Does Speeding Work
We’re all guilty of speeding at one time or another (possibly daily). Let’s say you’re at a signal light and the next one isn’t for two miles. Another driver takes off from the other lane and goes the speed limit which is 45 mph, and you take off and go 60 mph because you’re in a hurry. With this scenario in mind you’ll arrive at the next signal light one minute faster than the other driver. As we both know a red light will eat up that minute so there’s no gain.
Although unrealistic, let’s say you and the other driver are going to the same place and it it’s ten miles away. Lets also say that neither of you hit a red light. In this case your car would get to the destination three minutes and thirty seconds faster than the other driver. Only you can decide if the time savings is worth the additional risk of an accident or being pulled over by a police officer.
Taking a long trip is of course a different story as far as time savings. Let’s say you’re travelling 240 miles. If you were going 80 mph and a family member in another vehicle was traveling 70 mph, you’d arrive 40 minutes before her. Once again it’s your decision but I think there’s much less of a chance of being in an accident in this case plus I’ve never been pulled over when travelling 10 miles over the speed limit. I could’ve just been lucky though; it’s your call!
Slow Progress in Getting Through Intersections
Why does it seem to take so long to get through an intersection? The problem is that all cars don’t move at once. It would actually work if everyone in line would ease on the gas as soon as the light turns green but they don’t. Instead car number two waits for car number one and car number three waits for car number two, and so on. Every time this happens the time you’ll be waiting is adding up.
As a rule of thumb it should take about 2 seconds per car ahead of you for you to reach the intersection. So if you are ten cars back plan on getting to the intersection in twenty seconds. With this in mind if you’re twenty cars back you might not make the light if it’s a short signal. Remember the two second rule is just a rule of thumb because if one driver isn’t paying attention and doesn’t move for five seconds then you’ll take five seconds longer to get to the intersection even if that car guns it when the driver behind him honks his horn.
The Cause of Highway Delays
Who among us hasn’t been livid when crawling along because of a traffic accident? I always feel guilty that I’m complaining when the people involved in the accident are the ones who are really having a bad day. In most cases we get mad because we know people are rubber necking. Although I hate to admit it I find it too tempting to look at the accident as I pass by so I’m a rubber necker! But the question is, does rubber necking cause major delays?
A lot of people were interested in this topic so physicists tackled the issue. What they found was rubber necking is a small part of what slows traffic down. The best way to explain what they figured out is to imagine yourself in a helicopter and you see a wreck that just occurred and cars stacking up behind the accident. You notice the inside lane is clear and cars are slowly moving into that lane by merging in with other vehicles. At the same time you look back and see the traffic stacking up further and further down the road.
So first of all, traffic is backing up due to the bottle neck. Anytime a mass is squeezed through a small opening it backs everything else up. But the biggest issue is this; each driver not only has to wait for the car in front of him to move but they also trigger a delay on average of five seconds before they’re moving steadily. This is unlike a signal light which has a two second delay per car. The reason for the difference is that cars generally move pretty quickly at an intersection once the traffic starts moving while cars stacked up in a traffic delay start moving very slowly and continue this until they reach the spot of the wreck.
If you’re a few hundred cars down the road it will be at least sixteen minutes for your car to start moving. Then of course it will take you a couple of minutes to reach the crash site. As we’ve all experienced this is the point where things really open up. Cars start flying down the road and you’ll notice traffic isn’t as bad because it’s been spread out for miles because of the impact of the accident.
Hope it helps. You might already have known these things but maybe the specific data was interesting.