California’s I-5 highway is notorious for its traffic congestion and frequent car accidents. If you’ve ever traveled north or south along the California coast, you may have experienced some of this traffic yourself. However, many traffic delays and accidents on the I-5 are avoidable when California drivers understand acceleration.
Traffic is largely an issue of acceleration. Even after a crash is moved off the road, drivers in a traffic jam are at the mercy of every driver ahead of them. That’s why traffic jams dissipate in a wave from front to back. Every car in a line must wait for the car ahead of them to notice it’s their turn to move and then accelerate out of the way.
Put another way; if the car ahead of you hits the brakes, you instinctively hit the brakes. This ripples through every car behind you. When this happens, some cars might try to swerve out of their lane to keep momentum, but this creates more problems.
Stay in Your Lane
When someone slides into a small gap between two cars, they create the same sort of acceleration problem as illustrated above. If they don’t have enough space to maintain their speed, they have to slow down, which causes everyone behind them to brake as well. There is a solution to this, however.
Leave Plenty of Space
When you leave at least two car lengths between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, you solve both problems at once. You won’t have to use stop and go tactics if the driver ahead of you slows down, and you’ll provide mergers plenty of space to get ahead of you without having to hit the brakes. This creates a positive impact for both yourself and the hundreds of drivers in line behind you.
When you allow for extra space between cars, you’re both reducing traffic jams and decreasing the likelihood of getting into a car crash. If you’re following too closely to “punish” merging traffic, you are more likely to crash into the car in front of you when they inevitably, and abruptly hit the brakes.
Likewise, if a merging car gets in front of you, having an extra car length will ensure you have enough time to react and gradually reduce your speed, rather than slam the brakes, which could put you at risk of a rear-end collision.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in an auto accident, you might be able to file a claim. If you’d like an experienced Southern California auto injury attorney from Schurmer & Wood to evaluate your case, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (805) 470-1628.