Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt

February 8, 2009
By Yasha BRONZE, Plano, Texas
Yasha BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic presents how driving the way we do reflects our nature. It portrays each and every aspect of the traffic world surrounding us. Anyone can become better drivers once they have read this book. Why should one become a late merger? When are dangerous roads safer? Why does the other lane seem faster? All of these questions are answered in a perfectly logical manner with tons of experiments meticulously conducted to prove the facts about traffic.
Written in a logical, informative manner, this book explores various facts about the world we drivers are unaware of. Some of them include that we must become late mergers as it helps the lane move faster as supposed to early merging. People talking on cell phones while driving do not remember more objects while they drive because the 'eyes and attention are a slippery pair' (Vanderbilt 88). Roundabouts which seem dangerous actually reduce delays by up to 65 percent over an intersection. Traffic signs, which we all think would slow the driver's speed, causes more danger than without them as it is difficult to say what's going in the mind of a reader after he/she reads it. According to Vanderbilt, research has been proven to show that accidents can be avoided when we get rid of the traffic signs.
The author has also included a lot of analogy to bring the clear picture right in front of the reader. He compares the movement of ants to that of humans' driving. Ants move at the 'same speed and can feel their neighbors' presence' (Vanderbilt 110) but humans like to set their own speeds and separate themselves which will lead to accidents. He also compares the cars moving on the highway to the rice being poured through a tunnel. Pouring the rice in a smooth, controlled way will take less time to flow than pouring the rice all at once.
With good research, the author shows sound statistics and views from various well educated people to prove his point across. It is also an easy-read and entertainingly detailed so that the readers tend to relate them to their real life experiences and don't want to put the book down. More than just the facts about traffic and how we can improve our ways when we drive, Vanderbilt also helps us understand the human nature and the world around us. It really helps the readers change their view about the world and become better drivers than they think they really are.

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