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Ask Trooper Steve: Why is a lane shift on I-4 slowing traffic?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

One News 6 viewer asked: “You mentioned a lane shift slowing eastbound traffic on I-4. Where is this and why is it slowing traffic down?”


With this question I know that at least my portion of viewers are dedicated and paying attention to all my complaining on air.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed an around the clock slow down on EB I-4 approaching SR-408 and I was trying to figure out why this was happening. Most of our construction that really affects the flow of traffic, stops during the daytime so I was confused on why a slowdown would occur if all the travel lanes were open.

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Curious about the area, I went out there and checked it out myself.

The second I traveled through this area I knew that what I had been preaching to you guys on air was actually a lot worse than I had originally thought. As I was traveling east on the I-4 approaching SR-408 I could see the brake lights begin up ahead.

As you’re traveling east the travel lanes shift quickly to the left and then back to the right. Throughout this area there is also a merge lane from SR-408.

What drivers are doing is approaching this area higher than the speed limit and not expecting the lane shift up ahead. In return drivers get on the brakes and a chain reaction occurs for about a quarter mile.

This chain reaction causes other ramps to slow down and upcoming traffic to get on the brakes. How do we stop this from occurring? Now I could give you all the tools but you’re the ones that’s going to need to implement this. First and foremost, when in our construction zones you must obey the speed limit.

They are lowered to prepare yourself for construction changes and shifts in the roadway. As you’re traveling at the speed limit maintain positive control of the steering wheel. As the lane shifts left maintain that control and steer into the curve of the roadway.

Try not to change lanes in these areas as other drivers are not expecting you to do so. Most importantly, eliminate every possible distraction. When you’re in these construction zones and the lanes are shifting you must be 100% in control of the vehicle and yourself. Point blank, there is nothing physically causing this slow down other than our fellow drivers.

Construction is taking place around the clock on our central Florida roads and we must continue to adapt to that. At the end of the day the only successful way to travel in these areas without causing issues is to dedicate yourself to being a safe driver


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