Understanding Traffic Jams

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One of the most puzzling and annoying things we experience as drivers is traffic jams. It’s hard to understand how one minute traffic is moving quickly and then then comes to a sudden halt seconds later. Today we will discuss the reasons why.

What causes traffic jams?

Admittedly, construction and accidents are obvious culprits that cause traffic jams, but what about the ones that seem to happen for no reason? It basically comes down to physics and impatient drivers. A physicist at a Michigan university states that “It’s the science of complexity. In large group dynamics, special things happen because each individual is trying to maximize their own benefit.”

In combination with heavily congested roads, delayed reactions mixed with tunnel vision will swiftly slow down traffic. When a driver is travelling too slowly for the individual behind them, that individual might get frustrated and quickly switch lanes in order to pass. This causes the driver they cut in front of to abruptly slow down to avoid collision. Next, the person behind that person has to slow down and the cycle continues down the line.

This domino effect causes one lane of traffic to slow down. Drivers who are stuck in this lane get frustrated and start darting into the fast moving lane. Soon, the faster moving lanes start slowing down due to people cutting in and out of lanes and eventually all lanes are slowed down. People who tailgate, and people who text while driving readily contribute to this problem.

So for a better driving experience, leave safe following distances, and pay attention to the road. If everyone works to drive at a consistent pace, we can avoid unnecessary traffic jams. To learn more about safe driving, or to schedule a fast and affordable repair for your vehicle, contact us today or visit our shop!