AWSI Musings: Only You Can Prevent Traffic Jams…


We ran across an awesome article in The Wall Street Journal that we felt worth sharing as we roll into the holiday season with folks hitting the roads (to grandmother’s house they go, right?).

Paying attention to this advice from Seattle engineer William Beaty, a leading proponent of jam-busting techniques for individual drivers, could make a huge difference.

He has developed a behind-the-wheel methodology (AKA “jam-absorption driving”), that can prevent
waves of congestion from forming in moving traffic.

Let ‘em in…

Yup, that’s it in a nutshell. You have to allow cars to accelerate freely into your lane. Sounds lame, but it actually works.

  • Maintain a large space ahead of your car.
  • Encourage one, two even three cars to merge ahead of you.
  • If traffic slows to a complete stop, KEEP TWO CAR-LENGTHS OF SPACE OPEN AHEAD OF YOU.
  • Never “punish” merging drivers by closing your gap.

Check out his video below and then give it a try.

We rode along with Annie using Mr. Beaty’s “Mind the Gap” technique and were pleasantly surprised. Plus, the stress level was much lower.

AWSI, his approach is a win-win, as we all get to where we need to go more smoothly and efficiently. Sure, there were always be the self-absorbed that muck with the system, but it more use Mr. Beatty’s approach, we’d all be better off.

Some more links:

  • NPR interview here.
  • Smart Motorist here.

One more tip — Please (PLEASE!) use your headlights early and often. We’ve seen (er… barely) go headlight-less in early dawn, early dusk AND in rainy conditions. WTF…?


The objective is to see AND be seen. So please, just do it!

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for reading and #SCMF !

—The Gang

Bonus Content


Our pal the Enchanted Jukebox has selected some perfect music for this post. Enjoy!


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