Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Traffic

edited November -1 in The Show
So... what do you think about the state of our roadways today -- and Tom Vanderbilt's interesting findings?

What are your suggestions for making our roads safer and less congested? Or... is the situation hopeless, and we're doomed to being mired down by the lowest-common-denominator troglodytes on the road today?

Share your thoughts right here -- so we can all work towards each of us getting home on time, and in one piece!
«13

Comments

  • edited August 2008
    Increase the price of fuel. Keep increasing it until there are fewer drives, making for fewer accidents.
  • edited August 2008
    I have always felt that many people pay too little attention to the importance of speed limits. Speed limits are set not just for safety or the possibility of better fuel economy, although those are factors. With handling and stability of modern cars we could probably drive at much greater speeds if there were no other factors to consider. What is perhaps more important is traffic volume and flow. Speed limits are chosen to facility smooth traffic flow. Too many cars traveling too fast results in increased congestion which increases the chance of collisions.

    It's like pouring water down a drain. The faster the water is poured the more it tends to back up into the sink. If you pour it at a rate that is suitable for the size drain it will flow out with no problem.
  • edited August 2008
    Just relax, Put James Taylor on the stereo singing............

    (Chorus)
    Damn this traffic jam
    How I hate to be late
    It hurts my motor to go so slow
    Damn this traffic jam
    Time I get home my supper'll be cold
    Damn this traffic jam

    Well I left my job about 5 o'clock
    It took fifteen minutes go three blocks
    Just in time to stand in line
    With a freeway looking like a parking lot

    - Chorus -

    Now I almost had a heart attack
    Looking in my rear view mirror
    I saw myself the next car back
    Looking in the rear view mirror
    'Bout to have a heart attack
    I said

    - Chorus -

    Now when I die I don't want no coffin
    I thought about it all too often
    Just strap me in behind the wheel
    And bury me with my automobile

    - Chorus -

    Damn...

    Now I used to think that I was cool
    Running around on fossil fuel
    Until I saw what I was doing
    Was driving down the road to ruin

  • edited August 2008
    increasing the price doesnt work!in england we pay the equivalent of $10 a gallon!!and traffic is increasing year on year.if we had petrol at 10 times the price,only the rich would be able to drive,and that would be unfair.
  • edited August 2008
    When gas prices rose above $4 per gallon, the total miles driven in the US dropped by about 4%.
  • edited August 2008
    Speed limits are chosen to facility smooth traffic flow.
    No, they're not. Speed limits are intended to dumb down the driving environment so that the "lowest-common-denominator troglodytes" can cope. Even so, many still can't. We learn about them in accident reports in the news. Much of the problem arises from the negligible value placed on driving well for its own sake.
    Too many cars traveling too fast results in increased congestion
    You mean the way to go faster is to slow down? Try selling that idea to NASCAR drivers in the Daytona 500.


    If you prefer not to drive fast, that's fine. But please don't invent spurious reasons why no one else should.
  • edited August 2008
    No, they're not. Speed limits are intended to dumb down the driving environment so that the "lowest-common-denominator troglodytes" can cope. Even so, many still can't. We learn about them in accident reports in the news. Much of the problem arises from the negligible value placed on driving well for its own sake.

    So it's the the people who drive slow that cause all the accidents? Maybe we should break that news to the insurance companies so that they can correct their premiums to give lower rates to drivers of high performance cars. Maybe all those NASCAR crashes were actually done on purpose so that they aren't actually "accidents".
    Even if I was born yesterday, I didn't live the whole day through without knowing a cop-out when I see one.

    You mean the way to go faster is to slow down? Try selling that idea to NASCAR drivers in the Daytona 500.

    You would be surprised to learn just how much pacing is done in long distance auto racing. In order to finish first, first you must finish. An extra 10~15 seconds of going zero mph in an extra pit stop can really blow your average speed.

    It sounds contradictory but I have found that slowing down doesn't really slow me down if you take "mph" literally, that is "miles per hour". I just spend a lot less time going zero miles per hour while waiting for red lights to turn green. I would be rich if I had a buck for every aggressive driver who sped past me only for me to catch up with him a few miles down the road while he was stopped at a red light.



  • edited August 2008
    You mean the way to go faster is to slow down?

    In a sense, yes. The problem is not a high average speed, but in all the drivers hurrying up to get somewhere fast who encounter something that slows them down (slower vehicles, construction, accident, bad conditions, etc.). They have to slam on the brakes, which results in a domino effect way up the line. It's the irregular speed that is a hazard and a nuisance. Smooth driving at a constant (but lower) speed can get you there just as quickly as fast/slow/fast/slow. The morons aren't just the slow ones -- it's also the fast ones whose speeds are all over the place.
  • edited August 2008
    So it's the the people who drive slow that cause all the accidents?
    No, it's the people who drive badly that cause all the accidents. A good, fast driver is still a good driver and a bad, slow driver is still a bad driver. The difference between them is that a good driver has the skill and judgment to drive fast safely whereas a bad driver doesn't. What infuriates me is the notion that everyone should slow down to the pace of the most inept, lazy slob on the road. We should, instead, be pressuring the slobs to improve.
    Maybe we should break that news to the insurance companies so that they can correct their premiums to give lower rates to drivers of high performance cars.
    I don't know about your insurance company, but mine bases rates for liability insurance on your driving history, not on what you drive. Collision and comprehensive cost more for a Ferrari than for an old Honda only because the Ferrari is more expensive to repair and the total amount at risk is higher.
    NASCAR crashes
    Those guys crash because, to win, they have to live on the ragged edge of control. That's not appropriate for public roads and not what I'm talking about. On the other hand, it's not necessary to creep along like an arthritic snail.
    I just spend a lot less time ... waiting for red lights to turn green.
    Good drivers try to schedule their arrival at the next light when it is green. Bad drivers don't pay attention.

    Most of my daily commute is on interstate highways. There are always slowpokes scattered all over the road. Until traffic volume gets moderately heavy, there is room to get around them. If the slowpokes would keep up or at least stay to the right and out of the way, faster traffic would flow freely and there would be no congestion.

    I have figured out that the optimum time to leave for work is 40 minutes before I'm due there. Although I can still arrive in time if I leave only 30 minutes before, my time on the road is longer because traffic is heavier. Leaving 50 minutes before doesn't work very well either. (I have never figured out whether this is because of a mini-burst of people with an earlier work schedule or if I'm being held up by people who leave extra early so they can drive slower.) Fine tuning your schedule this way is another mark of a good driver.

    To continue with the sink analogy, slowpokes on the road are like a partial clog in the drain.
  • edited August 2008
    Some thinking on how to deal with the tractor-trailer/private auto interface.

    Should we plan on increasing private auto use or mass transit?
This discussion has been closed.