I am Seattle Traffic

Welcome to IamSeattleTraffic.org. Personal Responsibility is the Cure to the Commute.

I encourage you to read the Welcome post and to learn more about The Universal Goals of the Commute, Driving In Congestion, and Traffic Zen.

Some other fun ones are Pac-Manning, Don't Stop Moving, and The Flying V.

Spread the word by printing up a FREE poster or purchasing an attractive and informative bumper sticker. It will lead to more enlightenment.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Don't Stop Moving

Yesterday afternoon, I had to get to Seattle from my job in Redmond. I had to be there at 4:30, so I left at about 3:30. I wasn't looking forward to the traffic, but I wanted to use it as an opportunity to use my zen skills.

I made an amazing accomplishment: I did not come to a full stop the entire time I was on SR-520!

The way that I accomplished this was by leaving a ton of room in from of me, and maintaining a constant (slow!) speed as much as possible. The car in front of me kept speeding up and jerking to a stop, over and over again. When they were stopped, I slowly crept toward them. When they started moving I let them pull away and kept creeping at the same speed or I accelerated a little.

The car behind me didn't have to stop either. And neither did the car behind her. When I got on the bridge, I could see pretty far back because it's straight, and I watched a whole line of cars (hundreds of them) that were all flowing together in one continuous motion.

The car directly behing me didn't leave me much room at first, but by the time we got to the bridge, she realized what was going on and started staying pretty far back from me. So cars behind her were getting a double buffer of fluid traffic.

I hear from people quite a bit "if you leave a lot of room, other cars will just fill it." The reality is that it doesn't happen as much as you'd think. A few cars will zoom in and get in front of you, but it really doesn't affect you when you're further back. And chances are they would have changed lanes at some point anyway, so this way at least they have the room they need and don't cause a backup while they change lanes.

Please start leaving room in front of your car when you're in congestion. Not only will your stress be reduced (it gives you a challenge too, which is fun) but the cars behind you will thank you too.


Mack said...

You save a lot on fuel driving that way.

copykit said...

And it lowers the blood pressue too!

Sara said...

This is great! I try to do this too. It really does make the drive less frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Am I ever glad to find your Blog about ways to improve the Commute for all Commuters.

I thought I was the first one to think of your idea to leave lots of room ahead. I was even thinking of calling it the Good Samaritan Commuter Club.

I felt that my action of leaving 6 to 10 car lengths ahead of me had several effects on the traffic: it had a calming affect, mainly on me; I was a facilitator for lane changers who either needed to switch lanes to get from the HOV lane to an exit, or from the On ramp over to the HOV lane; I could watch for brake lights way up ahead and begin to adjust to the slower speed; on Hwy 9, which included stop lights, I would slow to a crawl when cars stopped ahead, and usually the traffic would begin moving again before I had to fully stop, while cars in the next lane were speeding up and then frequently braking.

So what is being done to promote this to the commuter public? If there were approximately 4 "Don't Stop Moving" commuters per mile, I'll bet that the commute would run more smoothly and with fewer accidents. I'm planning to contact the Street Smarts Editor at the Everett Herald. Who can do the same with the Times and the PI??

I drive Spaced Out; how about you!??


wbeaty said...

I've linked your page to TRAFFICWAVES.ORG in the Seattle links section. My whole website was based on 520 traffic-waves. Check out the animations, and I've added a new video about northbound I-5 just south of the Seneca St. Exit. -Bill B.