Monday, November 3, 2008


I've been reading this book called Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).

The author, Tom Vanderbilt, starts off with a discussion of early merging versus late merging and argues that it's better — in terms of using all possible road capacity, faster, safer, etc. — to be a late merger.

(That is, unless you mind people who haven't read the book glaring at you for being a late-merging jerk.)

There is a pretty interesting discussion about vehicular communication and how we don't get a lot of feedback on our driving. Everyone I know thinks they're a pretty good driver (with one exception) but we've all seen people on the road that we definitely wouldn't call good drivers. Vanderbilt says the disconnect is in the lack of feedback.

For instance, the car in front of you may be veering from one side of the lane to the other because they're eating a bagel and talking on their cell phone, but they're distracted so they don't notice and there's not really an easy way to for you to tell them (if you'd even want to).

Once again, I'm not quite done with the book yet, but my library fines are stacking up, so I think I'm as done as I'll probably get. (If you're interested in reading it, give it a few days and then check the central library's popular materials room. You know, the one with all the DVDs.)

Oh, Tom Vanderbilt also has a blog.


Wintermute said...
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Stacey Greenberg said...

is it safe to assume that i am the one exception?

marycash said...


Not that I've ever been scared to be in a car with you. It's been loud in there, but not generally scary.