Approaching Lane Closures

Lane Ends SignThere is probably nowhere that the unofficial rules of the road are "enforced" by other drivers like that of the lane closure line up. You know, the long line up of traffic that forms on one side of the highway after drivers pass the lane closed ahead advisory signs.

Don't You Dare!

When a driver dares to drive by waiting traffic by using the empty lane I've seen people open their doors or swerve partially into that lane to let other drivers know that they are supposed to be in the line up, not using the capacity in the empty lane to get ahead.

These "enforcement" actions are illegal. One must not open a door when it is unsafe to do so or change lanes when doing so would affect other traffic.

Merging Early

If traffic is light and no line has formed, merging early is perfectly acceptable. Due to the lower volume, a backup will not form to cause delay.

Merging Late

When traffic is heavier than what can be accommodated by a single lane, continue with caution using both lanes and at the end merge like the teeth in a zipper before proceeding through the zone single file.

A zipper merge alleviates the risks of queue jumping and road rage by creating a uniform system of merging that uses the full capacity of the road and increases the fairness of merging under conditions that are high stress for many drivers.

Other benefits include a reduction in speed differences between lanes and a reduction in the overall length of traffic backup by as much as 40 percent.

Advisory Signs

These practices are acceptable because the black on orange signs used in these situations are advisory. A driver can choose to take the advice (or not) as their experience, traffic and road conditions would dictate in the circumstances.

Regulatory Controls

Flag persons, cones, barricades and the like are traffic control devices that must be obeyed. Once you reach them at the point where the lane is closed, it becomes an offence to fail to follow their requirements. Now you must move over as indicated, but not before.


... but is still commonly encountered, where one lane is discontinued.

To my mind, the legal situation is that the drivers in the lane that's ending are required to change lanes, which makes it their responsibility to do so safely.

But of course the practical response is for drivers to treat this as a zipper merge.  Why on earth don't we have 'Zipper Merge' or 'Alternate Merge' signs (notwithstanding the fact that words have been replaced by symbols where possible over the last few decades)?  Perhaps, because those who write the legislation in the MVA don't consider it important?

Does not reflect well on those who create the legislation.  I guess they just don't care, or figure it's an ICBC problem (it isn't).

Seems like few drivers in the Okanagan are aware of the zipper method of lane merging.

Is there an advisory sign to convey the concept of zipper merging at approaching lane closures? If so, I wonder if its use would improve both the flow of traffic and the temper of drivers.