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How the zipper merge could benefit Tampa Bay area drivers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Car-line backups, road construction projects and traffic crashes all hamper the commute. But there's an easy driving technique, touted as the most efficient way to merge, that is rarely seen on Tampa Bay area roads.

The "zipper merge" means vehicles drive parallel until one lane physically narrows. Then, each driver in the open lane lets one driver from the closed lane go in front of them. The result is two lines of traffic coming together like the teeth on a zipper.

Studies show this method is better for traffic flow than when vehicles form a single line early, and can reduce backups as much as 40 percent.

News Channel 8 contacted the Florida Highway Patrol about the zipper merge. An FHP spokesperson says if drivers work together with courtesy and patience, the "zipper merge" is an excellent and efficient way to navigate lane closures.

Would you use it?

Send your feedback, or your traffic complaints, to reporter Meredyth Censullo at mcensullo@wfla.com or on Facebook


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