Traffic Waves

Traffic Waves

[ Above is the actual I-5 merge-zone
where the jam is being created. ] I live in the Seattle area and commute to work, and in the mid-1990s I
accidentally discovered how to wipe out a certain
kind of traffic jam. I was bored, and this was on 520 going west toward the bridges; where there’s always a whole
bunch of stop-and-go driving, and i was trying to avoid hitting the, brakes by driving
at the average speed. Drive slow so a big open
space opens up. Then, just before I arrive at the
stopped wave of cars, they all take off. And if I got it just right, I’d
never have to hit the brakes at all. One evening I looked in the rear-view
mirror and could see all the headlights, and I could see all the stop-and-go waves
of the “clots” of cars behind me, but in my lane they were totally uniform… which I guess is pretty obvious in hindsight,
that I was eating traffic waves; that everybody behind me has no reason to be doing the stop-and-go driving. So one single car, for miles and
miles, was wiping out all the stop-and-go driving in a single lane. I kept trying to do this whenever there
was any kind of stop-and-go wave, by having a big empty space
ahead of my car, and then I accidentally discovered another
kind of traffic jam that would break up ahead of me …sometimes. Of course it didn’t always work, but if you have a big
empty space, and there’s a jammed merge-zone ahead of you, the jam is often kept alive by a
solid row of cars in the through-lane who won’t let anybody in; they
pack themselves together. And then there’s “cheaters” who run
down to the end and force their way in, and nobody can really
stop them, they’ll just wait until they can get in between two people. So the traffic jam is really caused by
a fight: there might just be a tiny percentage of cheaters going down to
to the end and forcing their way in. But if I let them in early, they’ll
merge ahead of me, and then they’re not racing down to the end to get in line
and do the big fight. And then there’s no reason for the traffic jam. And
everybody in the through-lane just takes off! So, i saw that happen a couple of times and realized: single drivers can have huge effects if they behave differently; if you let people in ahead of you. But why close up gaps in the first place? Sometimes it’s to block out the cheaters, but more often, it’s because someone will get
ahead of you if you leave a space, and now you’re one car-length back, …and you’re a LOSER! If you have a space ahead of you,
maybe two or three or four cars get ahead of you. And now you’re “slow,” and your commute takes longer. But …if your commute takes
like forty minutes, then one extra car takes up like
one second of your commute. So if you let ten cars geat ahead of you, your commute is TEN SECONDS LONGER. So letting cars ahead of you is
insignificant. There isn’t any race, you’re not
going to “lose,” no matter how many cars you let ahead of
you. And I was doing this all the time; letting people get
in ahead when they had to merge, and I found that half the time they
leave, they merge past. So they really didn’t want
my space at all, they just wanted to get through
the line of cars that wasn’t letting anybody in, and mine was the only hole. Now ahead of you, you see typical
Seattle jam. We’re south of the city, going on route I-5. And there’s a left-hand exit going to the
express-lanes and very often this lane is packed with
a mile of stopped cars because nobody can get into the
solid-packed line. It’s not a bank teller line where you can go backwards to get to the end. So if you miss your chance, you can’t
get into the express-lanes. Every once in awhile there’ll be a cheater
that will force their way in, and that’s what stops the whole row of cars.
But if my hole is letting people in, and they’ve been trying to get in this
long long line, and finally they get to my hole …they don’t have to cheat. They can go in. Now I think that even the cheating is
caused by the people closing up ranks, because if I’m driving along and i want to merge into this exit lane, and it’s a solid packed wall of cars… well I see them as idiots: they’re all
greedy. “They’ve got theirs” and they’re not going to let anybody else in, so then I’m JUSTIFIED in cheating. I’m just getting back at all the greedy idiots who form the
solid wall of cars. But if I’m in the line, then I see anybody
who wants in as a cheater. So it’s this idiotic competitive thing where each
side thinks the other side is evil, and a fight develops. But just by having the big empty spot ahead of my car from habit, I discovered that this kind of jam
often breaks up just because one driver is leaving the big space. The big space has other effects, like
if you have to merge, and you’ve got a big space ahead of you, then
you have a lot of choices of which cars to get between.
Now if you have no space ahead, then you have only one choice. Either that or you have to slow down
to drift backwards to find a slot. Oh! Now here’s the jam where I’ve been
letting people in ahead of me here to get in the left-hand exit lane. and I guess I didn’t let enough in,
because here we’re stopped. But the reason it stops, is because people
down at the far end are fighting, and it makes them take turns, and brings everything to a halt. So… two kinds of traffic jam that an individual driver can affect HUGELY, and that’s these merging-zone jams, and the stop-and-go driving: the traffic-waves
that you can wipe out in your lane. There’s a third effect, and that’s the effect on the driver. I used to be pushing and pushing and pushing
through the traffic, through the heavy congestion. I was the type-A that was going to get like ten cars ahead on my commute, and think that I’d done a big thing,
when I’d really only gone ten seconds faster than
everybody else. Now I’m the “Zen Warrior” who knows how to
shatter traffic jams as I approach them. …Well sometimes! It’s a completely calm existence. Now I’m
like the philosopher that’s helping everybody around me, rather than the competitor that’s screwing everybody and
back-stabbing right and left to get my ten feet of traffic, my couple of
car-lengths ahead. It’s a totally different life as a
commuter when you do it that way.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Traffic Waves

  1. How about you do this video again in heavy traffic driving exactly as you advocate, only with the camera looking out your rearview window instead of the front windshield?  I'd be interested to see how much you are tailgated, how following motorists react and how many pull out to pass.

  2. Good point, but you are definitely driving too slow. Leave some room, but don't force people to go around you, which I'm sure they literally are. Keep your distance with the car in front of you, but don't go a snail's pace hoping that more people will merge in front of you, that's not exactly safe or efficient either.

  3. Sure, that might work on the west coast… but try it in Metro NY.  I dare you.  I am willing to bet at least three people would swerve in front of you, slam the brakes to teach you a less, all the while blowing the horn and flipping you off.  If you leave more than 5 feet between you and the car in front of you, there's someone merging in to get one car further ahead in the traffic.

  4. Brilliant!

    48 hours ago, I was on this exact line toward the express lanes (and not sure it saved me any time in the end due to the problems you described). The circumstances of my being on that road at that time was that I was moving back to Vancouver BC from a 10 year stay in LA … partly to escape the maddening traffic. Walking, cycling and using a well connected transit grid with trains going every 3 minutes … ahhhh

  5. Couldn't agree more with this. Applies to any big city. At the very least you create more room for yourself.

  6. Bill, this is so freaking awesome.  I work for your highway safety office, The Washington Traffic Safety Commission, in Olympia and this driving skill and situational  awareness needs to be touted more clearly by us as part of our Target Zero plan.  Thank you for taking the time to document this technique and for sharing it so generously.  I just tweeted this video, fyi.

  7. Highly reasonable video, for those people saying it doesn't make sense check out his website for more clarification with diagrams:

  8. You make valid points that i get but my argument is that ive waited in that queue from far back gotten to the front by waiting in the queue even though its now made me late for work and someone is being left stuck in their bed longer because I'm stuck in it im not gonna let some asshat who couldnt wait and wanted to skip the queue there is no way they need to be ahead of me. Especially since ive already waited in the line for the previous mile. So its mire on principal there for me but your point about the space in traffic jams is a good one i try to not touch my breaks if i can sobill deffo take that pointer on

  9. This is the thing. If everybody slightly "disadvantages" themselves by being generous – it actually gets faster for everyone. It's the "selfish" trap that's actually bringing average speeds down.
    I'd find the extra time less annoying than constant starting and stopping, especially in a car with manual transmission like most people have in England. It's the "Jesus" way of thinking that is usually unnatural to the average human. It's nice if you can find a gear where the idle speed is the right speed. I suppose if you have cruise control that works at 10mph that would be useful too.

  10. I do sometimes find the thing where two badly timed lights act like a clock escapement letting only a few cars through each time. If there's a red light in front of a green light, and the area between the red light and green light gets full of cars, then no one can move even at the green light.
    When the red light eventually turns green, just as the delay of driving off reaches the back of the queue, the green light at the back turns red!!

  11. @wbeaty Are you familiar with game theory?  Because this smacks with the logic of evolutionary game theory.  If what you are describing is correct it's an evolutionarily stable strategy

  12. Some truth to what you are saying but I've been in the correct lanes where a merging lane has so many cheaters that the correct lanes do not even move.    One time took me 1/2 hour to go 2 blocks.    The cheaters don't give a rats ass about inconveniencing others…..they are a burden on society and my guess is they cut many other corners as well.    In these situations, the "nice people" that let the cheaters in are making that decision not only for themselves, but for everyone behind them.   F*** the line cutters.

  13. if you use your brakes whilst cruising on a motorway then you're driving wrong, this is totally normal in the uk, nothing special

  14. I've been doing this for about a year and it really makes a huge difference. The only downside is you see how greedy and ignorant everyone else is. :/

  15. Play this on Detroit public access on repeat. Please! For the good of humanity!
    My dad taught me about traffic waves when I first got my learners, being aware of them makes a manual a lot less of a pita

  16. Good insights! I used to do something like this when I lived in cities. Then I moved to Iowa and didn't need the skill. Falling back and chilling out is definitely the way to go (as well as maintaining proper spacing).

  17. Wow I was in stop & go on I-95 today and noticed I was in the "only me on the road" wave and was driving about the speed limit. Great example of emergent phenomenon!

  18. Dood I like to leave big spaces in front of me when I drive too, much less stressful than fighting with every big shot out there. I also like to think of myself as a "pattern breaker", not just in traffic but in other areas of life as well. Like for example how hate gets spread around; people tend to want to pass the negativity they receive along to others. I guess you can call it bullying but I dunno, just bad vibes man. I like to stop that pattern by being kind and nonjudgmental to everyone so they feel less of a need to go act shitty to the next person they encounter. I may be personally "losing" my battles but it makes me feel good to see the bigger picture of things.

  19. I learned this the same way and have seen the traffic indicator on Google maps go from red to green following my vehicle.

    I then got a motorcycle learned to filter and completely bypassed traffic and reducing my footprint on the road and in parking considerably. Also reducing gas consumption.

  20. This is perfect. Most of the people merged early when they could because it was their first chance after missing the early queue. I drive a manual and leave a gap so I can maintain the average speed with a moderate gap, and everyone behind me gets to relax and avoid stop and go too. This, simply paying attention when driving to avoid causing accidents, and keeping right except to pass while passing as quickly as possible when needed would save so much time for everyone.

    The ultimate solution will be fully autonomous vehicles being mandatory. The only way this will happen quickly is if there's a law that requires it to occur by, for example the year 2035. I love to drive, but don't love other people driving because as a whole groups of people on the road contain a significant proportion of those drivers who are inefficient, greedy, inconsiderate, and inattentive and are therefore dangerous.

  21. It's worth pointing out that those "cheaters" are actually doing the right thing. If you are forced to merge in, you should actually drive the maximum possible distance BEFORE merging in. The problem is that people refuse to allow other cars to merge in. EVERYONE is supposed to be leaving a gap. Otherwise, it creates a domino effect that stops the through-lanes. The merge lane locks up, bumper-to-bumper. The lane next to it then locks up because there's no room to merge. When that lane locks far enough back, subsequent lanes start to lock as people merge across multiple lanes to get to the exit.
    Lesson? Maintain at least a 2-car distance as often as possible, and adjust that space as people merge in.

  22. And now i feel better about my constant habit of keeping a 2-3 car length ahead of me. Instead of being upset about people getting in front, i feel good about others being able to drive safely.

  23. In driving school, I was taught to always leave a gap in front of me big enough to stop if the car ahead of me were to instantly come to a complete stop at highway speeds. Wether or not you were going the speed limit. Always leave room for everyone else, if everyone would just realize that, instead of worrying about their mochajavabullsh… Getting cold before they get to the office, they would actually get there before it got cold instead of being jammed up for hours.

  24. Lol probably 10 miles of cars behind this guy doing 50 in a 60. Which is why every person is passing him. At that point he is just being an obstacle and should not be in the fast lane slowing the people down behind him which is obviously why they are passing him up.

  25. Now make a video on why being "nice" as a driver on the hwy to merging traffic is TERRIBLE how when you gfo from 70 to 45 to allow someone to merge, you screw over everyone behind you.

    And make on how you should merge, by flooring it to match hwy speed, NOT by stopping right as you get to the hwy to wait for a spot 😀

  26. Traffic can be modeled with a bit of partial fluid dynamics. The ideal way to mitigate traffic from the beginning is to have two groups of drivers, like shown in this video : a laminar group who keeps a steady speed and large gaps between cars (like yourself) and a turbulent group who speeds through traffic (like the other drivers). The laminar group will determine the normal rate of traffic (say, 70 mph). It is critical for them to keep large gaps in between themselves because if they didn't, then going at 70 mph without letting other cars pass them would invariably cause pressure build up behind them as the rate of cars entering the freeway begin to become greater than the rate of cars leaving the freeway.

    The turbulent group need to be a group of competent drivers who mitigate the congestion caused during rush hour when massive amounts of people start to enter the roads all at once. They will be the rogue vehicles who travel at a higher rate than normal vehicles (much alike going on the fast lane, but societies have proven to be too incompetent to properly use this fast lane to alleviate congestion), which causes the rate of cars exiting the freeway to match that of the rate of cars entering the freeways (since they get to their destination faster, they'll exit faster).

    A driver's license should add more tiers. The basic license should qualify drivers to be in the laminar group, while voluntary training and advanced instruction would allow for people to obtain a license which allows them to drive in the turbulent group. The turbulent group will be trained at different tiers; the more training they receive, the higher their speed limits will be (reflected by their license). Each car will have to have their registrations tied to their licenses, to allow highway patrol to regulate proper driving.

  27. Since watching thisvideo a good while back I have adopted your "leave a gap" mantra and you're completely right, I now feel like a much more Zen driver! Also, I get many more "thank you" waves from cars in front, who appreiate the fact that I let them in. And I notice that they in turn are more likely to leave a gap because someone did it for them. I now find driving on motorways much less stressful. Thank you!

  28. This philosophy was taught to me via the USPS driving school around 1996 or 97. The instructor actually showed a illustration of exactly what you are talking about in this video. I wish I could remember the instructors name as he had a lot more great ideas regarding traffic flows. The point of the lecture was about not following too close (for us budding USPS drivers) and trying not to have to hit your brakes all the time which causes the people following behind to hit their brakes and cause a chain reaction. I commute into Seattle a few times a week for work and I always practice this method. With the rise of mobile phones I have noticed most of the time when there is a big gap in another lane it is usually a driver focusing on their phone rather then trying to help the flow of traffic. Great video and I sure hope more folks employ this method of ironing out traffic waves.

  29. Thank you for taking the time to explain these techniques. I'd heard about the 'try not to brake in stop-and-go traffic, it makes jams worse', and I try to follow 'zipper' logic when the roads are packed and a big line of cars is coming on. And a'course I like to leave a lot of space in front of me (tailgaters drive me nuts, and I've seen one too many dashcam vids lol), but I had never thought of it like this. Best of luck to you, and I'm happy you've found your road zen xD

  30. I've been trying to explain this concept to my friends! My passengers love that I go a steady speed through congestion instead of constantly hitting the brakes, too.

  31. god this is so bloody interesting. And I love your conclusion about having made the transition from angry backstabbing competitor to zen driver. So true! Well done mate.

  32. I do this all the time–comes fairly natural when driving a manual. Unfortunately here in Chicago if you have a situation like that people will just pass you on the right and get back into the queue lane with no gap.

  33. Actually, if everyone used the ending lane to the full extent and people would stop being jealous about the "cheaters" and let them in at the end, traffic would flow a lot better. Think about it, if everyone starts using that lane farther you have a shorter amount of highway that is one lane less. Rather than extending that area of narrower highway artificially longer by everyone merging in early.

  34. I came to a similar conclusion (surprisingly after getting a sports car) and my 45 minute commute is far more relaxing than it was when I was fighting through traffic. This video should be required education for new drivers!

  35. Wow! The zen traffic warrior. So neat. Makes me think: what if we had self-driving cars that were robot zen traffic warriors, fixing these problems as they were forming. I cannot be the first one to have thought of this. Then, after we get those cars on the road, the foot will be in the door. Eventually, the rest of the cars will be self-driving.

  36. Can self driving cars accommodate for the stop & go traffic? If so, can we share the solution as a PSA to all drivers?

  37. I drive in the Seattle area and feel the same as you in the sense of letting people in. I also noticed that it takes me 10-20 minutes longer to get home if I let people in. What I've figured is you are clearing up traffic but what you are really doing is averaging the speed across your commute rather than fully stopping. You actually go slower this way but never fully stop because of it. This effects phantom traffic jams but never for very long. Although I think the bigger issue is the number of lanes the Seattle area has on their freeways has stayed the same for the last 10 years.

  38. You are a hero! I drive this same commute every day & I do the same thing. I'm amazed how many self-centered dip-shits can not seem to grasp such a simple concept. Most days it seems like a Black Friday shopping video out there. It's the same principle, when everyone acts like a greedy self-centered @-hole pushing & shoving, & trying to beat out everyone else, no one can get through. Silly folks don't realize everyone could get in there faster if you simply waited patiently, walked at a moderate speed, & gave folks a chance to enter in their turn, instead of trying to force a large mob through all at once.

  39. You are robbing everyone behind you from precious seconds, minutes and even hours of their lives. You have no right to do so. You can recheck your facts. But you are wrong. You even let in one cheater; you are robbing people behind you of something you can never repay, time. You do not have the right to decide to deprive them of even a second.

    You are wrong as to a perception as to who is cheating! You are simply idiotic!

  40. I wish everyone would understand this and use it. I've been doing this same thing in Los Angeles, O.C. and I.E. for years. For being one of the worst freeway systems in the U.S. this technique definitely works and relieves traffic behind me. I guess it takes the level headed mind to see the big picture of it all and take it seriously. Just relax and take it easy. The real idea is just be polite and give other drivers opportunity to make lane changes and not tailgate. People get pissed off behind me because of my "gap" but I just let them pass and watch them brake suddenly in front of me and not get any where lol. Thank you for posting this video for everyone to see this. you should post this like crazy all over social media and get people educated on the real effectiveness of these principles.

  41. That is awesome wbeaty. Great explanation of how basic decency applied to driving increases efficiency, improves the experience, and creates a safer environment for everyone.

  42. Hey I wanted to let you know this video might have saved someone’s life last Thursday. This happened on I-90 East, coincidentally outside Seattle pretty close to where this was shot. That day, traffic was moving fast however the cars were packed. Everyone was riding each other trying to get home 10 seconds sooner, you know the story. The space in front of my car was getting pretty big so I might’ve closed it up a little bit but happened to be thinking about THIS VIDEO and thought, “well, let’s leave a huge space why not”. At that moment the motorcycle in front me lost control and the rider fell off onto the road. Everyone was driving so close, this biker won the lottery wiping out in front of me. I’ll remember the fear in her eyes when she looked up towards oncoming traffic. But no brakes were slammed, no other accidents happened, the lane came to a lazy stop and a few people got out to make sure the biker was ok. The guy who was riding me even made a space of his own when we got going again :). Leaving a decent space is so important, and it goes beyond traffic flow. Let’s all be zen warriors, thank you!!!!

  43. the problem is your technique does not work in reality. at least not where I live. I learned the "leave a gap" trick 20 years ago. the problem is people actively defeat this technique by completely filling the gap you make forcing you to hit the brakes (literally) and now you are part of the stop and go wave again.

    the problem with letting people in is that this also does not work. they ignore your gap. they don't move into the gap I leave them because they don't WANT to merge back here. they want to scoot all the way up to the front and THEN scoot in IE those people cause people to not want to let someone in.

    if EVERYONE thought your way it would be amazing. traffic would not be significantly faster but it sure as hell would be smoother.

    no. at 5:39 it stops because people filled in your gap and do not attempt to drive like you do.

    man when you get in with a group of trucks who do this (lots of shifting driving those) its BLISS. I can just put it in 2nd gear and let off the brake and let engine pressure just chug me along. so peaceful.

    slow is not the issue for me the rubber necking is the issue. really mentally wipes you out because you have to pay so much attention.

    around here if you leave a gap so many cars will fill it to try and squeeze ahead that you will literally double your travel time as you get pushed literally further and further back as you brake more and more trying to reform the gap.

    god I wish this actually worked everywhere.

  44. The technique you are using is for trucks with air brakes. Leaving a space is good but the amount of space you are leaving is creating traffic and road rage for others! What bothers me most is that you are in the fast lane, going slow as fuck! Do this in the far right lane. That's what it's for!

  45. I've been doing this for a few years once I noticed I was stressing out over traffic while driving to work and school. Now I feel like I am part of the solution to traffic, not the problem.

    Oh, and I keep right except to merge.

  46. Jesus fucking christ i cannot wait for self driving cars. Imagine all of our vehicles communicating with each other, along with the roadway and conditions etc. the human brain simply can't keep up with so many variables.

  47. I do exactly what you're doing every day on my commute to and from Milwaukee. I thought I was alone. Good job!

  48. I used to be one of those drivers who try to be "smart and clever" by changing lanes to get ahead. It made my commute more stressful, burned more gas, and wore off the brakes faster. I eventually found out that leaving a bit of space allowed me to coast through traffic with much less stress. Sure you have some drivers use the empty space, but I often see them stuck in the other lane up ahead. I occasionally drive behind other drivers who apply this relaxed technique making commuting in traffic more pleasant.

  49. Sir, I love this! When I was growing up in Los Angeles in the late sixties, I wrote a little pamphlet called, "Spaced Out Driving", unfortunately, it wasn't a hit!! 😉 BUT, it was an attempt to get people to do exactly what you are suggesting. IT WORKS! Absolutely without a doubt! I was doing this then and I still drive this way. Two things: It is very relaxing, removes two or three layers of attentiveness, #2, sometimes people behind you get frustrated, that can't stand to see space in front of your car! THEY didn't read my book or listen to you. Keep up the good work, it also saves tons of carbon and brake pads!

  50. I've tried this myself and have always wondered if it had any effect in breaking up the traffic wave. It probably helps to a certain extent until the expressway is completely jammed.

  51. You're right about the second point: the people who won't let anyone merge into their lane are the worst and cause some people to cheat. Some people still like to cheat, though.

  52. if you let others in, you then running into risk of getting caught behind that 5 minutes traffic light. One car can cost you a traffic light. imagining 10 cars?

  53. So…your that dude that is inelastic and causes further back up by always leaving a huge gap and not accelerating with the flow of traffic. I see your type on the road every day and once we all get around you the road opens up to normal speed…but the poor schmucks behind you have to suffer so you can zen out on the road ahead.

  54. I did something similar where I would let anyone in if they wanted to get in. But, what you are doing is on a whole new level and much safer. You know that saying… Do unto others as they would do onto you. I just hope that people learn from your good example. Thank you. I should try it some time.

  55. I love the intention, but you do have to be careful with this advice in heavy traffic. If maintaining your buffer means forcing your lane to move more slowly than neighboring lanes, you are probably doing more harm than good.

    What I often see is this:
    One well-intentioned driver leaves a huge gap, often in a middle lane. This causes the neighboring lanes to move faster, as they both "vent" into the gap. As our driver slows down to maintain his gap, the drivers behind him are forced to drive slower and slower. Seeing that the neighboring lanes are faster, those drivers then try to merge out of the gap lane.

    However, those drivers are now moving much more slowly than their destination lanes. On top of that, their attention is split between watching for a wide enough entrance and keeping a safe distance from our driver as he slows for more people merging into the gap.

    Changing lanes in this situation is difficult, risky, and often leads to the same distracted, aggressive, jam-causing maneuvers our driver is trying to eliminate in the first place. While he may have reduced traffic waves in his lane, he's created them in both adjacent lanes.

    You could argue that the drivers behind him should just accept his pace, but no one with any city rush hour experience could honestly expect that to happen. Please just be aware that this is a situational technique, not something to be used all the time, and probably not for use in the middle lanes in rush hour traffic.

  56. Get the hell out of the passing lane. You're creating problems and dawdling.

    You also crossed a solid white line to enter an HOV lane.

  57. "Blockers" are the absolute biggest idiots on the road – that needs to be taught to drivers as well. I cheat and let other cheaters in. Everybody wins.

  58. I-95S frequently gets jammed up just before the last exit in NJ, sometimes for 2 miles. In the last mile before this exit, the right lane becomes designated as an "exit only" lane, and I-95 goes from being three lanes to two as it enters PA. Traffic entering the highway from Route 29 has a stop sign. The question that this phenomenon has been causing me to ponder is from which of the two through lanes can I make the biggest difference on this commute? If I am in the left lane I can allow traffic from the middle lane to merge left to let additional traffic in from Route 29, however if I am in the middle lane, I can leave enough space to allow traffic to merge from the Route 29 ramp and allow through traffic in from the exit only lane.

  59. I think even with a relatively small amount of self driving cars traffic will improve a lot due to things like this.

  60. Next thing you want to consider after the space between cars in a lane as a well defined parameter is the differential of speeds between lanes: the left lane, right lane, and your lane all together at most in order to control (the flow of) traffic from the back "more appropriately". The goal being to keep a reasonable difference/differential in speeds between lanes rather than a dangerous one; e.g. 15 mph, with your lane going 45 mph, one other at 60 mph, and the other's other at 30 mph. Then following that example consider the temptation for someone going from 30 to 60 in a crappy car across your lane anywhere in front of you for a worst case scenario under any conditions especially those including hindered visibility. This should give you a good reference frame to (further) build from this thinking with. Thanks for the videos and keep driving safe.

  61. Just watching you go that slow on a highway is making me so anxious and I don't have anxiety problems. If I did this someone would be on my ass the whole journey.

  62. but this doesnt really solve the jam. no one is getting anywhere faster, and the wave will build up again shortly after you leave.

  63. I actually used to do this all the time when I lived in SoCal, where horrid 24/7 traffic is an accepted part of life. Your website needs to be in skywriting above LA.

  64. Another thing to consider is that when people need to make a lane change they have to slow down because people don't give a break in line for them. So they slow everybody behind them to get to an imagined space behind them. We all do it. We need to make a change and the first thing we do is look behind and slow. We don't even signal until the last second because we know if there is a space some cheat will accelerate to block the change. But the space you leave in front of you is seen by a lot of people who need to make a change. Instead of slowing to get to it it's coming to them. They speed up to merge with it. That speeds up all the lanes. When the lanes speed up more space opens up and they'll all make their lane changes at once. You can see it happen in front of you. Someone behind you may get mad because you're not jamming up as expected. You're "slowing" him down by that few seconds of space. He' may even try to get around you to cuss you out. But by the time he gets around the jam will have broken and the traffic will be going the speed limit. He'll feel like an ass cussing for slowing him down when he's going the limit. So the zen strategy to lead with is as you approach the jam never get so close that someone wanting to make a change can't. Even if people sweep right in immediately in front of you and jam themselves. Stay back from them. You want people in front of you to make lane changes. You actually gain time because instead of being stuck in a jam you're flying down the road. Saves gas, money, lives. If some people take advantage of the space and weave in and out of lanes they won't make much difference and you can lobby the cops to nail the cheats. They'll be easy to catch if the lanes aren't jammed.

  65. It kills how drivers can be so impatient and have such a "me first" attitude when it makes no difference in time

  66. The idea is decent but there are a lot of problems with this concept. For one, slowing down below say 5-10 of the flow of traffic then you are not causing but contributing to added congestion. The ideal situation and what you see in a lot of highways is just road courtesy.
    Keep the same speed as the rest of the flow of traffic, merge early not late, leave merge lanes and exit lanes for people who actually use them and for slower vehicles, and make way for the fast lane instead of driving the speed limit in the fast lane.
    Generally on a 3+ lane highway and road, general traffic should ride in the middle lane, fast drivers and passing for the far left (or right depending on location), and far right (or left depending on location) for merging, exiting, and slower vehicles (Buses , Semis, Grandmas, etc). Traffic congestion happens when people decide to go slow in the fast lane or tailgate in the far right lane. That action causes people to merge to the middle lanes causing a backflow of brake lights.

  67. Your idea is good. Unfortunately, as you try your best to let that much room, other drivers from other lanes will literally pile up in the space ahead of you, making it so tight that you'll have to stop anyway. In such situation an honest guy is powerless against idiots.

  68. Keeping the gap and smoothing your drive will help with traffic waves for sure and help with lowering fuel consumption too. What I find really annoying and causing huge traffic jam is not understanding what dose meant to marge like a zip line. The first and most common mistake is that drivers who know that their lane is gonna end in next few km before even sign information shown, they start to marge to early – already slowing down the traffic in an open lane. The proper way is to drive almost to the end of your lane and once the car ahead marges, you should be next. It is important not to merge too early in a heavy traffic condition. But you call drives who are actually doing right thing "cheaters" and that is wrong. If there is an empty tunnel ahead in your ending line and the merging line is full of cars moving slowly in heavy traffic you should slow down to match their speed and drive till the end of your finishing lane and marge properly at the end. Of course, the key is to always let in one merging car ahead of us instead of blocking off. Maybe one-day ppl will learn how to drive stressless and smooth. Cheers

  69. I learned to reduce traffic waves from this video a number of years ago and it has helped me to be calm many times. It gave me a reason to control my temper-I was DOING something good. Very smart wbeaty. Now I'm a little smarter too. Side effect? Reduced chance of getting in a wreck myself.

  70. Sadly this isn't gonna work with me, where I live a large portion of the drivers are cheaters, so if do what you do, basically every car will merge into my lane and the lane next to me and the next and the fucking dirt besides the road, driving in the 3rd world is a nightmare.

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