35 thoughts on “#378 Finally making it past whatever was causing traffic to slow down

  1. Today a cement truck went over the interstate rail…I’m so feeling this.

    Explain to me this: what the heck causes traffic when there’s no accident??? I simply cannot understand this phenomenon.

    1. There’s been a lot of analysis on this, and it’s been found that traffic (in the absence of an accident) behaves as a longitudinal or compression wave, with areas of compression and rarefaction. Here’s a decent explanation: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/traffic1.htm

      However, they’ve shown that if you get enough drivers who just try to drive at a slow, even pace (rather than see a gap, speed up fast to fill the gap, and then slam on their brakes when they reach the next car), they can sufficiently break up this traffic pattern, and smooth out the volume on the highway.

      Whenever I approach traffic, I try to be one of these drivers in hopes of creating a “tipping point” effect to remove the congestion.

  2. I usually can’t feel too awesome about it because it’s usually a pretty serious accident that causes the mess. I drive by hoping everyone is okay. BUT, if it’s just construction work that keeps you trapped then it totally is amazingly awesome.

    1. Yes, it is sad when it’s because of a wreck, but there are lots of other reasons … it could be something like a tractor or “oversize load”. Or a horse and buggy — there is an Amish settlement like 20 minutes away from where I went to college, and sometimes there would be traffic issues on the highway because they travel on the shoulder … so everyone would bottleneck into the inside lane and cause commotion.

  3. I agree with the posts above about the “phantom traffic jams” where there is absolutely no reason for people to slow down, but they do, and then it backs up for miles. Or it might be a change in the road that people freak out about…like a curve. Oh my goodness!

    Whenever I would drive to see my girlfriend last year, there would always be construction about 3/4 of the way there. The best feeling was getting out of it and speeding away unnecessarily fast!

    AWESOME!

  4. Yes. Oh goodness, yes.

    Sitting in stand-still traffic is so irritating, especially if it’s unexpected — I mean, it’s bad enough when there’s construction or something, but at least you’re usually warned about that and can predict an end (“road work next 7 miles”).

    I was going to remark about having to stop and never knowing why, but it seems that’s an occurrence that baffles the masses!

    1. There’s ALWAYS some kind of construction work going on near where I live/work. I know enough different ways that I can avoid them, whenever I know they are happening.
      But all summer there was seriously two major bridges shut down for repair.

  5. You picked a really great day for this one….
    Here’s my morning: Leave the house, a mile from the house there’s a car broke down in the middle of the road (there’s already a tow truck there), I get to the day care and there’s no where to park. I finally get my daughter dropped off and leave..and then get behind a bus. Why must the bus stop every 10 feet? Can’t the kids meet in the middle every now and then? Seriously, its every 10 feet! Then, the bus finally pulls onto another road…and I get behind this guy going way slower than the speed limit, but when I finally get to the point where I can pass him…………….there’s another bus. Then, red light after red light….then, there’s a wreck a block from my work and I have to sit until I can get by.
    I was 30 mins later than usual. I did take a big sigh of relief when I pulled into the parking garage.

  6. Once when we were driving through Ohio, we were literally completely stopped for almost two hours. We parked and got out and stood around and stuff. A trailer full of motorcycles had caught fire somehow, and as it burned, each motorcycle exploded as the gas tank caught fire. It was scary and very unfortunate, but boy was I glad when we got moving again!

  7. I ride my bike to school every day, and sometimes get stuck when there’s a slower person in front of me and it’s hard to pass him/her.
    It’s always great if that someone then suddenly changes route.

  8. Where I live they’ve closed 2 lanes of a good portion of one of the major highways. Its a NIGHTMARE. Its always the best feeling once you get out of that traffic!

  9. Equally awesome is when you hit an area on your regular commute that always has traffic and there is not a backup in sight!

  10. Extra awesome.

    College student awesome: when you get past the people that slowed down just to talk to their friends in the middle of class. Bah!

    1. High school student awesome: when I make it from the science wing to the history wing, passing through the over-crowded intersection of doom en route, and am not late for class.

  11. It’s awesome that we don’t have multi-day traffic jams like they had in China. Imagine how good it must have felt to escape that!

  12. I’ll never forget driving up the Baltimore Washington Parkway (DC Metro) and the traffic slowing.

    I was irritated, then I saw why. A man had tried to run across but didn’t make it. It was before the police had arrived and it wasn’t blocked off. I had to literally drive around him. I’d never seen a person in that condition. Needless to say, he didn’t live.

    Now I always hope that nothing serious has happened when I see traffic. I actually get a little scared at what I might see.

  13. Finally making it past whatever was causing traffic to slow down

    How funny! I thought this post was going to be about a mental block preventing you from progressing in your life and or in your career. Like being in a traffic jam, not being able to maneuver through the miles and miles of cars. You are stuck, should you continue the bottle neck journey. Or should you get off the first exit and try an alternative route?

  14. This happened to us on the weekend. Accident on the motorway – stopped all traffic for 1/2 hour. Would rather be stuck in traffic than be the cause of it! :)

  15. I am also always happy when I past whatever that caused traffic. I think just like everyone else that it’s very annoying and your actually wasting gaz for nothing. Mostly you are having traffic because of an accident. But sometimes when you just come out of the traffic, you see that there is absolutely no reason for traffic. Also when an accident happened, everyone wants to see what happened what causes even more traffic.

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