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Merge Left

In 2012, TDOT launched a campaign to improve travel flow and safety and to inform motorists traveling through interstate highway work zones:  MERGE LEFT and MERGE EARLY. photo of merge left traffic sign

Click here to download the Merge Left Brochure.

How Merge Left works:

  1. At the very first highway sign advising of an upcoming work zone, begin merging to the left lane as quickly as possible. Do not try to gain position by speeding ahead in the right lane.
  2. Get in single file with all other vehicles in the left lane.
  3. Stay in single file until you are through the work zone.
  4. After the work zone, begin to merge back into all traffic lanes.

Important things to remember:diagram of merge left procedures

  • You must have completed your merge when you reach the sign that reads "Do Not Pass In Right Lane," 1500 feet before the lane closure, or you can be ticketed.
  • For every second that one car is forced to slow or stop for a last-chance merger, the entire line of traffic behind it gets delayed multiple times over.
  • Collisions can result for a last-chance maneuver, which also increases delays and could result in injury or death.
  • A late merger can be ticketed by a Tennessee State Trooper or other law enforcement officer for violation of the No Passing Zone.
  • You may also be ticketed for following too closely, speeding, failure to obey a required traffic control device or failure to use lanes properly.

NOTE: It is possible for traffic to be directed to Merge Right depending on roadway and work zone conditions. For Merge Right, the same laws and standards apply, but in the opposite lane (right instead of left). TDOT asks drivers to use caution, reduce speed and be alert to changing traffic conditions in work zones across the state.