Are Minnesotans Too Nice To Do the Zipper Merge?
Despite all the hype and public service announcements, Minnesotans STILL don't do the Zipper Merge-- and we all suffer, sitting there in traffic that's backed up. I think it's because we're too nice.
I was heading back from moving my mom into her new place back in Wisconsin on Sunday and was flying along on Highway-52...until I hit that stretch just south of Oronoco where southbound traffic is down to one lane as MnDOT completes a resurfacing project.
And when the first Left Lane Closed Ahead sign appeared, instead of using both lanes during backups (as several other signs urged), a ton of fellow drivers, like lemmings, moved on over to the right lane, backing things up even more.
Why don't Minnesotans do Zipper Merge, like MnDOT wants us to? I don't know about you, but I don't think it's very fun to sit in a traffic back-up several miles long along Highway-52 because everybody merged into the open lane way too early-- even though the construction lane isn't closed for a mile or two down the road.
But if we all do the Zipper Merge and stay in BOTH lanes until signs say to merge (and then take turns letting other cars in), we can cut that time almost in half!
Problems happen, though, when only some of us (that'd be me) do the Zipper Merge. We tool along in the open lane-- LIKE MNDOT WANTS US TO-- while everybody else sits backed up in the other lane. And then, rather than taking turns to let us in at the merge-- like the signs say-- some jackbooted thug takes it upon himself to self-police things and blocks us from merging.
Which, these days, could result in some serious road rage. And, which no doubt frightens other Minnesotans-- who, again, are too nice-- and don't want to be seen as 'that guy' who cuts over and changes lanes at the last minute, even though that's how it's SUPPOSED to work!
So most of us move over into the other lane much earlier than we have to-- and keep traffic backed up. Which is why I say WE ALL NEED TO DO THE ZIPPER MERGE. Because I'm all for reducing the time we spend waiting to move through those orange barrels, right?!?
Need a refresher on how the Zipper Merge is supposed to work? Check out the video below. (Which was produced back in 2011, meaning MnDOT has been trying to get us to do the Zipper Merge for the last 8 years!!!)