Believe it or not, our driving skills around these parts are probably not the best.

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I know that's got to be as much a shock to you as it is to me, but truth be told, we could stand to learn a few things from outsiders.

Google Maps/Canva
Google Maps/Canva

If you've spent most of your driving days here in our immediate area, it's likely that you think like a lot of us.

When approaching road construction areas and you see that one of the lanes is about to end, it's only right to immediately merge to the other lane, correct?

Erin McCarty
Erin McCarty

And for those not willing to move over and then charge to the front of the line, it's perfectly acceptable to either put them in a wall or completely prevent them from merging, correct?

Trust me, I'm right there with you, but apparently some of these other drivers are the ones doing it correctly and it is us locals who are doing it wrong.

I-20 traffic
Photo: Angela Thomas

An article from highlighted the technique known as "Zipper Merging" a number of years ago, and apparently this style of merging actually alleviates many of the stop-n-go issues we have in these construction areas and has become the law of the land in several states and other countries.

Take a look at this image from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to see how Zipper Merging works.

There is one major obstacle that can derail the entire train though. According to the LADOTD, the practice of "Zipper Merging" relies on the kindness of others, and the trust in other drivers that they aren't trying to cut in line.

DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett says too often, motorists refuse to let cars into oncoming traffic, because they think drivers in the closing lane are trying to cut the line. Other drivers merge before the lane closure, causing more congestion.

You can also get a better idea of how Zipper Merging works with this video:

With all the congestion we are experiencing now with the construction on I-20 and the increase in traffic on I-220 and several of our other major roadways, we might need to make the attempt to adopt this practice.

What's the worst case scenario?  We find out we were wrong and there's a better way?

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Gallery Credit: Canva

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