Bottleneck - a Users Guide
Why is it that whenever two lanes merge and become
one, there is always
a traffic jam? A.k.a. Bottleneck?
The Marriam-Webster Dictionary
describes a Bottleneck
as; 1- a narrow passage or point of congestion. or 2- something that obstructs
I say that it is all of the above. A Bottleneck is a narrow passage
AND point of congestion
that obstructs AND impedes!
Some people say a Bottleneck is simply the layout of
the road, when two lanes merge and become one.
But, when police officers, safety
experts, truck drivers and even traffic reporters are talking about a Bottleneck,
talking about a traffic jam.
A traffic jam, that occurs when two or more lanes
And too many drivers try to merge at the last second.
It's really a little more
complicated than that though. Because a real traffic jam, that is when the
stops, is usually caused by a chain of events.
Of course, if a big log fell
the road and blocked it, that might be a single event that caused a traffic
jam, but I am talking
about a traffic jam that happens for no apparent reason. The traffic is rolling
fine well ahead of you, but the traffic directly in front of you is stopping.
a knee-jerk reaction. And a chain reaction.
The series of events usually goes something
1- Someone is trying to merge at the last second because
he is in a hurry
and he doesn't want to loose a second of his precious time (maybe he is bleeding
but that's another story). Then,
2- Someone else, who is following too
close to the car
in front of him (probably bleeding to death too, from his head, because he
is starting to think
that if he gets another foot closer, he will get there sooner), suddenly realizes
that he has
to slow down to let this first guy in. Then,
3- The next guy, who wants
to merge at the
last second too (he's not bleeding to death, he's just late for bowling), tries
in behind the guy who is stepping on his brakes. Then,
4- The guy who was
has to really stop hard, but just before he comes to a complete stop, he decides
5- Now the whole highway is coming to a complete stop.
And all because
of a few people in a hurry, who just happened to be next to each other.
which happens everyday, is a good example of why it is important to leave room
Ok, now that we know what causes a bottleneck (merging at the last second,
and trying to go faster than the flow of traffic), let's discuss how to prevent
them from happening.
The trick is, to visualize the flow of traffic,
as a whole, and drive
at or just below
the average speed. You can't see the flow of traffic if you are within fifty
feet of the car
in front of you. Or one hundred feet if there is a truck in front of you. You
need to see well
ahead, otherwise you wont see it.
Once you can see the true flow
of traffic, that
is, the average speed of everybody around you, you will then begin to notice
who is trying
to drive faster than the flow. These are the ones who will cause a bottleneck
and mess it up
for all of us, if we're not careful. Give them room because
they are coming
anyway. If you try to contain them, then you are starting that chain of events.
Sometimes, when there is a bottleneck happening, I will see a truck staying
back in the lane
that is ending. His intent is right. He understands that all of these
cars that are
trying to squeeze through are just going to cause a bottleneck. And he is trying
to teach them
that they might as well prepare to merge now, instead of trying to cram it
in at the last second,
making everyone stop. However, you can get a ticket for that.(Obstructing traffic).
it's not fair, but that's the law. And unfortunately, the real culprits will
be getting away.
What we really need is more help from the police, writting tickets for merging
at the last
second and tailgating. Unfortunately, merging at the last second, is not against
the law. But,
you could call it obstructing traffic. That is what they are doing. And tailgating,
only dangerous, it is one of the main causes of bottlenecks and traffic jams.
And when you
give a ticket to one of these me-first people, you should explain what a bottleneck
how they are the cause of it. And hopefully they will learn something.
will probably get worse before it gets better. I think what it will really
take to nip bottlenecks
in the bud, is people telling people. If you know someone who has to be five
feet from the
car in front of him to feel like he is getting somewhere, explain to him that
it doesn't matter
if you're five feet or fifty feet from the car ahead of you, you aren't going
to get there
any sooner if you get closer. And for people who have to merge at the last
second, tell them
to learn math. Passing a few more cars, that are probably going to exit soon
save you any more time than the time it takes to drive a few car lengths. And
tell them that
it is not worth making the whole highway stop, just because they want to pass
a couple of cars
that are probably getting off at the next exit anyway.
never taught us
anything about bottlenecks. And that is why we have them. People just don't
know. It's not
their fault, it's just that nobody ever explained that to them before. So,
would you? Please?
Save this article and pass it on to someone who
|Ten Keys to
(Now available on Video & MP3!)
1. Understand Traffic Waves
2. Prevent Traffic
3. Stay Calm
Do The Math
5. Be Predictable
6. Time Traffic Lights
7. Expect the Expected
Compensate for the Ignorant
9. Teach Others
10. Make Sure an Accident is
Never Your Fault
Here are some satisfied customers-
*Dart Container Corp.
*Kenny Smith Trucking
*and many more.