AUG 18, 2016 11:21 AM PDT

The Science Behind Traffic Jams


Why does it seem impossible to avoid traffic jams even when traffic appears to be moving at a steady rate?

Perhaps it's because of perception and the imperfections of the human mind. Although sometimes construction and bottlenecks of road size are a lot of the problem with traffic jams, especially during rush hour, there may be some kind of mental aspect to this problem as well.

In a study, participants were asked to drive in a complete circle for a period of time, while being asked to maintain a constant speed. After some time, some cars started to exhibit fluctuating speeds. Like a domino effect, it affected every car behind it and started a chain reaction.

It seems that as soon as the traffic jam begins due to one person's impaired cognitive process, it's really hard to put an end to the chain reaction, and it causes an ongoing problem for the rest of the traffic.

It can be hard to stop a traffic jam, but you can prevent them by keeping a constant speed with cruise control and by keeping enough of a following distance to make adjustment in speed without affecting the traffic behind you.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 26, 2018
Videos
SEP 26, 2018
Sydney Brain Bank and CTE
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated blows to the head, results in a unique form of dementia that includes irrational anger,...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Chinese Hospital Ship Sails Into Venezuela
The Chinese hospital ship, the Ark of Peace, is a humanitarian effort by the Chinese government to provide health care to developing countries or areas in...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Learning how Bacterial Chemicals Impact Human Health
We play host to a huge number of microbes, and all the chemicals that they produce....
OCT 06, 2018
Videos
OCT 06, 2018
Explore a Human Cell with an Interactive Website
The Allen Institute is aiming to enhance our understanding of how human cells function....
OCT 10, 2018
Videos
OCT 10, 2018
Are Personality Tests Scientifically Accurate?
Personality tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and others are used to find out what a person is like, internally. They measure reac...
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
An Ancient Genetic Element can Help Fight Cancer
Researchers have been trying a variety of ways to boost the immune system we all have so it's able to fight off cancer....
Loading Comments...