First responders remind drivers about the importance of zip merging


CENTRAL ILLINOIS,–Construction and traffic are causing issues for drivers near Route 24 in Washington and the McCluggage Bridge connecting Peoria and East Peoria.

Many drivers think when someone continues to drive up a lane and then merges into traffic, they’re being aggressive drivers and are doing the wrong thing.

When in reality, police want to remind people that zip merging improves safety for everyone on the road and actually lessens the amount of traffic.

“This new method actually makes everyone work together and we’re all getting there the same time. And like I said, it’s possibly reducing the congestion 40%, meaning that traffic could get quicker,” said Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff John Shallenberger.

The longer the traffic is backed up, the higher the risk of rear-end crashes.

While some drivers might not like seeing other cars pass them in another lane, having cars in both lanes decreases crashes and helps traffic flow smoothly.

“We wanna get these roads repaired so they are safer with that, but during that time where it is getting repaired we need to work together and get through here safely. Hopefully with these different methods, that will help out,” Deputy Sheriff John Shallenberger said.

Quinten Bradley works in Peoria and sees the issues drivers cause when they don’t zip merge.

“It seems the people who are trying to merge like to come to a stop and then get in where they can, instead of everyone filtering in together which causes more congestion,” Bradley said.

Bradley said if more drivers merged correctly, they would be safer and get to where they need to go faster.

“I think if everyone did it the way it’s supposed to be done, it would keep traffic moving a little better,” Bradley said.

Deputy Sheriff Shallenberger says since construction has started in East Peoria, he’s seen more crashes.

“The traffic is actually very up with everyone merging, we have seen more crashes, we’re trying to make sure everyone goes through here safely,” Shallenberger said.

In July of this year, Gov. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 2038 which not only strengthens Scott’s Law, but also requires the Secretary of State to provide information on zip merging in the “Rules of the Road” publication.

Zip merging training will begin next year.

The main points of the merging technique is to keep drivers safe and lessen the congestion of traffic.

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