How not to get stuck in traffic


Originally published at:


Fucking humans making a mess of things, again.


Here’s the cool part.

The rest (which, surprise, doesn’t include any advice about avoiding traffic) you already know, except about the sponsor, Toyota®’s new something something.


Or ride your bike instead. It saves you money and makes you fit. On distances less than 5 miles, it’s even faster in most cases.


Still wish there was a solution for drivers (like in Los Angeles) who anchor themselves in the left lane despite not being able to keep up with traffic flow. Signage asking for slower traffic to keep right does not deter this behavior at all.




Uh, live somewhere else, like, where ‘traffic jams’ are six cars at an intersection?


And certainly, if we can help reduce traffic and commute times, everyone would be in a much better mood! I’d like to thank Arby’s for sponsoring my comment!


In college one of my classes had us do a quick software model of cars driving in a circle to figure out what density you start getting traffic jams at without bottlenecks. It was actually a neat little exercise.

Cars will never carry as much traffic as densely as bikes, trains, buses, and feet. But self-driving connected cars could get us a whole lot closer in 20-30 years, if we let them.


There are 4 billion hours of travel delays in America each year contributing to pollution, fossil fuel waste and costing us all money.


Reducing congestion allows cars to travel faster overall. If nobody changed their behavior as a result, there would be a decrease in pollution from fewer cars breaking and idling.

But people do change their behavior. People make decisions about where to live, work, shop, etc. based on commute times, not commute distances. So in general, people react to the ability to travel faster by traveling longer distances, keeping their commute times the same. This leads to more pollution, not less.


Actually, self-driving cars will probably make things much worse, because they’ll open up a whole new set of driving behaviours, making car journeys far more attractive, both for those who already commute by car, and for segments of the population who currently can’t. Here’s a fascinating study of the likely impacts:


Didn’t reach the end of the clip, because the irritation caused by the background ‘music’ won out.


Stop watching at 3:20 because that is when the useful information stops and the Toyota advertising starts.

I wonder about the cognitive dissonance of having the statement that having more people use public transit is good immediately followed by advertising from a car manufacturer.


Not sure where the dissonance is. Public vehicles have to be manufactured as well.


I’m sure that they do make public transit vehicles. But the ad is for a personal vehicle.


All fine and good but if you leave a “buffer” between you and the car in front of you as the video suggests, other drivers will see that as an open space to cut into.


So? Better that then having them trying to cut in anyway, and they brake, and you brake, and the guy behind you brakes…

Instead you just take your foot off the gas, re-establish the gap, and traffic continues moving at a good pace, since nobody has had to brake.


Sadly, in my neck of the woods the following happens without fail: (1) Allow a gap to open between you and the car in front of you; (2) another car inserts itself into the gap; (3) back to (1). The trouble is that by slowing down each round, you keep getting pushed further and further back in the queue.


I would never get stuck in traffic if everyone would just



You’re still moving forward at a consistent (if slow) speed, which tends to be faster than stop-and-go and saves fuel, brakes, and nerves. It also improves the flow of traffic behind you.