A new way of thinking-the zipper merge


If you have left your house in the last several months, you know that Waco is a giant construction zone lined with orange barrels. Just taking my kids to and from school has become a lengthy and frustrating event. As the traffic becomes worse, it brings out the worst in us for sure. The construction has taken 84 down to one lane in each direction and has caused an even worse amount of congestion than before. All the while, I-35 is basically a giant parking lot. I like to think of myself as a kind person, but this endless construction has me full of road rage I never knew was hiding inside of me. I have always been the sort of person who immediately merges when I see a “lane ends” sign. I have become increasingly more aware that not everyone believes this is correct.

There are several different types of drivers. There is the rule follower (me) who gets over immediately, the lane straddler, usually driving a large truck, who thinks driving down the center of the two lanes not letting anyone by him. Then there is the overly kind person who will let anyone in that uses their turn signal and causing a major stack up and lastly, the jerk who zips past the massive line of people who followed directions, only to cut you off at the last second. This just seems so rude. So where did I spew out my frustrations?  Social media of course! I was going to shout my frustration from the rooftops. Because of my rant on Facebook, someone told me about the ZIPPER MERGE. So, of course, I did a quick online search for the zipper merge, and sure enough, those “jerks” zooming over at the last possible moment were CORRECT and I was the jerk making the traffic move slower.  Mind blown!

As it turns out many larger cities such as Dallas, Houston and even Kansas City, have widely publicized this method of traffic control. Apparently, it just hasn’t made it to little old Waco yet. So, I watched a short YouTube clip of how effective it is at reducing time spent in traffic jams and it makes total sense. We just have to change our way of thinking. The jerk who waits till the last second is actually correct. That takes a serious shift in thinking for me.

We have to reach way back to our preschool days and learn how to take turns again. But this method will only work if we ALL use it. So next time you find yourself approaching those orange barrels of irritation, try this method and eventually it will catch on.