On two separate instances there were massive delays caused by accidents. Since everyone was grumbling along at less than three miles per hour, I was able to get a really good long look at the accident scenes. Both had the tell-tale signs of
Tailgating is Stupid
Riding someone's bumper doesn't get you anywhere any faster! Instead, it raises your stress level while reducing your safety and stopping distance. Worse still, it typically triggers waves of brake lights to reverberate backwards thereby slowing down the rest of the
Science of Tailgating
Former Acadia University physics professor, Doug "DC" Craigen, says:
The loss of critical stopping distance and reaction time makes this very unsafe. Also, the shorter time forces us to react more strongly to everything the car in front does, making the drive much harder on our nerves and on our car. Can we justify all this by getting to our destination faster?
Short answer: no. But here's the interesting long answer (some algebra).
With science in mind, could someone please point me to the study that shows how much lost productivity can be attributed to traffic jams and accidents caused by tailgating? I have to imagine it would be immense enough to warrant a serious anti-tailgating campaign.
What if instead of tailgating we use a safer more polite and utilitarian method of saying, "I'm going faster than you, get out of my way?" Here's an actionable idea: start using your horn more. If that's too harsh, we should make another horn tone that is less alarming and more "excuse me."