into the merge lane only to jet ahead and try to force thier way back in at this so-called zipper. I worked in the Traffic Engineering field for many, many years and the sign means “This lane ends, Merge left as soon as possible stupid!” Not drive till your in the grass and yank your steering wheel left. In slow moving traffic many of these people have been waiting a looong time to advance a few feet and then here you come, balls to the wall, screaming down to the last fucking bit of pavement and then hope some spineless fuck will cave and let your inconsiderate ass in.
I, like many others, leave a gap big enough for a car or two in front of mine as I approach the beginnning of a merge lane and/or move left if possible. But when these asshats drive right by several merge opportunites, only to force their way in at the grass line, I say fuck you. Get in line like the rest of us.

The most sensible sign I saw was in Pennsylvania. It said “use both lanes until the merge”. Both lanes were employed until the merge, when everyone did the “your turn my turn” routine.

Yes that’s the ticket, merging early just screws people in that lane since they have to allow 2 merges, the legal merge point, and the asshat mergers who go early. Giving an incentive to get in the lane that is ending to take it to the end.

Nicodemus2004, I’m not talking about stalling traffic at the merge point, but if you merge early you open the ending lane for others to get by you and cause the stalling traffic at that merge point. I agree with you about the acceleration lane, but this can be done by matching the speed of the ‘hole’ but not merging till the merge point (again if you do ‘fill the hole’ you have merged early and the thru land still has to allow the thru lane to endure a merge at the merge point, screwing all those good intentioned but misguided people who got over early.

Finagle I don’t think so, but I do suspect you are ignoring that humans are driving those cars. What I was pointing out is the gif animations. The left side shows drivers trying to punish others by not leaving room - this is what your style of driving causes. You think you did right and the others are ‘cheating’ so you want to prevent them from merging. THis causes that bumper to bumper shockwaves that screw everyone.

In the right side we have what I suggest. There is less competition as both lanes have a equal wait to merge, that competative mode is minimized and people are more willing to allow the zipper.

I am not suggesting travelling 65 mph down the ending lane while the other is stopped and get in in the last 6 inches, but to try to match speed, if practical, if not go a bit faster till the merge point. As you approach look for a opening and match speed, but don’t merge early - you MUST take it till the merge point or the system falls apart.

Also many have said that warnings about upcoming merges are a suggestion to get over, but is it possible that they are there to warn drivers, who may be on their cell phone while eating a Big Mac to be alert of a lane closure. I’m sure most of you have run across a unexpected sudden lane closure, like a stalled car in the travel lane, and it is a very dangerous situation.

Be a lot easier on everyone if they’d just make enough lanes in the road so they don’t have to HAVE merges during the rush hour.

Drivers who run ahead of merging traffic are the ones who slow everything down. While the rest of us have begun merging in an orderly fashion, others are afraid they’ll be one or two seconds later to their destination so they pass all the others who are courteously allowing one another into the merge lane, blocking up traffic like a blood clot. The rest of us have to stop and start, stop and start while people ahead, who are just trying to be nice, let these jerks in.

And I do not speak of merge warnings that appear a mile or two ahead of the merge point. I am referring to the signs that give you warnings a various points, the last usually being 500 feet. This distance will be covered in a matter of mere seconds. You should be getting your butt into the other lane. Waiting till the very last second is not smart and can lead to jockeying for position. (Yes, I have seen this.)

I remember such a situation in Missouri on a stretch of highway between Branson and Springfield. They were in the process of widening the highway, but there were still several merge points along the way. All these assholes kept driving past everyone and the rest of us had to sit and wait and wait and wait while they pushed ahead. Finally, my hubby and a few others pulled into the middle of the two lanes to prevent this. It worked too, because we all were finally able to begin moving once others were prevented from essentially cutting in line.

Chanteuse, do you understand that your husband’s and his partners’ actions worked because they were essentially doing exactly what kanicbird’s cite advises? -In effect, your cars moved back into the merging lane, becoming “merging vehicles”, and paced the through lane traffic up to the merge point, where (because they were straddling the merging and through lanes) they moved back into the available gap they had provided themselves.

In kanicbird’s model, this is the exact behavior of both merging and through-lane traffic that is called for. The through lane maintained gaps for merging traffic, and the merging lane proceeded all the way to the merge point at a matching speed.

Hallelujah- somebody else who does this! I agree and love the “blood clot” analogy!
xenophon41_ Why should we wait endlessly while these few assholes jet past us, cutting into line after arriving well after those in front? Their time is soooo much more valuable than the rest of us? I have been in this segment of highway for the past few minutes and this guy arrived a second ago and he should be granted the right to past everyone else and force his way in? Do this in the grocery store line and you’d get your face rearranged but, with anonimity of your car it’s okay, right?
Quick class: The white lines seperate traffic flowing in the same direction. Broken (skip) lines are “lane changes permitted” and solid lines are “lane changes discouraged” while double white are “lane changes prohibited”. Yellow of course seperates traffic moving in opposite directions
When you come down the lane that merges and the signs say “MERGE” there is a skip white line to permit you to merge as soon as safely possible. If they intended you to ride along in the merging lane until the end, don’t you think the lines would be solid? Lane Changes Prohibited? No, they warn you at like 1500 feet, 1000 feet and then 500 feet to give you the chance to make an orderly merge after matching the through-lane speed.
When you are on a highway and are coming up on an exit you need to take, do you also wait, staying in the through-lane until you reach the very end of the exit lane before yanking you wheel right and forcing your way into the lane? Many times the signs may read “Exit Ahead” so why not use the same reasoning here? You don’t pull into the exit lane at through-lane speed and decelerate towards the end of the lane, right? You wait, yank it into the path of those who had enough sense to already be in the lane and brake hard before the end of the lane.
I worked in the Traffic Engineering field for decades but you’re going to believe what you want to believe, however wrong it may be. No one is going to make you think differently. All I ask is, hey, give it shot. Look at the pavement markings and the signage. Try it once. Get up to speed, pick an adequate gap, pace the opening, signal and merge! All that lane up ahead you don’t use may be like “Pavement Karma”. It will come back around in a situation when you need it. And those around you will be impressed by your driving skills.

When the road is congested, you should always use both lanes until the merge point, unless signs instruct otherwise. If you merge early (or even worse straddle two lanes), you create an imbalance that creates longer traffic jams, which can stop people from getting off at exits that occur before the merge, thus increasing congestion even more.

On the other hand, when there’s light traffic with lots of gaps, you should make a controlled merge at speed soon after you see the “merge ahead” sign to avoid swerving dangerously near the merge point.

Minnesota and Pennsylvania both explicitly encourage late merging through signage and driver education. I’m sure other states do as well.

Here’s one cite from Minnesota’s DOT site:

Here’s a pretty objective summary of some research on the subject:

It would seem that the biggest problems with the late merge are aggressive drivers in the thru lane who either straddle or don’t allow the merge. This makes it especially difficult for truckers to merge at the merge point, and can create dangerous situations. However, signs that instruct drivers to “use both lanes until the merge” and then “merge now, take turns” are reasonably effective at reducing this behavior.

You seem to be reading something into my explanation to Chanteuse that’s not actually there. I actually applaud the actions her husband took; it forced a [temporary] return to the proper zipper action. But I’ll answer your question about letting people into the through lane…

Whenever you’ve attained a position in the through lane, you should open up an available space between you and the car in front of you for a car from the merging lane to enter. When a car fills that space, open up a new one. You should do this because you’re interested in smoothing out the flow of traffic for all of those behind you. If you’re successful at that, you’ve “won” something that’s helped the whole line of traffic.

If you’re only concerned with punishing a driver who’s gone to the end of the merging lane, you’ve “won” a battle with someone who’ll just be one or two car lengths behind you, moving at the same speed you are, for some temporary length of highway.