Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About by Tom Vanderbilt

By Tom Vanderbilt

May you be shocked that highway rage will be solid for society? Or that almost all crashes occur on sunny, dry days? That our minds can trick us into considering the subsequent lane is relocating swifter? Or so that you can gauge a nation’s riding habit by way of its degrees of corruption? those are just the various striking dynamics that Tom Vanderbilt explores during this attention-grabbing journey throughout the mysteries of the line.

Based on exhaustive examine and interviews with riding specialists and site visitors officers around the world, Traffic will get less than the hood of the standard task of using to discover the unusually advanced internet of actual, mental, and technical elements that designate how site visitors works, why we force the best way we do, and what our using says approximately us. Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we expect we're. He demonstrates why plans to guard pedestrians from vehicles frequently result in extra injuries. He indicates how roundabouts, that can think harmful and chaotic, truly make roads safer—and lessen site visitors within the discount. He uncovers who's likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why site visitors jams shape, outlines the accidental outcomes of our quest for defense, or even identifies the commonest mistake drivers make in parking lots.

The automobile has lengthy been a critical a part of American existence; no matter if we see it as a logo of freedom or a symptom of sprawl, we outline ourselves via what and the way we force. As Vanderbilt indicates, riding is a provocatively revealing prism for reading how our minds paintings and the ways that we engage with each other. eventually, Traffic is set greater than riding: it’s approximately human nature. This publication will swap the way in which we see ourselves and the realm round us. And who is aware? it may well even make us larger drivers.

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Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

May you be shocked that street rage will be strong for society? Or that the majority crashes occur on sunny, dry days? That our minds can trick us into considering the subsequent lane is relocating quicker? Or so you might gauge a nation’s riding habit by means of its degrees of corruption? those are just a number of the awesome dynamics that Tom Vanderbilt explores during this attention-grabbing travel throughout the mysteries of the line.

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I am man! I am you! —Seinfeld The movie Crash opens with the voice of the narrator, a driver in Los Angeles, speaking over a scene of a collision. , nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. ” The statement is absurd, but not without truth. Sometimes, we do come across little moments of humanity in traffic, and the effect is powerful. A classic case you have no doubt experienced is when you are trying to change lanes. You catch someone’s eye, they let you in, and you wave back, flushed with human warmth.

Are we saying there are too many people? Or that there are not enough roads for the people who are there? Or that there is too much affluence, which has enabled too many people to own cars? ” But what is a traffic problem? To a traffic engineer, a “traffic problem” might mean that a street is running below capacity. For a parent living on that street, the “traffic problem” could be too many cars, or cars going too fast. For the store owner on that same street, a “traffic problem” might mean there is not enough traffic.

Chances are you have never looked at yourself in the rearview mirror and thought, “Stupid #$%&! ” Psychologists theorize that the actor-observer effect may stem from one’s desire to feel more in control of a complex situation, like driving in traffic. It also just might be easier to chastise a “stupid driver” for cutting you off than to fully analyze the circumstances that caused this event to occur. On a larger scale, it might also help explain, more than actual national or civic chauvinism, why drivers the world around have their own favorite traffic targets: “The Albanians are terrible drivers,” say the Greeks.

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