How Does Freeway Traffic Happen? [Pic]

Submitted by: fancylad 7 years ago in

If you drive, and think you"re ever going to spend any time in traffic, maybe this infographic will settle your madness.
There are 59 comments:
Male 228
this raises my blood pressure just looking at it.
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Male 487
should have said rails the *brakes*
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Male 487
i read an article a while ago that said something like if cars where automated this wouldn`t happen, and the rush hour gridlock would be reduced around %40. Human driving behavior has more of an effect on traffic flow than the amount of cars (unless it`s an absurdly large # of cars).

Ever been in gridlock behind (or you are) that guy on the highway who guns it as soon as a little gap opens up, then rails the breaks because they`ve caught up with the person in front of them? That`s exactly what causes this poo...
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Female 111
I wanna see that semi-truck go over that hill.
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Female 2,352
Sh*t like this makes me hate commuting though there are more highways here than freeways and they never come to a crawl unless there is a crash.
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Male 299
@PaganMomBlog: Shifting down actually makes your own car`s engine act as a brake, without triggering the brake light. Unless, of course, you are "high-revving", when the "motor braking" only occurs effectively at least two shifts down.

I believe even automatic-shift cars have a gear selector.
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Female 166
Apparently in Cleveland, Links. Although, I do recall Cleveland`s hills being a little less severe than that...

And this accounts for only some freeway traffic where I live. People who feel like going neck and neck at thirty, very poorly timed road repairs, and ridiculously nosy rubberneckers are the culprits more often than not, it seems.
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Male 440
Where in the world do freeways look like that?
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Male 3,631
Give Twitter 10 more years, and it should look something like this:

no sh*t, this is why i HATE divers who use their breaks to slow mo down on high way. All you have to do is lay down the gas and if there`s need to slow down quickly (accident avoidance) then prison breaks are fine. Them breakneck lights make the prison behind you break, then the next person, and son. so the jack$$ who needed to slow down 5mph just to make the diver 10 cars back have to slam on his breaks as well.
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Male 3,631
Very interesting - I love traffic studies of all kinds.
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Male 440
man this spammer is really persistant.
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Female 322
there should be a rule against spamming on here if there isn`t already
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Male 277
ForAllThSin -- Brake, you mean brake.
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Female 48
@ForAllTheSin I take it you live in flat land area then? I live in the mountains of NC and you can`t just lay off the gas to slow down, like say when you are going downhill. And since no one else seems to drive at the same speed as another you are less likely to be able to lay off the gas to slow down as well.
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Female 614
good to post this. i always feel like i`m in kindergarten, and the line leaders are going way too slow so the rest of us are too close to each other. i need ma space!
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Male 2,893
hmmmmmmm.
i always though it was ninjas running across the road that cause car A to stop.
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Male 1,153
kinda obvious
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Male 2,748
huh... or, you could not drive like a jackass
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Female 15,763
Aren`t there highways where the car like... drives itself at 80 mph...?

I wonder if I can make that sentence sound stupider. :X
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Male 15,832
You can start one of these jams by simply activating your brake lights without even slowing down. The car behind you will see the lights and tap his brakes slowing a little, the next guy will slow a little more and so on till some poor s.o.b. a mile back has to come to a complete stop. The knot of stopped traffic will propagate backwards like a wave. In fact, the phenomenon can be modeled in a computer using wave theory.
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Male 9,305
MechBFP, that is so goddamn stupid to do. If they even so much as tap their brakes you`re royally f*cked and you could cause a horrendous accident! Think about someone other than yourself before you kill them!
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Male 1,054
"I have known this for years and it is why I purposely ride the ass of a driver in front of me if they are driving like a Sunday driver during rush hour. It gets them the drat moving and it prevents unnecessary traffic jams."

And one day, you`ll cause an accident, get killed, and trigger a traffic jam as gawkers slow down to stare at the bloody paste that is all that is left of you.

When you tailgate someone, they have to slow down even more, since they now need room ahead of them to brake in if something is wrong, otherwise you`ll plow into them from behind.

Stay in Canada.
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Male 813
I have known this for years and it is why I purposely ride the ass of a driver in front of me if they are driving like a Sunday driver during rush hour. It gets them the drat moving and it prevents unnecessary traffic jams.
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Female 654
asshat...where can i get an asshat?
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Male 21
Interesting!
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Female 536
The DMV should really make the driving tests harder so some of these asshat drivers couldn`t get licenses in the first place. There would also be the added bonus of fewer people out on the road, which I very much like the sound of.
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Male 8,302
@Delta

Sadly no, its because everyone is a perfect driver. Just ask any particular one of them.
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Female 4,447
I agree with Delta here. LEARN HOW TO DRIVE YOU ASSHATS!
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Male 877
old...news
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Male 1,958
It`s because PEOPLE DON`T KNOW HOW TO TO DRIVE!!!
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Female 106
Its basically just because people are idiots and one fxup screws traffic for miles.
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Female 9,562
"Its all becasuse of old people drivers :p"

Ditto.
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Male 1,351
Well at least we know why traffic stops in Cleveland:

The roads are freakin roller coasters...
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Female 460
I have a huge fear of driving up/stopping on really steep hills. Well drat, now I`m going to have nightmares because of this picture.
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Male 363
I thought it was because of accidents too.
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Male 25,417
Its all becasuse of old people drivers :p
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Male 1,222
It happened because the yellow car wasnt in the "getting the fck off the freeway" lane.
Probably a woman.
Women should not drive.
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Female 1,427
"I always thought it was because there was an accident and people were rubbernecking..."

Agreed.
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Male 40,416
It`s also called the "reverse catterpillar" it looks like a catterpillar crawling the wrong way down the freeway (from the air, over time).
There`s often no "cause" for it, it just happens in heavy traffic, eh?
Otherwise... zzzzzzzzzzz
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Male 9,305
I always thought it was because there was an accident and people were rubbernecking...
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Male 2,125
It all happens cause one dick screws up for no apparent reason.
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Male 1,378
old
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Male 7,819
or because of an accident or construction or many other reasons.
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Male 299
@PayN8tention: It occurs probably because of the lag between the event happening and the driver reacting (reaction time).

It is not 0, thus the car has to slow down more in order not to hit the next, increasing the amount of `slowing down more` until they are all going a lot slower than the first one to slow down.
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Male 51
"I understand the domino effect, but why is the speed reduction greater and greater with each preceding car? I mean, why does the car behind car number 2 feel the need to slow down to a speed that`s slower than 45 mph? I`m assuming that all these cars aren`t tailgating."

When the first car slows down, the car behind it is initially still going the same speed. In the moment it takes for the second car to slow down to the first car`s speed, he has closed the gap between him and the first car. Now he must slow down more in order to drop back to a reasonable following distance.
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Male 5,194
Why do freeways come to a stop? Because I said so. Bitch.
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Male 2,034
"I`m assuming that all these cars aren`t tailgating."

Well, there`s your problem.
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Female 934
They call this a "shockwave"; I call it boring.
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Male 159
this is why when they shut down two lanes on a motorway, and everyone is at 70 mph, everyone meeds to speed up to 210mph to have no traffic effect.
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Male 10,440
I took a course in transportation engineering... so this wasn`t new.
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Male 4,867
"Traffic Planners" is a synonym for virgin if anyone was curious
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Male 907
I understand the domino effect, but why is the speed reduction greater and greater with each preceding car? I mean, why does the car behind car number 2 feel the need to slow down to a speed that`s slower than 45 mph? I`m assuming that all these cars aren`t tailgating.

These aren`t rhetorical, `see my point?` questions btw. I very well could be understanding this all wrong.
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Male 12,138
Nonlinear dynamics is a bastard. Damn you chaos theory!
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Female 71
I`d hate to be in the car behind a mack truck stopped on a slope like that.
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Male 1,765
Wow Husani, did you really need a funnel to figure that more cars equals more traffic? What a keen dude.
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Male 3,327
I`ve always known this. It`s a basic principal of physics. If you have a pipe, and you`ve got water coming out of it at a certain speed, and there is a "pinch" in the pipe, the water speeds up at the pinch, which allows the water on both sides of the pinch to continue at a constant speed. If you reduce the number of lanes on a highway, you need to increase your speed through the restricted part to maintain speed outside of the restricted part. But, for safety sake, we reduce the speed, and that causes backups.
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Male 1,357
i`ve heard these called "phantom jams" before. absolute bastards!
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Male 29
The truck at 2 is the real #%$&er since he slowed down without any obstruction ahead in his lane. @$$hole.
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Male 20,830
Link: How Does Freeway Traffic Happen? [Pic] [Rate Link] - If you drive, and think you`re ever going to spend any time in traffic, maybe this infographic will settle your madness.
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