It Pays to Merge at the Last Minute, But Not to Use Mannequins in Carpool Lanes

Here are this week's weirdest stories from the road

September 23, 2016
Photo: iStock

Think you’re a good driver because you’re afraid to cut ahead? Think again. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, when a closed lane on the highway causes a traffic jam, drivers should wait until the lane has almost ended before merging into the next lane.

The “zipper method,” as its formally called, is a late-merging tactic in which the entire roadway is utilized and drivers from the closing lane and the open lane take turns proceeding at the point where the closing lane ends. When highways are especially congested, the zipper method can help reduce traffic jams by 35 percent.

However, none of this means late mergers won’t still be on the receiving end of middle fingers and honking horns. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to get people on board,” a CDOT spokesman told USA Today. “Changing people’s driving behaviors is a long process.”

In other road rules news, the lawful use of a carpool lane still requires a vehicle with multiple human beings — just ask the Brea, Calif. truck driver pulled over on Wednesday with a mannequin riding shotgun.

A police officer reportedly observed the shenanigans after the truck swerved toward the officer’s motorcycle, so he pulled the driver over. Instead of making up a story about this particular mannequin only being alive when nobody else was looking, however, the driver came clean, promised not to do it again, and was ultimately awarded a $481 ticket.

Just how real did the mannequin look? Check out the photo provided by the Brea Police Department below:

Photo: Brea Police Department
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