There is a lot of road work going on and around this city of ours. Close to my shop is an ongoing cluster-cuss of construction that is projected to continue well into next summer. As a result, driving has become less than enjoyable. I mean, I learned to drive in Detroit when I was 17 so I can handle aggressive driving and such. What I can’t handle is the dumb, stupid-slow, blind u-turn, no indicator free-for-all that Charlottesville city streets have become. Quintessential Southern mentality and the gentile duplicity of well-meaning citizens, has led me to my current state of vehicular frustration…
Zipper Merge. It’s a thing. A good thing. Recently, I found myself driving in a lane that was slated to end in about a three quarters of a mile. Mind you, I was traveling at about 35 miles per hour when I saw the first sign. Traffic was pretty heavy but most of it was concentrated in the right lane (I was in the left). I continued on, slower, but still in my lane, when I had to put on the brakes and come to a complete stop because a single car was straddling the two lanes. I realized when I tried to move around the vehicle (and the driver subsequently moved further over to block my way), that he was policing the merge. All by himself, blesshisheart. It was all I could do to keep from unleashing the pent-up Detroit-borne teenage road rage on this guy. I stared hard at his Oakley’s in the side-view of his car. I watched the confused, elderly driver behind me, honking gently. And then I drove up onto the grassy, raised median and went around that brothertrucker.
“Zipper Merge, cusshead!” I wanted to yell, as I bumped and swerved past.
The Zipper Merge, also known as “late merge”, is a tested traffic flow directive that, as the name suggests, requires drivers to merge as late a possible to create a one-two, me-you, zipper-effect. This “zippering” keeps traffic moving at a consistent pace and greatly reduces accidents ahead of the merge point.
Here are some links if you want learn more:
Share this concept with your loved ones. Tell your neighbor with the Oakley’s. ‘Cause next time, I’m not going around him- I’m going over him like a zipper over tighty-cussing-whities.