A recent column by Steve Sebelius, along with recent letters to the editor, have argued that using a zipper pattern to merge two lanes isn’t the proper way to merge. This belief appears unique to this area of the country. From the time I got my restricted license at 14 years old in Florida, through my entire adult life in both suburban and urban New York, we were taught and executed zipper — every other car — merging.
When we moved here in 2002, I couldn’t believe that people would back up one lane for blocks while the other lane was idle. When I would see this and drive to the front of the other lane, people wouldn’t let me in as if we were trying to beat the system. In fact, what I was doing was the proper way to avoid congestion and backups.
This is just one of several driving habits we find a little strange in Nevada. People go up acceleration ramps at 25 mph to get on a highway instead of accelerating to highway speed so they can merge in. Of course, when they get to the top of the ramp they are going too slow to merge, run out of lane and often stop, causing accidents and backups.
Another strange and dangerous one to us is that people don’t know the universal rule “keep right except to pass.” Nothing backs up a highway more than someone in the left and center lane going below the speed limit or not going at a speed adequate to pass other cars.
There doesn’t appear to be any state program to teach proper driving habits and techniques. I commend the Nevada Department of Transportation for advertising how to merge in a zipper pattern