Friday, May 27, 2005

Bad Drivers: Element, Environment, or Both?

Today they reported that Massachusetts has the second-worst drivers in the country (to neighboring state Rhode Island). I agree that driving in Massachusetts sucks: on 128/95 in the morning, if one person changes lanes without signalling five miles ahead of you, the cars are packed in so tightly that that in itself can cause a traffic jam (trust me, I've had countless hours in my car to observe these behaviors).

It gets me wondering how much of this bad driving is caused by the environment around us. For instance, Boston is one of the few places in the country with rotaries; our roads are paved-over cowpaths; 128 was built to hold after 1/10 as many cars and unlike places like Atlanta, we have no room to expand. The winter destroys our roads; people need to swerve often to avoid newly-open potholes (or hit a new hidden one like I did today). Combine all this with the rush-rush East-coast mentality, on-going construction, and awful weather, and you have an environment few can stand up to.

In Atlanta, there were constantly "wrecks." There were many wrecks each morning and evening, hell, someone ran me off the road at 2pmSure, the cars are still packed in tightly...it's just that this is caused by a wreck more often than sheer volume as the traffic in Massachusetts is.

I have been so frustrated since moving up here when I have sat in traffic for hours only to discover no cause other than volume. At least in other places in the country, you know this traffic is caused by an accident or similarly temporary circumstance.

2 comments:

Yoav said...

Traffic sucks ;( Atlanta is worse than Boston according to most surveys (e.g. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855647.html), but they're pretty close in suckiness ;(

You should see if MITRE is flexible about your coming/leaving work at different hours. Avoid rush hour like the plague...

Mane the Mean said...

The basic problem is underdeveloped
public transport. Had Boston
invested, say, 25% of the price of
the Big Dig in MTBA, there would
be no need to use private car in
commuting.

A private car is the most unefficient
method of tranporting humans.

May the traffic jam get worse!