Over across the big pond, there’s a pretty reputable educational institution referred to as Heriot-Watt’s Institute for Infrastructure and Environment. It’s there that one Dr. Guy Walker, Associate Professor in Human Factors, does research trying to figure out how to prevent traffic jams. In other words, he’s a modern hero.
Walker released findings that are interesting to say the least. They suggest that there isn’t some mechanism to traffic jams that makes us helpless to their existence. According to Phys.org, Walker’s conclusion is that the cause of traffic jams is the accumulation of “small actions from individual drivers.” In other words… IT’S YOUR FAULT!!!
More specifically, people merge too early when confronted by a lane closure. Instead of merging “at the forefront of the queue,” as Walker eloquently puts it, people move into the open lane as soon as possible. And from this, traffic begins to back up.
Here’s the thing though. Walker is analyzing British driving tendencies. What about here in the New World? Walker’s research says nothing about what goes on here but for those of us who drive on American highways everyday, the idea that drivers are too polite probably doesn’t hold water.
In any case, maybe the solution is to take the middle ground. Don’t be too polite and don’t be too aggressive. See how that works.