Have you ever wondered which lane is fastest?
You know the drill: You get on the highway, you choose the lane you think is moving the fastest, and then boom: You’re at a dead stop. But cars are zipping by you. How can you be sure to choose the lane that is moving? It’s a matter of science, according to a recent article in the New York Times. “Studies show that the perception that one lane is moving faster is often a psychological illusion.”
From phantom jams to ‘shock waves’ that slow traffic, we are subject to a lot of traffic phenomena. But there are ways to avoid it. Here’s how you can choose the best lane to drive in:
1. Stay away from the far right lane – there is a lot going on. Drivers are merging and exiting, and so are trucks. This applies to roads with three lanes of traffic. If there are only two lanes of traffic, some state laws require vehicles to only use the left lane when passing other vehicles.
2. Accelerate when changing lanes. This will keep you from causing traffic problems for the cars behind you.
3. Watch out for construction signs that may require you to change lanes or reduce speed.
4. Backed up traffic – Be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes traffic is going slow or stopped for a phantom jam. Everyone is going slow and suddenly, you hit the end of it and everyone picks up speed again.
Choose Your Lane and Stick With It
5. Pick a lane – You may be one a lane and want to move to another, but don’t zig-zag through traffic, it could cause an accident.
6. Relax – Don’t become stressed over the traffic and behavior of the other drivers. Stay focused on the road and try to remain calm.
7. Don’t hold up traffic – You should drive at least the minimum speed on the road. Move over to allow faster moving traffic to pass if you are driving in the left lane.
8. Merge into traffic at the speed of cars in that lane. You should enter the highway at least the speed the traffic behind you is traveling.
9. Avoid the lane with larger vehicles – trucks take time to slow and get up to speed; this can cause the slowdown of the traffic that follows.
And, stay safe. Above all, make sure you’re comfortable, safe and your travels are smooth. Enjoy the ride!