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Merge like a zip in Wellington

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to merge like a zip as traffic volumes in the Wellington region return to normal levels.

People travelling on State Highway 1 (SH1) will notice new signs and line markings that encourage good merging habits at on-ramps between Porirua and Johnsonville.

Work to introduce similar signage throughout the region will start in the coming months based on the success of the SH1 improvements.

Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says people can help reduce the impact of congestion by adopting simple micro-behaviours.

Simple tips for drivers include merging like a zip, maintaining a steady speed and avoiding unnecessary lane changes.

“Merging and lane-changing can both create a ripple effect by requiring following vehicles to brake, resulting in harder braking as traffic backs up, and increasing the risk of a crash,” Mr Owen says.

“Merging like a zip works. That means if you need to merge, don’t cut into the main flow of traffic too soon. It’s better to match the speed of other vehicles, and merge at the end of the lane, which reduces unnecessary braking and smooths out the traffic.”

Mr Owen says traffic volumes tend to increase after Waitangi Day, as schools reopen and people return to work.

“People are likely already noticing an increase in traffic travelling in and out of Wellington since Waitangi Day,” Mr Owen says.

“Journeys at peak times are largely dictated by traffic volumes and how well people are using the space on the road. With so many people travelling into Wellington every weekday morning, there’s much less space available, so it’s a matter of using it well.

“We’re doing what we can to improve the efficiency of the transport network, but if every motorist remembers these tips, we’ll all enjoy better journeys and less congestion.”

Waka Kotahi video on merging

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