Dear Heloise: I implore you to help educate drivers on the "zipper merge." With all the road construction going on around the country, we all would be so much better off if drivers learned about this.

— Diana C., via email

Diana C: I’d be happy to pass on this information. Readers, imagine this: A highway lane is closed up ahead with the requisite signs alerting you. Do you immediately move over, or do you wait until the lane closure is upon you? The zipper merge is the preferred move. Lower your speed but wait until you come upon the actual closure (cones, arrows, etc.), and then alternate with the vehicle next to you, like the teeth of a zipper, to become one lane.

This has been proven to reduce traffic backups and congestion, and it creates a feeling of justice and equity that no one is getting unfairly ahead of anyone else.

Next time there’s a lane closure, practice the zipper merge to save time and hassles.


Gracie, who is a cancer survivor, is the Pet of the Week. (Family photo)

Dear Readers: Kathy A. sent a picture of her rescued special girl, Gracie, who is a cancer survivor. To see Gracie and our other Pet Pals, visit Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Do you have a funny and furry friend you’d like to share? Email a picture and a description to Heloise@Heloise.com.

Dear Heloise: I recycle everything I can. If I cannot reuse a box, I use a box cutter and cut it or fold it until it fits in my recycle bin. I grew up with a mom who recycled/repurposed everything she could! "Waste not, want not" was one of the lessons she taught us. My trash bin is never full!

I loved your Mom's columns; love yours, too!

— Rachel R., San Antonio

Dear Readers: If your toothbrush is older than four months and if the bristles are visibly frayed or falling out, the American Dental Association recommends that you replace it. It’s also recommended that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day.

Dear Heloise: After applying lipstick, I blot the inside of my lips. This prevents lip color from getting on my teeth. I make a fish face and tap a piece of paper towel on the insides of my lips.

— Betty in Ohio

Dear Heloise: I live in an apartment with a very small closet. I have a space-saving and organizing hint. On a clothes hanger, I slid a key ring over the hook where I hang another hanger. This way I can hang a matching outfit such as a blouse and slacks together. Two items hung together saves room in my closet, and I have a coordinated outfit ready to go.

— Dee Dee N., Citrus Heights, Calif.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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