Young’s “zipper merge” transportation bill gains traction in Legislature

What is zipper merging, and how does it alleviate traffic congestion? According to transportation experts, the late merge – or zipper merge – describes the way cars take turns getting into a lane. It resembles the teeth of a zipper coming together.  This maneuver eliminates back-ups and moves traffic more efficiently, thereby easing congestion.

A bill introduced by Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, would educate drivers on the proper methods of zipper merging and the effects it has on easing backup during key traffic periods on Washington state highways.

“This issue was brought to my attention because of the local congestion and merging problem on Hwy 16 along Hwy 302. WSDOT allows for shoulder merging along this stretch of the highway, yet most drivers don’t know how to properly use this technique,” said Young. “Oddly enough, zipper merging isn’t taught to new drivers, or those renewing their license. My bill would provide a new educational tool to drivers on the correct ways to merge.”

House Bill 1614 would require driver education courses to include in their curriculum instruction on the late-merge zipper method. The bill would also mandate testing of this method in the written portion of the driving exam.

Young says his bill is a common-sense solution that is fiscally responsible, doesn’t create or increase taxes, and improves traffic safety.

“Most drivers in the 26th District, and across the state, are polite to one another. I believe this is one of the reasons merging isn’t done correctly. Drivers don’t want to make their fellow drivers feel as if they are getting cut off,” continued Young. “However, when merging is done incorrectly, it leads to increased traffic congestion, potential road rage, and more accidents. My bill will decrease these occurrences. Knowledge is power, and I hope through increased education, drivers start merging correctly. We need to use the proper methods to help aid in reducing our traffic congestion.”

House Bill 1614 recently received a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee. It awaits further committee action.


Washington State House Republican Communications