I admit it. I have always been a late merger, much to the chagrin of my family and most of my friends. But it seems I HAVE BEEN RIGHT ALL ALONG! It has always been my theory that if you keep going in both lanes, traffic won't back up as much, as far, and as slowly and then when you get to the merge point you just zip in one at a time. In fact there is an actual name for it......."The Zipper Effect".
The Pennsylvania DOT got it right a long time ago. I love their signs before a merge. The first one says: MERGE AHEAD - USE BOTH LANES. Another one will alert you to a work area and finally the last one says: MERGE HERE.
As it turns out quite a bit of studies have been conducted by many many states trying to figure out this whole merge thing.
When you merge later YOU ARE ACTUALLY HELPING EVERYONE ELSE move faster. I know, I know. It's counterintuitive but research shows that cars move an estimated 15 % faster when drivers wait to merge.
So there you have it. LATE MERGERS UNITE!
Want move information of the authoritative kind? Pick up Tom Vanderbilt's book Traffic or check out the companion blog at http://www.howwedrive.com/ for other fascinating information about, well, how we drive. It may make your next trip less stressful