LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - According to AAA, more than 680,000 people in the Palmetto State are expected to travel this Fourth of July holiday and that could lead to traffic jams.
Lance Corporal David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said there is a way to cut down on traffic. You just have to know the rules of the road.
Recently, we rode along with Trooper Jones in Lexington County. He said, after seeing the bumper-to-bumper traffic, he realized the problem -- people were not merging correctly.
While he was getting his haircut, Trooper Jones decided to ask people at the salon if they knew what a zip merger is. When you watch the video, most people did not know the answer.
Whether you are coming or going, yellow merging signs are near construction zones.
"A lot of people don't realize that the merging lane needs to be full of traffic that way you don't have those large-scale backups," said Trooper Jones.
The law states the answer to heavy traffic at a merging point is what’s known as a "zip merger."
It's called that because, like the teeth of a zipper, one car from each lane is supposed to alternate — left lane, right lane, left lane — and the two lanes become one.
"When you look at some of these construction sites and we see a merger, and we see the non-merging lane backed up five or six miles but there is no traffic in that merging lane,” Trooper Jones explained, “if we can get people in that merging lane, that would create half the back up and, if it flowed efficiently, you wouldn't be waiting an hour."
SCHP uses the zip merger on gamedays around Williams-Brice Stadium. According to Trooper Jones, the zip merger uses every lane until the merging point to keep traffic from backing up onto I-77.
“What we see is people getting upset after they have waited an hour and they feel like someone passes them in line to get over,” Trooper Jones said, “but the reality is that study after study shows the people going to the front of the line are actually the ones in the right."