When a driver speeds up and gets too close to another car, it has to slow down, causing other cars to brake, and eventually create gridlock.
It's a question older than "how did the United States choose between these two presidential candidates?" - how can traffic seemingly materialize out of nowhere, and how can I help make cars move quicker? A new video from Toronto-based duo AsapSCIENCE gives a glimpse into these questions, and even provides some thought-provoking answers. It's a fairly simple solution, but whether or not drivers will give it a try is anther question altogether.
In the video, which is sponsored by Toyota, the narrator says that traffic jams are often caused by an accident, construction, or bottlenecks created by on-ramps and tunnels. But we've all experienced traffic jams that, once we've left them, seem to be begin and end out of thin air.
AsapSCIENCE says the cause of this can come down to even small fluctuations in drivers' speeds, resulting in a huge ripple effect on traffic as a whole. Ideally, drivers should always be the same distance from the vehicle in front of them, as the one behind them.
There are a few solutions, and one of them is surprisingly simple.
Simply put, drivers are often unable to maintain a constant speed. When a driver speeds up and gets too close to another car, it has to slow down. This causes others cars to brake, and eventually, gridlock occurs.
There are a few solutions, and one of them is surprisingly simple. As mentioned above, instead of tailgating or driving too far under the speed limit when not necessary, drivers should stay an equal difference between cars. Avoiding distractions - namely, your smartphone - is another no-brainer, as this allows you to keep a pulse on what's happening on the road.
Another interesting fix that some countries use is what's know as "block driving," where a set of vehicles line up and drive at a consistent speed, which encourages drivers behind to do the same.
Of course, autonomous vehicles could be the answer to all gridlock problems, but that's something that's far down the road, so to speak. In the meantime, do yourself and everyone else on the road a favour, and heed the advice above.