Dear Crabby, What Do You Think of Zipper Merging?

Dear Crabby,

Just when I think I have the construction patterns down – bam! More are added to the mix. Between the new segment of I-75 starting soon and the work on Baldwin extending into 2020, I’m seeing more articles reminding drivers to zipper merge. But does it work and why should I let a car in at the last minute when I’ve been waiting in traffic forever?

Cyndy Sideswipe

Dear Cyndy Sideswipe,

Why should you indeed? I know our roads are in bad shape and need to be repaired, but what a mess! It is so bad the poor folks at the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) are constantly getting yelled at and blamed for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) projects and it’s because no one can keep all these projects straight! So, to further confound things, let’s add in this zipper merging concept which seems to be loved as much as orange barrels are. Of course, I like many other drivers were taught to get over as soon as you can and be courteous enough to let other drivers into the lane. But under no circumstance were you to let those arrogant drivers who clearly had been sitting on their brains the entire time merge at the last minute. Now they tell us we’ve been doing it all wrong and the zipper merge is where it’s at. It’s safer and more efficient overall. To that I say hogwash! I’ve been driving for 60-some odd years and now I’m being told I’ve been doing it all backward. Between this zipper merging, roundabouts, and that confounding diverging diamond interchange at University in Auburn Hills, it’s enough to make a grown man give up. Or at the very least look into getting a chauffeur.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

The article I read said that the zipper merge will anger the other drivers. Yup. They ain’t whistling Dixie on that one. Just the other day I was driving down Walton Boulevard and saw that I was losing the right lane. Having recently been brought up to speed on zipper merging I thought, ‘this old dog can learn new tricks.’ So, I looked in my rearview mirror, saw I had space, signaled and made my move into the left lane. Sure enough, the van behind me laid on the horn. About this time I see another vehicle wants to get in front of me, so I let him. Oh boy. This did not make the guy behind me happy at all. Do you know what that turkey did? He made like Mario Andretti into the middle turn lane, went around my car and the one I let in and merged back into the left lane in front of both of us! What in the world? That was way more reckless and irresponsible than what I did.

And as much as I don’t like this zipper merge, just like road construction, it isn’t going anywhere so we might as well get used to it. Just like when my mom told me to eat my vegetables as a kid. She always said even though I didn’t like them, they were good for me. Guess zipper merging is the same way. Still doesn’t mean I like it or won’t make a face at the other drivers when they do it.

Hope this answers your question and stay safe out there! Better yet – just stay home!
Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. I believe the problem is that not everyone is aware of and using the zipper merge method properly. If done properly, by everyone, it’s meant to work well. See the link below for a good explanation of the process and visual demonstration.

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