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Omaha area commuters think too few drivers use the zipper merge correctly: 'It's kinda scummy in my opinion'

Posted at 6:53 PM, Aug 30, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Commuter Aaron Koepsell said he feels frustrated about his daily commute. The Creighton University freshman has had to take detours to avoid long lines of cars trying to get through construction.

Commuters are being prompted more often to zipper merge to get through these tough areas.

"I like the idea of the zipper merge," Lindsey Kaiser, a commuter said. "I think it’s more efficient."

In a zipper merge, cars take up two lanes of traffic heading one direction until they hit a point where each driver takes turns merging into one lane. The goal of the zipper merge is to improve efficiency and safety throughout construction zones.

Koepsell said it’s been a struggle for some drivers to understand.

"I’m assuming they don’t know it’s there when they’re driving this way and then they get kinda stuck at some point," he said. "It’s definitely been a bit of a hassle."

Koepsell said he's even noticed some drivers straddling both lanes preventing anyone from merging.

"It’s kinda scummy in my opinion," he said. "Some people think that other people are just trying to get in front of them."

Eric Koeppe with the National Safety Council-Nebraska Chapter said the organization advocates for the zipper merge. He said for it to work right, everyone has to cooperate.

"Zipper merging is about courtesy," Koeppe said. "It’s understanding that by letting the other person in front of me and the next person letting them in that we can actually get through that construction zone quicker."

Commuters said they understand it’ll take time for everyone to get on board, until that happens they plan to stay aware behind the wheel.

"It’s kinda like just watching out for other people who are driving," Koepsell said.

Koppe said zipper merging is a topic covered in the safety council's driver's education courses.

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