Torque Shop: Navigating closed lanes

Contractors doing roadworks are supposed to post clear signs way before the site.
Contractors doing roadworks are supposed to post clear signs way before the site.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

I find that there are more roadworks these days. And I always find myself stuck in a closed lane because motorists tend not to allow me to filter to a moving lane. Is there a way around this?

Contractors doing roadworks are supposed to post clear signs way before the site. This will give motorists ample opportunity to avoid a closed lane.

But should signs be blocked for one reason or another and you find yourself fast approaching a closed lane, signal your intention to move to another lane.

The vehicle behind you is supposed to give way to you before moving on. And the car directly behind you in the closed lane will signal and wait to be let in.

This is called zipper merging, named after the alternating teeth of a zipper. It works for closed lanes, for motorists merging from a side road or ramp, and for those who find themselves on a two-lane road which narrows to become a one-laner.

How well it works depends on the driving culture. For instance, zipper merging works extremely well in Japan because motorists there know they have to give way to only one vehicle before moving off.

Admittedly, it does not work as well in Singapore, where many motorists loathe ceding even an inch because everyone seems to be in a perpetual rush.

The truth is, zipper merging is an efficient way to optimise road capacity and the delay you incur in giving way to another is but a couple of seconds.