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Secretary of State educating drivers with a new law to take effect in 2020

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BELVIDERE (WREX) — Drivers learning the rules of the road are about to get a new lesson. A new law on teaching teens about a special merge goes into effect Jan. 1.

Before any driver hits the road, they need education.

"Its starts in the classroom and then that continues out in the cars with us as intrustors," said Drivers Edge Driving School Owner Tim Austin.

One thing students will have to learn next year in the classroom and in the car is the "zipper merge method." If a lane of traffic is blocked, like for construction or a crash, instead of drivers waiting for an opening to move into the free lane, they will alternate with drivers in the other lane to merge with traffic.

"It's a way to hopefully keep traffic moving a little bit smoother, a little bit quicker so there's not quite the back up of traffic in the traffic lanes," said Austin.

Starting Jan. 1, information on the "zipper merge method" must be in the Illinois Rules of the Road book.

"It will also be something that will be incorporated into the car to try to incorporate that in so we can teach them that safe method," said Austin.

"The more people that know about this information the more they are able to be defensive drivers and be aware of their surroundings and be able to learn and merge onto traffic correctly," said Illinois State Police Sgt. Delila Garcia.

Illinois State Trooper Sgt. Delila Garcia says merging safely can reduce tragedies like ones we see when people violate Scott's Law. A law that will soon be a required question on the drivers test.

"We're all about educating the public. We don't want to have to write citations. We would prefer that the Secretary of State have this information on there, they learn," said Sgt. Garcia.

"To keep our officers and also our emergency workers on the side of the road safe," said Austin.

Learning in the classroom before driving on the road.

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