What is the best way to drive in traffic? --bumper-to-bumper or allowing some space?
April 27, 2012 8:39 PM Subscribe
What is the best way to drive in traffic in order to smooth out the flow and get to your destination quickly?
posted by ramenopres to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I drive in rush-hour traffic regularly and spend a lot of time thinking about exactly how the traffic works. I would like to know whether the way I drive is as helpful for everyone else as it is for me and/or if there is a "best practice" for driving in traffic.
From what I can see, there are two options. Let's assume there is only one lane.
(1) Occupy any space in front of you as soon as you can. This results in jerky driving as you accelerate, then brake, over and over.
(2) Maintain a relatively constant, but slower, speed by allowing more space in front of you; if the car brakes, you'll take up that empty space. Often employed by trucks. If done right, you won't have to stop often because the car in front will have started moving again by the time you reach them.
I started to do (2) because I drive a stick and braking/shifting is a pain in the rear. From that it became a fun contest to see if I could go an entire rush-hour session without coming to a full stop. It occurred to me that this could help the flow of traffic by making it smoother and keeping everyone moving.
But is that even right?
Is there one method that bugs other drivers more than the other?