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Transportation Science

Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams 882

Posted by Soulskill
from the earning-that-one-finger-salute dept.
BuzzSkyline writes "Traffic jams are minimized if a significant fraction of drivers break the rules by doing things like passing on the wrong side or changing lanes too close to an intersection. The insight comes from a cellular automata study published this month in the journal Physical Review E. In effect, people who disregard the rules help to break up the groups that form as rule-followers clump together. The risk of jamming is lower if all people obey the rules than if they all disobey them, according to the analysis, but jamming risk is lowest when about 40 percent of people drive like jerks."
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Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams

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  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:50AM (#28867471)

    especially on the Belt Parkway where people seem to slow down to 30mph to go over a bridge

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      At least 30mph is moving. Have you ever driven near/in/around Washington DC?
    • by sys.stdout.write (1551563) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:08PM (#28867849)

      especially on the Belt Parkway where people seem to slow down to 30mph to go over a bridge

      The rule only applies if SOME people break the rules, not every one of you hot-dog-eating-bastards.

      • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:21PM (#28868141)

        And it depends on which rules, and where. Not all rule-breaking helps, just those that encourage the flow of traffic.

        Personally, there's one rule I'd like ingrained in every driver's head: never match speeds with someone in the lane next to you. Pass, fall behind, whatever. Just don't sit there turning a two-lane road into what's effectively a one-lane road.

        • by moeinvt (851793) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:36PM (#28868409)

          Tell that to all of the A$$holes who suddenly feel the need to accelerate as you try to pass them! Maybe it's just an unconscious competitive thing for some people, but it happens all too frequently. These are definitely not the types of jerks who increase the flow of traffic. I've got my cruise control on, and am steadily approaching the car in front of me at a relative speed of 5-10 mph. I change lanes to pass and all of a sudden the relative rate of speed drops to '0'? Maybe my cruise control just stops working in the center or left lanes?

          • by fredjh (1602699) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:53PM (#28868817)
            Interesting post... I do that all the time, too. I use my cruise not just to maintain speed, but because I'm a leadfoot it helps keep me from getting tickets, and I see it all the time. I think some people are just jerks, but many people do it subconsciously... they'll actually slow when someone is behind them (not necessarily tailgating, as I avoid that), and speed up when you change lanes. It's just perception, as we've both come to the same conclusion by the same means.

            Other things that completely screw up traffic (besides the obvious grid-lockers and rubberneckers, even when someone is just changing a tire or getting a ticket):

            1. "hypermilers" who don't understand lights are timed for the speed limit, and if you don't get up to speed in a reasonable amount of time, you're just going to waste all that gas at red lights.

            2. During rush hour, the problem on "surface" streets is that lights can't be long enough to allow everyone to go through during the green light, so those people just sitting there when the light turns green are racking up the number of cars that are going to get stuck for an extra cycle... but the problem, as I see it, is people have largely stopped honking, so they'll just sit behind such an oblivious person and just wait. If people honked, we could get things moving again. It doesn't have to be a nasty lean on the horn, just a toot-toot.

            3. Cops... I like cops, I appreciate cops, I have cops in the family; it's not really the cops, it's the people who drop below the speed limit simply because one is nearby.

            A few other things that affect me daily: we have a number of locations where the right turn goes into a protected lane... so there are "keep moving" signs... nothing so infuriating as the people in front of you coming to a COMPLETE stop at a "keep moving" sign. In the same vein, there are a number of places with RIGHT turn arrows that are green when the cross traffic has the left turn... again, people come to a complete stop, and sometimes don't even continue moving at all, treating it as a right turn on red.

            And lately, the past year or so, I wouldn't necessarily call them "hypermilers" but so many people seem unwilling to even get up to the speed limit, let alone exceed it by a few miles per hour, as if you're going to get a ticket for 48 in a 45... I know the police aren't going to give me a ticket for 5 miles over, and I often get passed by cops when doing so.

            Whew. Nice to rant about it every once in awhile... "cathartic" experience.
            • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:09PM (#28869117)

              Like the guy a few posts up said, the people who irritate me the most are the people who sit in the fast and go the same speed as everyone in the other lanes. We've got a 4/5-lane highway with a speed limit of 65 running through town.

              Going home from work I'll see quite a bit of traffic in the right two lanes, a little less in the third lane, and hardly any in the left lane. Except the one jackass who's going the same speed as everyone in the other lanes and just wants his (her?) own lane. I have no problem running up on those people and sitting on their bumper until they get a clue.

              If you're going the same speed as people in the lane next to you, get in the lane next to you.

              The cop-drivers like you said are always good for a laugh. On the same 65mph highway I'll come up on a clump of cars and, sure enough, there's a cop leading the pack. These people might be going 5 or 10 mph below the speed limit, but no one wants to pass the cop. Assuming there's a lane open I always enjoy passing the clot at 10mph over everyone else and leaving them wondering why the cop isn't pulling me over.

              I saw this once in my rearview, a cop pulled on the onramp and everyone behind him slowed to match his speed (which was lower than the limit). I was the last car in front of him and for the next several miles until we were out of view I just watched the headlights in the mirror get farther and farther back, not a single person passed him. There was a miles-wide gap between myself and the cars in front of me, and the cop.

              Yeah, we should have a daily traffic thread to get this out.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by MaXintosh (159753)

              but so many people seem unwilling to even get up to the speed limit, let alone exceed it by a few miles per hour, as if you're going to get a ticket for 48 in a 45...

              Tell that to my officemate, who got a ticket for doing 48 in a 45 zone. It's utter BS, but they do give tickets.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by orgelspieler (865795)

              lights are timed for the speed limit

              Where do you live that the lights are timed for the speed limit? Around the Houston area they certainly aren't. Your probability for catching a green wave does not increase with proximity to the speed limit. Hell, in some neighborhoods all the lights have car sensors rather than timers.

              As for coasting to a stop at a red light, that's not "hypermiling," it's just common sense. I can't count the number of times I've had to stop because somebody gunned past me on the way to a red light, only to have to stop, w

            • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:19PM (#28871539) Homepage Journal

              1. "hypermilers" who don't understand lights are timed for the speed limit, and if you don't get up to speed in a reasonable amount of time, you're just going to waste all that gas at red lights.

              2. During rush hour, the problem on "surface" streets is that lights can't be long enough to allow everyone to go through during the green light, so those people just sitting there when the light turns green are racking up the number of cars that are going to get stuck for an extra cycle... but the problem, as I see it, is people have largely stopped honking, so they'll just sit behind such an oblivious person and just wait. If people honked, we could get things moving again. It doesn't have to be a nasty lean on the horn, just a toot-toot.

              And lately, the past year or so, I wouldn't necessarily call them "hypermilers" but so many people seem unwilling to even get up to the speed limit, let alone exceed it by a few miles per hour, as if you're going to get a ticket for 48 in a 45... I know the police aren't going to give me a ticket for 5 miles over, and I often get passed by cops when doing so.

              He's a thing I do: When the light in front of me turns red, I get my foot off the gas, and I let the car decelerate towards the red light.
              When I'm in the zone, I pretty much don't stop at red lights because they have the time to turn back to green before I get to them.

              Now, here's the problem with that: The masses of idiots who are in a fucking hurry to go park on the red. They cut me off, and then I have to stop behind them while I wait for them to start up again when the light turns green. Some of them are salvageable, as after seeing me do my thing for a few lights they understand the principle and start laying off the gas when they see the next red, some are not, and insist on cutting me off and, I dunno... win the street race going on in their demented little heads. First one wasting gas and brake lining wins! Woo!

              Anyway, leadfoot, remember that red lights mean "stop accelerating", not "this is the finish line to the race, quick, get here before anybody else" :)

          • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:01PM (#28868953) Homepage Journal

            I think this may be hardwired behaviour, NOT due to just being a competitive asshole. It is essentially herd behaviour -- stick with the herd, don't get left behind for the predators to notice.

            I've noticed my neighbour, who has no push-and-shove in her at all and is very much a "herd animal", will drive faster to "keep up with" a car in the next lane, AND DOES NOT REALISE SHE IS DOING IT. She will speed up by as much as 10mph to "keep up" and still doesn't notice she's done so.

            Me, I'm a predator by nature, and I find that my natural response is to get AWAY from the car in the next lane, to get ahead of or behind them, but never to travel side by side.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by joib (70841)


              Me, I'm a predator by nature

              Well I'm not just any predator - I'm a frickin' T-Rex! There. Beat that! [*]

              [*] Note: Ownership of a wolf moon t-shirt is considered cheating

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Personally, there's one rule I'd like ingrained in every driver's head: never match speeds with someone in the lane next to you

          I think that's a pipe dream. You know what rule I want to beat into every driver in every flyover state?

          (rage bubbling just thinking about it)

          DON'T FUCKING GO SLOWER THAN THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC IF YOU'RE IN THE PASSING LANE

          I'd be happy if they learned that. If you find yourself in the left lane, and the traffic in the right lane is going faster, do one of a few things
          -learn to use the gas pedal
          -get into the right lane as soon as possible
          -find the nearest cliff and drive off of it
          -wait for me to ram y

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Ditto on the D.C. beltway. I don't understand people who slowdown for bridges or curves. It's not going to kill you to take the curve at 65mph. That's why the sign says 65 - because it was designed for high-speed travel. (duh)

      By slowing-down you impede the flow of traffic and create a chain of cars behind you. Show some consideration. (sigh). This is why I leave home at 5 a.m. Most of the idiots don't come-out until after 6:30. Leaving early helps me to beat them.

      Aside-

      Another cure for traffic ja

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by philipgar (595691)
        20-lane roads won't really solve the problem, as now you end up with the left few lanes having the long-distance drivers, and the right lanes being a mess of cars trying to change lanes and get over to their exits. How many times have you seen cars fly across 3 lanes of traffic to get to an exit? Now imagine cars trying this across 5 or 10 or even 20 lanes. Now you need far more road to change lanes, and now you'll get stuck with multi-lane traffic accidents. I suppose traffic can still move around the
    • Welcome to Mexico City, where people offer "assertive driving" seminars and workshops

  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:53AM (#28867545) Homepage Journal

    Of course rude drivers ease congestion. When they kill someone because of their stupidity, not only will that person not drive again, but they'll probably lose their license, so they won't either!

    • by Calithulu (1487963) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:58AM (#28867627)
      No kidding. I have to wonder if they bothered to look at the number of accidents caused when someone did something stupid. TFA doesn't mention accidents at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Actually until they cause an accident then they cause even more congestion.

        I used to see that all the time on 69 in Detroit. get jammed up, idiots start driving the shoulder and cause an accident, now we are jammed up further.

      I love the morons on the motorcycles lane splitting and then getting creamed.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        And don't forget that the shoulders are supposed to be available for emergency workers should there be a serious accident. The emergency crews can use the shoulder to get to the problem and possibly to move some of the stuck cars to get at the problem point if need be.

        Filling the shoulder with people driving or worse having an accident causes so many problems.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        In some places, lane splitting is legal [wikipedia.org].
        • by Ioldanach (88584) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:48PM (#28868713)

          In some places, lane splitting is legal.

          That doesn't mean its wise or safe. Don't go lane splitting on your motorcycle and then get pissed that someone who couldn't see you because you're moving at twice the speed of traffic tried to change lanes and you wrecked. You were engaging in an unsafe, if legal, maneuver.

          • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:20PM (#28869347)

            I think the jury is still out on whether its safe or not - and most evidence so far suggests its actually safer. I know if traffic is crawling along it seems safe enough to me - the biggest problem is being cut off by arse holes who are pissed off you're filtering through traffic despite the fact they are sitting there.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_splitting#Relevant_research [wikipedia.org]

            I know in the UK you can only do it when traffic is flowing below a certain speed, and that they ask you questions about it if you are getting a regular drivers license (yes - hard to believe they'd want drivers of cars to be aware of motorcycles) - of course license requirements there are much much more stringent than they are in the USA.

            Thing is - on a hot day sitting on a hot bike in full gear (its like wearing your fur coat to the beach...) not moving can be really miserable. It can contribute to fatigue, bike failure - all kinds of stuff that I would figure would be more dangerous to traffic than filtering.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bill_kress (99356)

            Also means that people who get angry at lane splitters are often inappropriatly righteous feeling and ignorant.

            I was surprised to have a motorcycle cop explain (traffic school) that it was not only legal, but often required in LA because motorcycles are often air-cooled and physically cannot sit still in a traffic jam at idle in 100 degree weather without overheating.

    • By the way, "rude drivers" != drivers who don't obey the law. The law usually doesn't take into account abnormal driving conditions, such as in heavy rush-hour traffic or when there's an accident. As a simple example, the minimum speed on an interstate might be 40 MPH. If someone is driving slower due to heavy rain, they're not being rude, they're being safe. Likewise, someone who is driving 55 MPH in heavy traffic volume during rush hour might be technically following the law, but being extremely dange

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:54AM (#28867573)

    The problem of cars "clumping" is due to the "rule abiding" drivers following each other too closely. This is in fact not rule abiding.

    A reasonable space must be left between each car to provide enough extra slack to handle unexpected events like braking and slowing. When people follow too closely, this slack is all but eliminated thus causing each unexpected event's effect to become magnified. A quick tap of the brakes causes a chain reaction resulting in a traffic jam. Leaving enough space to handle an unexpected event provides each driver extra time to react.

    In addition, since the additional slack allows for longer reaction times, a faster average speed can be achieved. Bob Dobbs would be so proud.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:01PM (#28867709)

      The problem of cars "clumping" is due to the "rule abiding" drivers following each other too closely. This is in fact not rule abiding.

      And in fact that behavior is largely caused by the people who break the rules as defined by this study. So, the 40% who break the rules to make traffic flow better cause the other people to drive in such a manner so as to make the traffic problem worse in such a way as that behavior by the 40% fixes.

    • by plague3106 (71849)

      The problem of cars "clumping" is due to the "rule abiding" drivers following each other too closely. This is in fact not rule abiding.

      I didn't see anywhere in the study that said the rule abiding drivers were following too closely. Given that the simulation had most following the rules, I'd say that they were in fact NOT following too close... but because they all drive similarly they are "grouped" together. You can see this after a light... if everyone more or less accelerates at the same rate and then

    • by IsoRashi (556454)
      Further, the study was designed to simulate people walking and had built-in pauses where entities would stop (to tie a shoelace or talk or whatever). How often do you see that sort of behavior on the highway?
    • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:18PM (#28868079)

      That whole "don't follow so close" thing works great, until you have a significant amount of merging going on. When merges occur drivers either need to slow down to maintain distance or start driving closer (or, oftentimes both...). It'd be nice if our roads actually allowed us to drive like that. Certainly in DC they don't, maybe other places arn't as bad.

    • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:44PM (#28868605) Homepage Journal

      See http://trafficwaves.org/trafexp.html [trafficwaves.org] for a model of tailgating.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dcollins (135727)

      The cry "Correlation != causation" is now the official Slashdot signal for someone who doesn't know what they're talking about, and probably didn't read the article.

      (1) This research is done on a computer model of each possible behavior. It's a designed experiment. Neil A. Weiss, Introductory Statistics p. 22: "In a designed experiment, researchers impose treatments and controls and then observe charactersitics and take measurements. Observational studies can reveal only association, whereas designed expe

  • Not Rude in My Book! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Breaking the rules" is not rude behavior on the road, as far as I'm concerned. Most of the problems on our highways are caused by people driving 'below' the rules. Some examples are failing to accelerate to highway speed on the onramp, driving in the 'passing' lane when you aren't passing anyone, and my personal least favorite, not being ready to go when the light turns green at a crowded rush hour intersection. If no-one made these key mistakes our highways would probably be able to accomodate 20% more

    • Oh, You must like in Colorado. You just described MANY of the drivers here. The one that you missed is when they drive fast to get to the front of the line AND THEN slow down to the same speed.

      I really think that all states should require (and ENFORCE) that the left lane be used ONLY for passing. When I was growing up Wisc did that and enforced it and it made driving enjoyable. OTH, Illinois did not and they allways had issues.
  • Article also says to always obey the 3 second rule. This doesn't make sense. In heavy traffic most folks are 1/2 to one second apart. If you spread them 3 seconds apart, throughput goes down by a factor of between three and six. Too bad, the original research is impressive and spot on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dbet (1607261)
      It's not that throughput is cut down, it's that if you leave that much space, someone will move into it. In rush hour, it's IMPOSSIBLE to maintain more than a 2-3 car distance at any speed, because someone will immediately occupy a 5-8 car distance the moment it is created.
    • by Hatta (162192) *

      If you leave enough room, there's buffer space between you and the other cars. You can brake a little if you need to, and get back up to speed without affecting the car behind you. If everyone is packed together, any unexpected move you make will make the guy behind you brake, which will cause the guy behind him to brake, etc., etc..

      In fact, you can prevent and even stop traffic jams by leaving enough space between you and the people in front of you. If you're in stop and go traffic, leave enough room th

  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by VorpalRodent (964940) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:00PM (#28867677)
    Vindication at last! I can now provide proof to my wife that my driving style has a purpose, and that purpose is for the greater good of mankind.
  • by Faizdog (243703) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:00PM (#28867681)

    IMO, a lot of problems could be avoided if people respected all the rules of the road, and not just the official ones. For example, I respect anyone's right to drive at whatever speed they feel comfortable with. If that's at, above or below the speed limit I don't care. However, no matter how fast you're going, if there's someone behind you who wishes to go faster, move over to the right. It's not your job to set speed limits, the cops do that, and they exercise discretion too depending on the traffic and time of the day.

    What gets me really frustrated is people in the left lane, going at or slightly below the speed limit, with a LONG line behind them. It's situations like these that cause problems, as people who wish to go faster try to get around the slowpokes.

    In my opinion, if people simply moved over for a faster car, kept the left lane open for passing/faster traffic, then the vast majority of weaving cars and "jerks" on the highways would disappear.

    It's a big peeve of mine. I drive faster than the speed limit, I'll admit it. If I'm in the wrong, the cops will pull me over. However, get out of the left lane if you're going slow and there's 10 cars tailgating behind you!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Faizdog (243703)

      On a related note, my other biggest pet peeve is the slow people who speed up when they see you trying to pass them so that you can't, and then slow down again.

      • by TrevorB (57780) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:17PM (#28868033) Homepage

        I know I slow down when people tailgate me very badly (within a meter), and speed up again when they change lanes. It's a guilty pleasure.

        Honestly, it's the only safe thing to me do. If I have someone driving that close behind me I'll need more time to brake if something happens up ahead, to prevent the person behind me ramming into me.

        Give me space, and we'll go a nice fast speed. I'll be happy to let you pass me and will move to the right. Ride my ass and expect to go under the limit.

        • by La_Boca (201988) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:28PM (#28868271) Journal

          the safe thing to do is you should have already switched lanes (if you're in the left that is) by the time they got to you if you see them coming up.

          • by RobBebop (947356) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:54PM (#28868833) Homepage Journal

            the safe thing to do is you should have already switched lanes (if you're in the left that is) by the time they got to you if you see them coming up.

            This isn't always possible. Often, there are people in the right hand lane going 70-75 mph and passing the speed limiters in the left lane who are traveling 65 mph. Just because you want to go 85 mph doesn't mean the slower motorists should automatically bow to your speedy abilities. This would, in my opinion, mean that *you* are driving like an asshole.

            This is *most* evident when two tractor trailers are passing each other on a major two or three lane highway. But basic congestion causes it too... and whenever you drive like an asshole when there is already congestion... you are only going to make it worse.

            Corollary: I've always thought cops should actively seek to give tickets to motorists who get passed on the left by drivers who are traveling at a legal speed limit. That behavior is just a dangerous as the asshole who weaves in and out of traffic. So, slow drivers in right-hand and middle lanes are assholes, too.

    • by sirket (60694)

      This is actually a law in a lot of states. The actual wording varies from "Left lane is for passing only" to "you can be in the left lane but must not impede faster traffic" to "you can be in the left lane, but must be driving at the speed limit and should not impede faster traffic."

    • by Radical Moderate (563286) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:15PM (#28869221)
      I'm with you there, I used to like to speed. Now I like to cruise in the slow lane, and I have the opposite peeve: Asshats who refuse to use the two empty lanes on my left to pass, and ride my frickin bumper. I'll give em a minute, then the foot comes off the gas. Had one guy wait until we got down to 35 before he passed me. So sorry, is changing lanes really that hard?
  • Four words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by consonant (896763)

    Tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org]. Seriously, what's the deal with 'studies' like this even being done?

    In any system that requires order, a certain amount of entropy is desirable. But when the factors contributing to this entropy are 'given permission' to increase, then the system breaks down into complete chaos.

    Isn't that just great? Now jerkwad drivers can justify themselves quoting this study: "But I was just trying to be the 40% of helpful guys!"

  • What do these jerks do to the incidence of accidents?

    I'd rather continue to wait than significantly increase my chances of being involved in a collision.

    (No, I haven't read the article yet.)

  • Empirical Evidence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@[ ]-x.com ['ian' in gap]> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:04PM (#28867751) Homepage
    I live in Boston, so I have empirical evidence that if 40% people drive like assholes, you still get plenty of traffic jams. Sorry, your model must be broken.
  • The first thing that came to mind for me was, "what makes a hardware driver rude?" This is Slashdot, afterall...
  • by pawsa (92107) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:09PM (#28867873) Homepage
    As somebody has already mentioned in the comment on PhysicsCentral, a realistic model should take into account the dependence between the probability of causing an accident resulting in a traffic jam and the driving style. I could read only the abstract. If the parameter q is the only parameter used, it is not entirely surprising that they got the results they got. In such a model, the rule-obeying drivers driving in the same direction stick together. Rule non-obedience makes the fluid more compressible. Shock waves in compressible fluids appears at higher velocities. It is surely nice their model agrees with the intuition. I would not call such a simplified model realistic, though.
  • I've found this depends very much on the type of "illegal" behavior. In general, it seems to depend if the type of illegal behavior is sensible or stupid. Passing on the shoulder to make a right turn isn't rude; it's an indication that a turn lane should be present. Passing on the right, while dangerous, helps get around somebody else who was rude (and probably illegal) in parking in the passing lane. Those all make sense.

    There's a lot of other behavior that is rude and doesn't help congestion. For in

  • I hate people (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@gmail . c om> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:13PM (#28867949) Homepage Journal

    The other day, a person was changing their tire on the shoulder of the road facing the opposite direction (was a 4-lane road, 2 lanes in each direction, separated by a 20 foot or so median) and traffic on my side of the road came to a halt. Once I made it to the front of the line of traffic, in the lane (going the opposite direction) nearest the tire-changer, a car in the lane next to me and slightly ahead of me was gawking at the scene so hard they started drifting HARD into my lane. They were completely mesmerized by someone changing a frigging tire. To the point that they weren't even conscious that they were still driving a car.

    I swear I don't get it. I had to blare my horn at them to get them to get back over into their lane, and they had the temerity to flip me off! Luckily for me, I drive a large truck and was able to pull in front of them at the next light where I stopped, put on my hazards, drug them from their car and threw them into traffic. No, of course I didn't. However, it's interesting how rage-filled we people get in traffic. I am trying to get it under control, but cannot abide selfish, stupid unaware drivers. I hate them with a burning passion.

  • I wrote a traffic simulaton in college, and it only worked (i.e. didn't jam up) when there was a wide variety of driver behaviours - preferred separaton distance, preferred speed, and slow-down-or-change-lane factor I think were the main attributes that I used. It wasn't sophisticated enough to take laws or highway code into account, but it was just a bunch of Pascal code running on a rickety old Pr1me.

  • Nothing frustrates me more than incompetence on the road. I deal with it swiftly, and with great justice!
  • The biggest thing I've noticed since I moved out here is that Californians (the Bay Area, to be specific, I understand LA is another world) have awful lane discipline.

    I wish I had a dime for everytime I've been on 101 and there are 4 cars in front of me all going 65 (the limit) with nothing in front of them. Nobody seems to understand that the passing lane is for passing. As a result, you get trapped behind these rolling roadblocks of cars going at or below the limit. This is not only more jam-prone, it's

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dynedain (141758)

      I wish I had a dime for everytime I've been on 101 and there are 4 cars in front of me all going 65 (the limit) with nothing in front of them. Nobody seems to understand that the passing lane is for passing.

      As someone living in CA, I agree that it's a nuisance (San Diego seems to be much better about this than LA), however, the left lane is NOT a passing lane in CA as it is in other states. All lanes of traffic are free for general travel, and it is expected that faster traffic moves left. In some states it

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:21PM (#28868123) Homepage

    And they don't rubber-neck. They don't break down. They don't get pulled over for speeding tickets,

  • by bjdevil66 (583941) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:05PM (#28873515)

    Here in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area, we have dozens of fixed and mobile speed cameras on our state highways. (There is currently a drive to ban them - go to camerafraud.com to learn more about their drive - but that's another story). A big part of the pro-camera argument coming from the vendors (and the Highway Patrol - called DPS in Arizona) is that the cameras significantly improve traffic flow and make the roads "smoother and more efficient" for drivers, and this study flies in the face of this oft-preached philosophy.

    I'm one of those "jerk drivers" this study was talking about, and my anecdotal experience has been that since the cameras were installed and turned on last November, the drivers now will not move over and let other drivers by (this behavior suddenly appeared the week of the installation, so there's strong correlation between the two events.) Whether it is because of speed camera fear, pride, revenge-driven anger at speeders, or gadget-induced ignorance of the drivers around them (cell phones, texting, etc.), they are now clogging ALL lanes at cruise control like speeds. (In many cases I have seen these drivers taking advantage of their "smooth" time by choose to text or call other people or do some other menial (and dangerous) task while being oblivious of the rolling traffic jam that is forming behind them.)

    When I can finally get past these drivers and go around them at 15+ over the ridiculously low 55 or 65 MPH speed limits they are rolling along at (keep in mind that these are speed limits on newer, modern, wide, and smooth 10+ lane highways), it breaks these clogs up for various reasons. Sometimes the slow drivers realize that they are a problem and move over. At other times, other drivers are encouraged to speed up and go around the slower drivers. Either way, the traffic cesspool that forms due to one or two "law abiding citizens" that don't move out of the way is broken up - by me, a "jerk" driver.

    So, if this study is correct, and speed cameras continue to go up everywhere, and license plates are tracked in order to enforce speeds EVERYWHERE, traffic is going to suffer greatly in Arizona, unless us "jerks" keep it moving more efficiently.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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