When Merging Into Traffic, Who Has the Right of Way?

3When Merging Into Traffic, Who Has the Right of Way?

Highways are among the safest roads we have. Although you can travel at a higher rate of speed than other roads, highways are generally designed with safety in mind. The most vulnerable places on highways are where vehicles enter the roadway. These areas allow cars to merge onto the road to join traffic that is already moving. If you have ever gotten onto a highway during rush hour, you know how difficult it can be to get into traffic that is already moving. Nobody wants to let you in, and you could even get into an accident or a road rage incident.


Merging Onto a Highway

A vehicle entering a highway generally must yield to a vehicle that is already traveling on that road. When you merge onto a two-lane highway, you must do so in a way that does not block the flow of traffic in either lane. North Carolina law states, “Each driver entering the defined merging area shall adjust their vehicle’s speed and lateral position to avoid collision with another vehicle, having due regard for the speed of other vehicles and the condition of the highway.” Vehicles that approach a merge area in their own lanes at the same time must alternate, yielding the right-of-way, starting with the vehicle at the furthest right position.


Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if the accident was my fault?”


Zipper Merge

Drivers need to understand the zipper merge, including when and how to perform it. The zipper merge is a maneuver that provides vehicles to alternate their merge positions into the roadway. One driver enters, then the next vehicle continues on the roadway, followed by another vehicle merging into the lane, and so on. Zipper merging is a relatively new term that describes the orderly merging onto lanes of highway traffic. The concept is required as part of driver education training for new drivers in North Carolina.traffic-1468345


What is a Dynamic Zipper Merge?

Drivers should always try to use the zipper merge technique when entering a highway where there is traffic. The dynamic zipper merge utilizes the technology to facilitate the zipper technique to help safely control traffic flow in specific construction areas. Sensors gather traffic information to control zipper merges ahead. Electronic signs provide drivers with instructions for merging based on immediate road conditions. Drivers should have a basic understanding of how zipper merges take place.


What Happens When Merging Results in an Accident?

Accidents can and do happen from time to time. One of the most common causes of an accident happens when one driver goes into the lane of another driver. Merging requires both drivers to participate in defensive driving. However, if an accident happens, you and your insurance company will need to know what happened and who caused the crash. You will need to know the exact positions of the vehicles and who was at fault. In North Carolina, you may only collect on a collision claim when you were not at all negligent in the crash. To win a claim, you will need to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident.


If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, we can help you seek compensation for your damages. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.






The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.




NCDOT: Dynamic Zipper Merge


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