Merging into traffic? Experts say many of us do it wrong.

·1 min read

Editor's note: This content was originally published in 2016.

We all recognize the jerks on the road when it comes time to merge.

A construction project has narrowed the number of open lanes, and these motorists have the audacity to shoot to the front of the line and cut into the remaining open lane amid a chorus of honks, yells and gestures.

However, they're the ones who are merging correctly, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The department has been promoting for a decade the "zipper method" of merging when traffic is particularly congested. Officials recommend this late-merge strategy in which drivers use the entire roadway and take turns merging from the closed lane into the open one at the point when the road narrows.

Best vehicles of 2021: These are the best new cars, trucks and SUVs, according to Consumer Reports Top Picks

Electric vehicles: Honda to phase out gas cars, aiming for 100% electric vehicles in North America by 2040

In heavy congestion, this strategy reduces delays by as much as 35%, according to the department.

When people merge early, they create a more severe backup because they leave a lane unused, CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said.

Despite the department's decade-long education effort, people still merge early, though merging early in low congestion does have less of a negative impact.

"I don't know what it's going to take to get people on board," Wilson said. "Changing people's driving behaviors is a long process."

Road trip planner: What to know before driving cross country

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Merging into traffic? You might be doing it wrong, experts say.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting