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Friday, July 29, 2016

Beating Traffic Jams

Traffic Waves

I try to keep an even pace when I am driving on the freeway. It doesn't always work. Sometimes forces conspire to bring the entire world to a halt. Situations like that used to drive me nuts, I couldn't understand what was wrong with people, why weren't they all driving like maniacs like me? If you would just put your foot into it we could get going and get out of here. Of course, it doesn't work like that.
    I have noticed a couple of things while driving on Highway 26 during rush hour. The left hand lane (the 'fast' lane) attracts those who will leap ahead at the slightest opportunity and then jam on their brakes when they run into a clog. People in the next to fast lane maintain a more even pace that is much calmer and does not deliver as much wear and tear to the car. Both lanes travel at about the same rate. If two cars start evenly in the two lanes, one will soon pull ahead for a moment, but then will run into a jam and the car in the slower lane will overtake them. Then the jam will evaporate and the fast lane will take off and the car in the left lane will once again retake the lead, momentarily. By the time they get to the end neither one will be more than a few seconds ahead of the other.
    Another thing I have noticed is that jams generally seem to be caused by exit ramps filling up. Even if they aren't full, people start slowing down before they get to them, which causes people behind them to slow down. So it isn't that the freeway doesn't have the capacity, it's the exit ramps that can't handle to traffic that is using them.

More about traffic jams from the video maker here.

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