We've all been stuck in stop-and-go traffic and probably resorted to switching lanes in an attempt to get to our destinations faster. While this practice makes you feel more in control, it doesn't reduce your travel time by much, if at all. Here's why.
Traffic engineers time stop lights on urban streets in order to control the average traffic flow. If you've ever driven on these streets in very light traffic such as late at night, you may have noticed that you can set your speed so that all the lights turn green when you reach them. Trying to drive faster than this speed just gets you to the next light before it turns green. This means there's little point in lane switching in heavy traffic if it's already going at this designed speed.
If the traffic is stop-and-go, lane switching is equally futile because the traffic light ahead of you will turn red long before you reach it. At this point, you may have successfully jockeyed in front of a few cars, but your average speed is the same as anyone else's.
In heavy traffic that is moving at a steady pace, everyone is traveling at the same speed. Frequent lane switching in an effort to beat this speed will result in no gains. The reason is that all the lanes are more or less going at the same speed. Some lanes may go just a bit faster than others, but they will eventually slow down again. Switching a lane causes the car that you move in front of to brake. This causes the traffic behind him to hit their brakes as well. This sets up a shock wave pattern in the traffic behind you, which means that the traffic will be slowing down and speeding up like an accordion or a slinky.
In stop-and-go traffic, everyone also moves at about the same average speed. Each lane can be thought of as a giant accordion or a slinky, where parts of it are moving while other parts are stopped. When your lane is momentarily stopped and you switch lanes, you're just hopping onto the moving part of another slinky, which will shortly slow down and stop while the lane you just left starts to speed up.
In short, you can't force yourself through heavy traffic any faster than its average speed. It controls your speed and there is little you can do about it. Choose a lane and stick with it.
Lane switching disrupts the traffic behind you and endangers the cars around you. You can also get a citation for excessive lane changing which causes a multiple point penalty against your driving record.
If the officer interprets your actions as aggressive driving, the consequence could be a more severe penalty against your driving record. These penalties will likely increase your auto insurance rates. In addition, insurance providers consider aggressive drivers to be high risk and they will adjust their rates accordingly. Causing an accident because of lane switching can have similar effects on your premiums. Excessive lane changing isn't worth it.
Keep a cool head, drive safe and get the coverage you need. Call Auto Insurance Discounters at (816) 252-2255 for more information on Kansas City auto insurance.