How to Drive in a Way that Doesn’t Cause Traffic Jams, You Asshole
Hey, YOU! In the sports car from the ’90s with all the ‘z’s and ‘x’s in the name: You suck. I know you’re in a hurry, but so are the goddamned rest of us on this highway, and who are you to think you’re more important than the rest of us? In fact, there’s a 99% chance you’re not more important than me – I’m Donnybrook! When I’m en route, I’m normally borrowing the Popemobile or Air Force One. Compete with that!
Don’t get me wrong – I take no issue with fast driving. But there’s a time (when you’re a vampire) and place (on the Autobahn) to drive like that. When there are a ton of people on the road, you are actually screwing yourself by weaving in and out of traffic. Instead of getting ahead of the pack, you’re causing everyone (including yourself) to screech to a halt. So let’s make a pact.
We are going to stop tailgating*. This is the number one reason, in my humble opinion, that traffic jams happen. And I know – because I’m watching from Air Force One!
A few years ago, Japanese scientists recreated “shockwave” traffic jams. Have you ever seen Butterfly Effect? Me neither. But I would imagine that it features Ashton Kutcher tailgating like mad, and every time he touches his brakes (which he does more often, because he is closer to the car in front of him and therefore must react more quickly and more often), each car has to slam their brakes and this creates a ripple of complete lameness and stoppage.
Have you ever seen anyone in a traffic jam who is keeping a ridiculous distance from the next guy and going one really slow, constant speed? He is normally in an Oldsmobile or Buick, and he is probably named Uncle Bob. He is not crazy – in fact, this is the smartest guy in the world. He hangs out with your dad in the garage and was in Vietnam, and he understands traffic patterns. In fact, he is selfless, like Traffic Jesus – he is singlehandedly taking one for the team and stopping the traffic jam. If he keeps a distance, he is less likely to brake, and he will keep a constant speed, “eating traffic waves”. William Beatty is an electrical engineer who figured this out, but it doesn’t take more than common sense to figure this out. I did when I was stuck in traffic. But here’s my main point here:
Stop cutting off Uncle Bob! Uncle Bob is keeping his distance and absorbing the undulating waves of traffic, and is this how you thank him? According to William Beatty, letting people in ahead of you is insignificant and won’t set you back. So Uncle Bob is fine. But still! It’s the principal.
I’m gonna blow your mind here. Let’s all BE Uncle Bob. Is it a pact?
*not recommended, but the only acceptable time for tailgating is if, on a not-crowded road, someone is going incredibly slow in the fast lane. I mean. They kind of deserve it, right?!