SGI News Release

Has this ever happened to you? You’re entering a construction zone and the lane you’re in will be closing, so you signal and merge into the continuing lane. Meanwhile, the driver who was previously behind you keeps going in the original lane and merges into the continuing lane at the last minute, well ahead of you. What’s up with that? Is that a fair move?

Yes – that driver was simply doing a zipper merge, which allows drivers to use both lanes until the closing lane ends, then alternate in a ‘zipper’ fashion into the open lane. Vehicles in the closing lane must signal, shoulder check and merge when safe, and each driver in the open lane should let in one vehicle.

“Saskatchewan, it is time to officially embrace the zipper merge,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice President of the Auto Fund. “Some people think zipper-merging is rude, but it’s not. When a lane is closing, slowing down to change lanes well ahead of the merge point slows traffic unnecessarily, and can cause congestion.”

Zipper merging benefits all drivers in both lanes, making traffic flow more quickly and efficiently. It also creates fairness and eliminates the stress of the ‘other’ lane moving faster than yours, as everyone can now travel at the same speed. If everyone is courteous and cooperative (courtesy waves encouraged), everyone will zip through quickly!

A new section featuring zipper merges is featured in the latest edition of the Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook. The Handbook is updated and re-printed each fall. The Handbook isn’t just a study guide to pass the learner’s licence exam; it’s a fantastic resource for all drivers, no matter their age or driving experience.

Other new information in this year’s edition:

  • Tougher impaired driving and cellphone laws that came into effect Jan. 1, 2017
  • Best practice is for hand positions at “9 and 3” or “8 and 4” on the steering wheel, not “10 and 2”
  • Tow trucks can have blue and amber flashing lights; slow to 60 when lights are flashing
  • Addition of “in-laws” to family members who can ride with new drivers
  • Jaywalkers – you should always be prepared to stop if a jaywalker enters your path. But don’t wave them on or encourage them as the car behind or beside you may not see them.
  • Right of way in parking lots – rules of the road to follow when it comes to thoroughfares and feeder lanes

The Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook is available online, or you can pick up a printed version at any SGI motor licence issuer or driver exam office.

 

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