Zip merging, how should it be done?

zip merge sign

What is zip merging? And how should it be done?

annoying driving habitsHow annoying are drivers who push in front of you after speeding down that empty lane next to you? Aaarrggghhh! There really is no need for it is there? Or is there? Zip merging is a necessity on some roads, and is there to make traffic flow in a smoother way.

We’ve all done it, or had it done to us, nipped down an empty outside lane and sneaked into the queue towards the front. Is it wrong? Maybe not. Zip merging is one of the best ways to keep traffic flowing, if done properly.

What is zip merging?

Zip merging is needed to reduce traffic down to a restricted number of lanes. Drivers are expected to use both lanes available until the point where one lane is no longer available, and then take it in turns to merge into one lane of traffic. Rather than change lanes as soon as possible.

But does this cause problems?

Drivers in the left hand lane can get increasingly annoyed at drivers to their right passing them, and then cutting in line in front of them. We all have an idea of where we think we should be in the queue of traffic and we get annoyed if other drivers cut us up, or steal our spot in the queue.

the highway code zip mergingWhat the highway code says about zip merging

According to rule 134;

You should follow the signs and road markings and get into the lane as directed. In congested road conditions do not change lanes unnecessarily. Merging in turn is recommended but only if safe and appropriate when vehicles are travelling at a very low speed, e.g. when approaching road works or a road traffic incident. It is not recommended at high speed.

So what should you actually do?

  • Find the safest way to travel.
  • Don’t push in front of vehicles if there isn’t a gap
  • Find a vehicle to pull in behind
  • Finally, slow down, indicate, and move when safe

What do you think about zip merging?

Are you one of the drivers who moves lanes early and gets into a growing queue of traffic, or are you a driver who speeds down passed all the queuing traffic to get a space in front of others?  Let us know in the comments section.


Fiona Taylor is the Sales Manager at award winning Satmo Vehicle Tracking. If you feel you need help with your fleet, want to gain back control, save some money and time then please get in touch.

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