Why do traffic jams happen? Well, you might have seen the Auckland Transport campaign 'Spread the Jam', talking about how excessive and sudden braking is terrible for the flow of traffic. Each person has to brake more suddenly than the last, and then eventually a collection of cars at a standstill take so long to get moving again, that we have a jam. The excellent explanatory video for this can be found here.
But here's a new, albeit related theory. Wired magazine reports on a new study in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. The theory is that tailgating and braking and bunching up is part of the problem, but the other part of the issue is not keeping the right amount of distance from the car behind. They've looked at the flying patterns of bats and birds, and determined that it has to do with our awareness of what is going on all around us - not just what's in front. The team at Fleetcoach thinks that's important info already obviously, given that our training programs are all about awareness and keeping our eyes moving at what's around us.
So next time you're out and about, do your part, and keep an equal distance from the car in front, and behind. And look out ahead for any changes in traffic flow, so you can slow down and stop comfortably, rather than suddenly.
You can read the full article here.