Why do American drivers do this? Are they purely short-sighted with no ability to think ahead?

When there’s a red light ahead of me I stop accelerating in order to save gas and my brakes. sometimes i don’t even have to stop b/c light turns green before i make it. there’s no point in speeding up even at idle crawl, but cars behind me still feel the need to pass even though it makes literally no difference in their ETA.

they just end up stopped right next to me in the other lane or directly in front of me

if there’s a right turn lane ahead or an entrance, then I will wait until I get closer to the intersection before slowing down, in case the person behind me needs to turn right. Otherwise it literally doesn’t matter if I save gas by idling towards the red light until it turns green, yet simpleton caveman drivers think “OG SLOW DOWN, ME REACH PLACE SLOWER!!!”

I find myself doing the same thing, but it helps if you are familiar with the light sequence and timing. Others who may not be as familiar with it might not be as able to mentally compute as you are. Or they are just stupid.

Most drivers also continue to go fast until right before the intersection, when they quickly brake. Again caveman logic of “OG REACH PLACE FASTER IF OG ALWAYS GO FAST”

I drove professionally for decades and have seen every possible kind of driving.

My vote is on short sighted and an inability to think ahead combined with ignorance and a delusional belief in their own driving prowess.

What makes you think this is trait unique to Americans?

I think it is simply human nature. People don’t like to wait. Sure, there is a red light ahead, but they can’t do anything about that. You, on the other hand, going at a snail’s pace when there is plenty of room ahead of you, are just slowing them down. By going around you, they are eliminating one thing that is slowing them down. If you weren’t slowing them down, they wouldn’t be going around you. Sure, they still have to wait for the light, but you are no longer slowing them down.

FWIW, I really doubt this has anything to do with being American. Have you ever driven in any other country? There are places I would not even consider driving (China, for example).

And when a left turn lane opens as you approach an intersection, the car that has been following you darts to the left and accelerates towards the turn, passing you, then brakes. Even if the left turn light is red.


Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Gas is cheap, brakes last a long time nowadays. The other drivers are probably just wondering one there’s just one guy on the road who wants to coast to a stop at a red light that’s 100 yards away, while everyone else is maintaining their speed until they brake at a rate that’s commonly accepted.

I’m not saying that the OP is wrong to coast to a stop. But if very few people on the road are coasting to a stop, and everyone else is braking to a stop; then the question takes on a certain “Why don’t people drive more like me?” vibe.

Usually, when I have seen people do what you do, that means they are going to be slow to start going once the light turns green. I hate that, so I try to go around them so I can be ahead of them once the light turns green.

It’s because I’m actually thinking farther ahead than you. I’m thinking about what you’ll likely be doing after the light goes back to green. So far you’ve shown that you’re one of those slow-ass drivers, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll still be that slow-ass at getting back up to speed after the light changes.

We’re both better off if I’m ahead of you at that point.

Goddamit, why’d you have to go and pass me like that?!? :smiley:

Because you coasted up to the “Submit Reply” button. Speed it up, man!

That’s OK. I can wait. I planned my trip out and am probably early. if you have an emergency feel free to pass me for no apparent reason. I’m already expecting traffic, so what does it matter?
To answer the OP: Maybe you weren’t going slow enough.

You might also consider that by lingering to the light, you are slowing down the line of cars behind you. Not a big concern most of the time, but if we’re talking rush hour traffic, then your moseying can leave cars blocking the previous intersection. There’s a speed between Formula One and Granny on a Sunday drive in 1908. Lights are timed for x number of cars going x number of mile per hour.

Interesting point – if someone aims to coast to a stop at a red light during rush hour around my parts, there’s a decent chance that they stop three carlengths behind the car in front of them, and pull out their phone and start playing Space Invaders or whatever… in which case, other cars can easily pull ahead of the space cadet driver and actually make use of the available roadway.

I coast to a stop because it’s gentler on the engine and brakes, and it saves a little fuel. I need that fuel. I’m going to floor it within a tenth of a second of the light turning green if I’m first at the intersection. I’m not waiting for slowpokes.

There’s on street near me with timed lights. If you average exactly the 30 mph speed limit, you can go from light to light without without hitting the brakes more than once. If you do as the majority on here seem to suggest by going a bit over the speed limit and stopping quickly only as you get right near the traffic light, you will hit the traffic light while it is still red and be forced to a complete stop just as the light is changing to green. That’s the moment when I overtake you maintaining 30 miles per hour. Unless it’s the last light in the series, in which case I will be going 30 mph as the light turns green and accelerating to about 40 while you are completely stopped. Most times, I’ll catch the next light a mile or so down the road while it’s still green and you are still trying to catch me.

I always applauded my coasting to a stop when approaching a red light. Saving gas, brakes. Win, Win!

But, I have never driven amongst “rush hour traffic”. And, I can plainly see that it could ruffle some feathers. And with everyone carrying guns, it takes the fun out of it.

If I’m timing my approach to arrive at the light when it turns green, how am I holding up cars who speed to the red light and have to stop? Those cars then get zero miles per hour while stopped.

BTW, many towns and cities intentionally time their lights for smooth traffic flow at a certain speed. Red light rushers clog up the works in this case. Other towns and cities time their lights to slow traffic as much as possible, and it’s nearly impossible to go two blocks without stopping.

Nobody is suggesting going a bit over the speed limit. Plus, I’m not in a race with anyone, nor am I trying to catch anyone. If you coast to a red light, but then take off quickly when it turns green, then that’s cool. But most coasters continue to lolly-gag after the light turns green.

I like coasting when I see a red light ahead of me. Then, if I get there and it changes such that I can go thru without touching the brake, I win.

I am not naming any names, but certain other people who are also involved in my marriage are very much of the “speed up so we can get to the stop light and wait longer” school of thinking. And she always wonders why I get better mileage than she does, and my brakes last longer.