Editorial: Embracing the Zipper Merge: Why You Should Use It

Drivers heading to St. Albert from Morinville and points north on Highway 2 have undoubtedly been frustrated by the backup inside city limits with one lane. This frustration could be alleviated if everyone simply followed the sign advising to use a zipper merge.

In the world of traffic etiquette, the zipper merge is an often misunderstood and underutilized maneuver. Yet, it stands as a simple and effective solution to alleviate congestion and reduce road rage. The zipper merge is not just a traffic technique; it’s a courteous, efficient, and fair way to navigate the roads. Here’s why you should embrace it.

Efficiency: The primary purpose of the zipper merge is to keep traffic flowing smoothly, especially in areas of construction or bottlenecking lanes. Instead of merging early, causing a long line and slowing everyone down, the zipper merge encourages drivers to use all available lanes until they reach the designated merge point. At this point, vehicles take turns merging one by one, creating a continuous flow of traffic. This method utilizes road space optimally and reduces backups.

Fairness: One of the key benefits of the zipper merge is that it’s equitable. Each driver has a chance to merge at the same point, eliminating the frustration of watching others cut in line. It promotes a sense of fairness and discourages aggressive driving behaviours.

Reduced Road Rage: We’ve all experienced the frustration of someone merging early and creating a long line of traffic. This annoyance can lead to road rage and aggressive driving. The zipper merge reduces this tension by encouraging cooperation and ensuring that no one gains an unfair advantage.

Faster Commutes: By embracing the zipper merge, we can collectively experience faster commute times. When traffic moves more smoothly and efficiently, it benefits everyone on the road. Shorter commutes mean less time stuck in traffic, reduced fuel consumption, and fewer harmful emissions.

Less Risk: Merging early often results in merging at higher speeds, which can be risky and lead to accidents. In contrast, the zipper merge encourages merging at slower, more controlled speeds, reducing the likelihood of collisions and increasing overall road safety.

Environmental Benefits: A smoother flow of traffic leads to reduced stop-and-go driving, which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption and emissions. By adopting the zipper merge, we can contribute to a greener planet while also saving money on fuel costs.

In summary, the zipper merge is a smart and responsible way to navigate traffic. It promotes efficiency, fairness, reduced road rage, faster commutes, and a safer, greener environment. So, the next time you approach a merge point on the road, remember the benefits of the zipper merge, and join your fellow drivers in creating a more harmonious and efficient traffic experience for everyone.

Below is a video on the Zipper Merge.

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  1. Thank you for pisting this
    I am at a loss to understand how we have a system that institutes this tyoe of advantageous change, then spends zero in educating public.
    It does not even show up in testing for drivers licence.
    Now, let’s talk about tailights……

  2. If the construction ever got completed on the st Albert trail after multiple years, there would be no need for zipper merge, and thus problem solved. What a concept!

    • Boy that’s sure helpful for those of us driving Darrel. This post is for people driving, not the city council or staff. What a concept!

  3. Perhaps left out on purpose, but the fact that it is also the law to let others in when required to merge needs to be said. It’s not courtesy, it’s the law.

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