Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunday Seven

Patrick's Sunday Seven this week asked "Name seven pet peeves other drivers commit."

1. Unsignaled lane changes.
2. Unsignaled turns.
3. Pulling away from the curb into traffic without signaling. I see this one EVERY DAY when I drop Someone off at school.
4. Stopping at a curb without signaling. This is a regular at shopping centers.
5. Parking in a No Parking zone and blocking traffic "just to run something in." Common at the library, where not pulling into a parking space means that you're blocking an entire lane of traffic.
6. Rubbernecking. To be honest, though, I bet there's no such thing. It's just that the first person past an accident has to slow down to avoid hitting anything, or to make room for the police or an ambulance, and that forces everyone behind them to slow down too. The phenomenon is easily observable in any auto race.
7. I don't like it when I'm driving on the Interstate and I have to pass people on the right because they won't move out of the left lane even though there's no traffic.


  • I heard something on public radio a few years ago about the physics of #6 as explained by a traffic engineer. It was very interesting, but because I went to Grinnell and took no science classes, utterly incomprehensible to me.

    I call #7s "Left Lane Avengers." I don't think I made that up.

    By Anonymous Josh, at 8:59 AM  

  • There are a couple of sites that have traffic simulators that show the effect. I read something in Smithsonian about it, myself; the basic theory is that all traffic jams are caused by one person slowing down--even just a little bit.

    By Blogger Robert, at 9:36 AM  

  • (Fj)Add to the list: People who are stopped at a red light, then signal a left turn when the light turns green.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:40 PM  

  • That's a GREAT one.

    Uh...I accidentally did that one this morning. Fortunately, the person behind me was turning anyway.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4:00 PM  

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