It's common for drivers to politely signal in and merge in the middle when merging into a lane of traffic.Some people consider it an unwritten rule of ethical driving, and that waiting to merge until the last minute is downright rude.

But the Washington State Department of Transportation is suggesting that there's a better way to merge in order to ease congestion in light of the Interstate 90 traffic jams last week.

In an interview with KUOW, WSDOT's Travis Phelps states that the best way to merge is to drive right up to the closure before merging over, and that drivers in the open traffic lanes should yield to these late-merging drivers.

Related: KUOW interview with WSDOT's Travis Phelps

There can be the weird idea that goes through people's head that, 'Those people are cheating, they're cutting in line.' Well, it actually helps traffic flow if you can let folks in. Play nice with the other person, let them in. Treat traffic like a team sport, Phelps said in the interview.

Merging in the middle can create a small choke point, Phelps said. He suggests that waiting until the last moment to 'zipper merge' will help lessen backups and keep traffic flowing.

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