• Jan 3rd 2008 at 7:57PM
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In light of the "backwards-travelling wave" that researchers recently discovered as a cause of congestion, another study has pinpointed a possible major contributor. The University of Utah's Traffic Lab uncovered that drivers paying more attention to yapping on their phone – hands free or not – add to the suffering of us all. Talking while driving leads to drivers who take considerably longer to change lanes when following slow-moving vehicles, drive slower overall, and take longer to arrive at their destination.

Any benefits from slower speeds and more deliberate movements are mitigated by the distraction of a conversation. Thinking along the lines of chaos theory, even the small slowdowns created by poky drivers can grow into exponentially larger traffic problems quickly. Then, when we're all stuck in the stop and go, we call someone else and bitch about how bad the traffic is. Sounds like what they've really discovered in Utah is the fuel for a perpetual motion machine. Car stops, jaw continually flaps.

[Source: Reuters, Photo: hotrodscustomstuff.com]

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