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TDOT SmartWay

Merge Left

In Tennessee, we know we can always make things better.  That's why we have a new way to travel through our interstate highway work zones to improve flow and safety:  MERGE LEFT and MERGE EARLY.  Click here to download the Merge Left Brochure.

Here's 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. Begin to merge back into all traffic lanes.

A few important things to remember:

  • You must have completed your merge when you reach the sign that reads, "Do Not Pass In Right Lane" or you can be ticketed, 1500 feet before the lane closure
  • 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 which also increase delays and perhaps also 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.