Want to Get To Your Destination Faster? Then Don't Change Lanes

It's just an optical illusion.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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We have all done it. We are running late for an important appointment and suddenly we are stuck in traffic. In an effort to get to our destination faster we start switching lanes over and over again. But does this approach really work? 

Two researchers from the University of Toronto actually ran a simulation to compare how changing lanes constantly would affect one’s travel time. The simulation consisted of two lanes of stop-and-go traffic where cars were traveling at roughly the same average speed.

The researchers concluded that the cars driving more aggressively got to their destination at about the same time as their more passive counterparts but at a higher risk of getting into an accident.

Why does changing lanes not work at going faster? It's because as a driver, the faster lane is just an optical illusion.  Since you are standing still in one lane, you experience the other lane as seemingly faster.  But in reality, the only way you could really know the speeds of both the lanes is to stand on the side of the road as a neutral observer.

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What else did the researchers discover about traffic? Is there a way to get to your destination faster and safely? We answer these questions and more in our video.

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