Correct behavior in traffic jams
Jumping in columns doesn't help – with one exception

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Many drivers try to get through highway traffic jams more quickly by changing lanes frequently. However, the hoped-for time gain usually does not materialize. But there is one exception.

With the upcoming Easter holidays, the car travel season begins again in Germany, which will often cause long traffic jams on the motorways in the next few weeks and months. When traffic comes to a standstill, many drivers try to get through more quickly by changing lanes several times. However, the ADAC traffic club points out that these maneuvers usually have no effect. Even if your lane ends because of a construction site, for example, the zipper method shouldn't make much of a difference.

For fear of not being able to get into the other lane at the end of their own lane, many drivers change lanes several hundred meters before the narrowing. This is not only wrong, but also dangerous: Depending on the traffic density, the end of the traffic jam can move further back. Abrupt lane changes also increase the risk of accidents. That's why you should only merge at the end of your own lane. Drivers in the continuing lane must give those merging into the lane the opportunity to merge easily.

Situation in which change can make sense

But there is also a typical traffic jam situation in which it can make sense to change to the left lane: If a queue of trucks forms in the right lane that extends further back than the traffic in the other lanes.

In addition, the traffic club points out that all road users are obliged to immediately form an emergency lane in the event of a traffic jam. This must be done when traffic is at a standstill and not just when the emergency services arrive with flashing lights. Anyone in the left lane must move to the left. Everyone else goes to the right.

If there is not enough space to create an emergency lane in construction zones due to narrow lanes, staggered driving with a larger distance is recommended. In an emergency, this means you can move to the right lane and keep the left lane clear for emergency services.


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