There’s nothing worse. You’re heading down the highway when, suddenly, traffic brings what was a smooth drive to a screeching halt.
You think to yourself, “There must be an accident.”
Then, a few miles down the road, the jam clears with no evidence of twisted metal or burnt rubber in sight.
What’s behind this frustrating commuter’s dilemma?
YouTube sensation C.P.G. Grey, known for explainer videos, has released a simple step-by-step explanation – and solution – for this highway enigma.
Traffic is a product of humans and our slow responses, the video says.
For example, more cars would get through a traffic light if they all accelerated at the same rate at same time after the light turned green. Because our reaction speeds differ, this rarely happens.
The video explains the phenomena of “phantom intersections” that cause bottlenecks on otherwise free-flowing highways. One driver can tap their brakes and start a chain reaction that can seemingly last ages, especially if the road to busy.
“This phantom intersection moves,” the narrator explains. “It’s really a traffic snake slithering down the road eating oncoming cars on one end and pooping them out on the other.”
Luckily, the video says, there is a solution. Unfortunately, that solution is banning humans from the road and replacing them with self-driving cars, which appears to be a little ways off – and would be a problem for anyone who actually enjoys driving (while not in traffic, of course).
Check out the video below to see this excellent explanation of why traffic happens and how we (might) fix it: