Good Question: Highway Lane Closure - Are you a Budger?

June 27, 2017 06:18 AM

When you see a lane closure on the highway, do you move over early or are you a last minute budger? Who's right and who's wrong?

You've been there before. You see the warning signs a half mile ahead that your lane is about to close. The other lane is backed up.

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What do you do?

Most people we talked with said they prefer to be polite and shift lanes as soon as possible.

Pay Taney: Say you're in the left lane, it's about to close and there is a line of cars in the right lane. Do you bypass the line of cars and budge at the end?

"No we're not those people," said Steve Gramiak and his wife.

"I don't like budgers!" Said Bonnie Spencer.

Well, apparently those "budgers" are actually doing the right thing!

We spoke with Driving Instructor Larry Scott with the Morgan School of Driving.

Taney: I am in the left lane that is about to close, you're saying I should keep going right up until the lane closes and then budge in?

Scott: Yes. If you get everyone further back who are just moving in a single one lane line, the amount of open road still available is not being used and it just slows down everything.

Study after study has shown, especially in a traffic back up, drivers in a lane that's about to close should wait until the last minute and then shuffle in, not beforehand.

It's called the zipper effect.

"The best way to get through there is to do the zipper effect one car at a time through," Scott Said.

Scott says there is one problem with that. "Drivers feel annoyed when someone comes up to the end and tries to get in and they block them, which causes a jam. Where instead if everyone worked together on that, more cars would get through faster. It would just be easier."

So experts say be a budger but also:

"Be nice," Scott says. "Everybody is trying to get through and get home."


Pat Taney

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