Lately I’ve been driving between San Fernando and Port of Spain, a 52.3 km haul by Google Maps. Going North, I avoid the traffic, and going South, I typically do.
Yesterday, I didn’t.
We all know that traffic sucks. We all know we waste fuel in it. And sometimes there are legitimate reasons for it – but yesterday evening there was no reason. People were simply driving slow for no apparent reason.
I’d just fueled my new vehicle before I headed down South. It keeps an average of litres per 100 km, a somewhat wonky measurement, but it’s interesting to watch with my driving habits. Having now filled up 3 times, and having reset the trip meter a few times, I know that the vehicle starts off at an optimistic 15+ litres per 100 km. After the last 2 tanks, I know that with my driving habits, I typically see at the end of the tank about 10.4-11 litres per 100 km – not bad, really.
Yesterday evening, in traffic, I watched that gauge dive to 7.7 litres per 100 km.
People were driving slow in the overtaking lanes. The speed limit is 100 km/hr, they were doing as fast as 80 km/hr – for no apparent reason – and then the frequent stops.
“…The scientists, whose research appears in a special edition of the scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, found that timid drivers had the biggest impact because they “shied away” when the car in front started slowing down, and deliberately started driving even more slowly to increase the gap between them.
This then led to cars further behind going more slowly.
Aggressive drivers also caused speed to drop because they braked hard at the last moment to avoid driving into the car in front. They then had to drive more slowly to open up a space again…”
So, all people have to do is keep moving at the same pace. All people have to do is get out of the overtaking lane when not overtaking, and if in that lane not drive 20 km/hr below the speed limit.
Higher fuel prices affect everyone. Traffic affects everyone. Until we all have electric cars, this all directly pollutes (yes, electric indirectly pollutes).
Traffic doesn’t have to form for no reason. And if you think you’re not part of the problem, that doesn’t mean you aren’t. Too much space of too little space between vehicles is exactly why these traffic jams start.