Ooh! Flashy lights! Shiny!

I was on the New Jersey Turnprick, I mean Turnpike, yesterday. After sitting around for an hour around exit 8A where everything squeezes down from six lanes to three, I finally get moving. Only problem is, two miles later I get to sit in traffic for another 45 minutes. Why? Because someone got a flat tire and there are flashing lights on the tow truck, and everyone behind the wheel of a vehicle is apparently required by international law to slow down from 70 to 20mph to look at ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! It’s okay, though. It’s not like I didn’t have another 250 miles to drive. I like sitting in traffic.

Bonus rant:
Hey, you. Yeah, you asshole. No, I’m not going to let you over. I’ve been waiting in line for 20 minutes to get to this toll booth. You can ride down the EZ Pass lane and try to cut in front of me, but it’s not going to happen. You can flash your lights and honk your horn all you want. You can even make obscene gestures at me and lean out the window and insult my mother. I’m still not going to let you over. As far as I’m concerned, you can fucking rot right there. It’s douchebags like you who cause traffic holdups like the one in the above paragraph. Fuck off.

he must be the same obnoxious turd (my favorite word for bad drivers) who, when we’re all crawling on the LIE at 10-15, and I’ve left room between me and the vehicle in front of me, decides that’s just enough space for him to slide into. (hey, grammar nazis - leave me alone)
Doesn’t he realize the first law of traffic jams? any lane you’re in is by definition the slowest lane? - so yeah, thanks for making my lane slower.
other times, I am convinced there is a sign on my car that says “go ahead. cut me off.”

It’s a common misconception that traffic jams are caused by people continuously stopping to look at something minor like a flat tire, but what you’re actually seeing is a traffic phase transition. Once the density of cars reaches a critical value, the system becomes highly sensitive to fluctuations and will inevitably freeze. All it takes is a few people tapping their brakes when they see the tow truck lights to trigger it, after which it doesn’t matter whether or not anyone else looks at the accident. The system is already frozen.

Case in point: last night we were driving on the freeway and hit several miles of complete standstill. We called traffic information and found out that there had been a big accident about ten miles up about 40 minutes earlier. However, within about four miles, the traffic spontaneously cleared. We went from 10 mph to 60 mph within a quarter mile. The accident had obviously been cleared a little while before that, and a melting line was moving it’s way backward through the traffic jam. Within an hour, I’m sure there was no memory of the jam.

Sorry for the hijack, I just think the physics of traffic jams is fascinating. Put enough cars in the same place and you have about as much free will as a water molecule in the freezer.

No, but in my jurisdiction, you are required by local law to move to a different lane, or slow down if that’s not possible. Imagine the traffic jam that would result if people actually followed that little law.

But I’m sure it doesn’t help dissolve the freeze that every single turd-yokel slows down and whips his head around to gawk. I don’t care about the turn-yokel from a half hour ago, I can’t flip him off. It’s the turd-yokel that’s ahead of me now that makes my blood boil.

I agree, they are interesting. However, I still believe the world would be a better place if I could shoot every rubbernucker in the fucking face with a sawed-off shotgun.

I don’t understand this, are you saying that the person has the option to just speed ahead and not look? Aren’t all drivers just slowed down already? Looking, or rubernecking would hardly seem to be the problem.

Yes.

I don’t doubt that in some instances things are screwed up enough already by heavy traffic and previous rubberneckers, that new gawkers don’t make a lot of difference. In others, the problem is compounded and prolonged by HUA drivers hoping for a sight of smashed metal and/or gore.

Question: are rubbernecking delays worse when the situation involves fans exiting an ice hockey arena? :smiley:

How do you know it was a flat tire and not a blown head gasket or overheating?

Now, I’m all over the bonus rant. Fucknuggets who try to race to the front of the line in the lane that disappears, then try to wedge themselves into traffic need to be publicly flogged. I’d put up with the traffic jam of rubber-neckers watching that any day. 10 lashes with a cat for every car you passed in line.

Hey, what did the cat do? Use a porcupine!

My bad. I should have been more specific. Different kind of cat: Cat O’Nine Tails. :smiley:

A quasi-scientific test has been carried out with a replica cat made to exactly the same spec as its naval forebear; a 13 oz. cat with 2’ long tails. The tests were carried out by a 5’10" man of average build on various pieces of knot-free pitch pine. A ¾" by ¾" piece broke into 3 bits on the first blow while a 1" by 1" piece broke on the second. The tails appeared to spread no more than 3".

Not only that, I imagine they are the same kind of fucknugget who will cut someone off at speed during traffic, thus starting those traffic phase transitions.

All will be good when the robots drive our cars for us. :cool:

Yeah, let’s abuse the cats who are differently abled. :rolleyes:

If the traffic is dense enough, it’s my contention that people turning their head to look don’t make any difference. The traffic is going to freeze up no matter what you do – it’s just more likely to nucleate around something like a flat tire.

None of this applies in light traffic with a serious accident where people are slowing down to look at the smashed up cars. There you could argue that the gawkers are artificially increasing the local density and causing the freeze, and thus reasonably argue for shooting them in the face. I think more often than not people misidentify the former situation as the latter, though.

OK, I’ll stop ruining your rant now. :slight_smile:

This happened to a friend and I at Disneyland and it ended up making our day. Everybody is in line and waiting to pay for parking. Douche Mc Baggins and his skank girlfriend speed along a CLEARLY closed lane, get to the front (where we are) and try to cut over. Well, I ain’t havin’ it.

He honks, he flashes lights, he rolls down his window. Skankzilla (I mean, REALLY, who wears something that low cut and that much makeup to Disneyland?) leans out the window and starts cursing-loudly. At this point we just start laughing- hysterically. This pissed of D.M.B. and Skankzilla even more. They start trying to force their way in by damn near ramming into the car; he’s cursing, she’s screaming and gesturing out the window, we’re laughing.

So they continue to scream, but somewhere in the background you hear some dude yell, “DUDE! IT’S THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!!” At this point I laugh so hard that I can hardly drive. Douche pulls in behind me and all was well.

We saw them around the park a few times, Skankzilla seemed to be pissed off all day. Ha.

Good lord, I will preview next time- promise.

I think this is a trick question. If I tell you that I saw that it was a flat tire, you’ll say I was rubbernecking and am a hypocrite. Well, I ain’t fallin’ for that one, smart guy. :wink:

I have no idea what you’re going on about here, though.

Hey I thought you meant the Catalytic converter (called the cat)
I was also hoping that the cat would be at operating temp (540F) when you lashed them with it. :smiley:

Yes. IME, most of the time as soon as you pass the tow truck, traffic is clear again. Driver’s are perpetuating the cycle by continuing to sloow down and look. Whenever something like this happens, I make an effort to NOT look, and to stare forward and accellerate once I am safely able to.
Just doing my part to try and ease the congestion.