There is one thing all of us living and driving in Phnom Penh have in common; we all get stuck in traffic every day. Have you ever been driving home after work and there is a lane merging in for whatever reason (off ramp, construction site, etc.) and the guy in front of you rudely cuts in front of you when it was clearly your turn? Or was it your turn to begin with? There is a common courtesy practiced in places such as America called the Zipper Merge. What is that you ask? Well, it is a common courtesy driving maneuver, when 2 or more lanes of traffic are merging into one another, and the people take turns on who goes first. It’s a simple concept and not only is it easy to follow, but it also makes traffic move forward without delays, and there is actually a science to this.
In Cambodia, our traditions and daily lives are full of respectful ideas and concepts, but once 5pm strikes and everybody hits the road towards home, respect is clearly out the window, and it’s every man, woman, and child for himself. The result is gridlocked intersections, jammed streets, and families waiting for their loved ones to arrive home. If we just practiced this simple common courtesy, known as the “Zipper Merge”, we could all get home quicker and safer. I am calling on all drivers in Phnom Penh to take a look at this. We all have families to get home to, and you know time waits for no-one. We are all wasting our lives away stuck in traffic. We can make excuses and say it is caused by this, or by that, but ultimately…it is up to you. It is up to Us. It is up to everyone. We are all to blame for the traffic nightmare on the streets of Phnom Penh. The least we can do is have some common courtesy. Some respect for one another. We don’t need more laws. We need love, respect, and we need you to know and practice the “Zipper Merge.”
It’s about time we take turns.
Writer: Daryl Koschak (Assistant Director of Studies)