Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Driving in Boston

Inching along in a log jam of traffic yesterday on the Mass Pike I watched an Audi a few cars in front of me weave in and out of traffic determined to find the lane that was "moving" and yet for the whole half an hour that we sat there he ended up still only a few cars ahead of me. Sure there were times his lane pulled ahead, but then mine would catch up and he would switch back. The only thing he accomplished was to make the line that much slower. There was a great article that a friend sent me years ago on the physics of traffic and it has been determined that weaving in and out of tight traffic will really gain you nothing and in fact cause the very blockages that you believe you are defying. (Sidenote--an unfortunately side effect of so much of interest on the internet is that it is impossible to store all of the articles that interest you over the years in the vague belief that you will someday want to reference them to others) The article also pointed out that if all drivers maintained a reasonable distance between their car and the car in front of them, many traffic jams would be alleviated or avoided all together because the traffic would move as an inchworm does, in ordered segments. The problem is that that Audi driver (and his ilk) believe that beating others by those one or two car lengths is worth it. What do they care for the poor, cowardly driver at the back of the line who will never be able to change lanes and will thus simply get pushed further and further back.

Attaching an older blog on driving:
On driving

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