Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us

Would you be surprised that road rage can be good for society? Or that most crashes happen on sunny, dry days? That our minds can trick us into thinking the next lane is moving faster? Or that you can gauge a nation s driving behavior by its levels of corruption? These are only a few of the remarkable dynamics that Tom Vanderbilt explores in this fascinating tour through the mysteries of the road.
Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the everyday activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological, and technical factors that explain how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving says about us. Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He shows how roundabouts, which can feel dangerous and chaotic, actually make roads safer and reduce traffic in the bargain. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots.
The car has long been a central part of American life; whether we see it as a symbol of freedom or a symptom of sprawl, we define ourselves by what and how we drive. As Vanderbilt shows, driving is a provocatively revealing prism for examining how our minds work and the ways in which we interact with one another. Ultimately, Traffic is about more than driving: it s about human nature. This book will change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. And who knows? It may even make us better drivers."

Title:Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780307264787
Format Type:

    Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us Reviews

  • Craig

    I really wanted to like this book. I have long held a fascination with traffic -- probably because of all hours I've spent stuck in it wondering why it behaves the way it does. I remember having weird...

  • Michael

    Vanderbilt gets 5 stars for scaring the hell out of me every time I sit in the driver's seat. TRAFFIC is a compelling, curious read that makes you feel like you shouldn't be sitting in a car, much les...

  • Ken

    I live in Los Angeles, and my daily commute subjects me to this city's infamous traffic. So why in the world would I want to read a book about traffic? After all, I live it every day. Well, whether yo...

  • Nicholas Karpuk

    You suck at driving.That's the message I walked away from with this book. And it was a message that made me sit up and pay attention. Non-fiction is something I read sparingly. Something about long sp...

  • Nathaniel

    I had high hopes for this book after it sat unpurchased on my Amazon wishlist for three years...and once I finally got around to buying it, boy was I disappointed. To start with, Vanderbilt is the wor...

  • Jason

    Tom Vanderbilt has written an original, enlightening, and--considering the current political and financial maelstrom around automakers--a timely study of human driving characteristics and the universa...

  • Matt

    I read mostly nonfiction and tend to have a taste for the abstruse, so I was surprised to find myself getting annoyed at the length of this book. Upon further reflection, I realize that this feeling r...

  • Donna McCaul Thibodeau

    I read this for my in person book club. The blurb made it sound much more interesting than it actually was. I wouldn't recommend it....

  • MRM

    Well-written and entertaining look at the psychology of drivers (i.e. most of us). I would have preferred more about urban streets and cyclists (as I am a bike commuter), especially since Vanderbilt l...

  • Derek Wolfgram

    I expected to enjoy Traffic quite a bit - as a person with a psychology degree who loves to drive, I really looked forward to some interesting insights into human behavior behind the wheel. However, I...