Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt

February 9, 2009
By Allison Rude BRONZE, Plano, Texas
Allison Rude BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When someone says 'traffic,' what do you think of? The backup or lack of flow of car movement? Tom Vanderbilt goes out of his way to explain that this is not the only case. 'Traffic' can also refer to the way people drive, or their driving habits in general. Traffic does not only explain driving, it explains human nature.
Vanderbilt uses different types of experiments and research to prove that the way we drive effects the way we live. Traffic also debunks many common myths about driving; the fact that road rage can be good for society; more crashes happen on sunny, dry days than on wet, rainy days; and that late merging can actually be a good thing. Vanderbilt explains how a roundabout can in fact have much safer results than a traffic light. He even compares drivers' to ants, locusts, and crickets. He goes into depth on the psychology of commuting and why women cause more congestion than men. Vanderbilt explains how more roads lead to more traffic and that 'dangerous' roads, in actuality, are safer (such as roundabouts and highways), and why driving in a familiar place is much safer than driving in on an unfamiliar road.
How many times have you been driving and seen somebody do something unthinkable in the lane next to you, or you even do it yourself, such as speed through a yellow light, weave through traffic to get around slower drivers, or even completely roll through a stop sign? Vanderbilt explains that even these things that do only on the road explain who we are as a person. These things that we think may not be that big of a deal can make us realize that we are not as good of drivers as we think we are.
As a driver, I can now understand that I may not be as good of a driver as I thought I was. How do you think you rate?

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