Tailgating the Car in Front of You at a Red Light Helps Nobody
When you're 10 or 12 cars back at a red light, you want everyone in front of you to pull up as far as they can, so you'll make it through the next green light. You might even get angry if they don't close that distance.
A new study found all that rage is pointless. It actually makes no difference how close the cars in front of you are.
Researchers at Virginia Tech wanted to know the optimal distance between cars if you want as many as possible to make it through a light when it turns green. They tried a bunch of different distances, and found that it basically doesn't matter at all.
When the cars were almost bumper-to-bumper, they were all closer to the intersection. But it took longer for each car to accelerate, because they had to wait for the car in front of them to move first.
The researchers tried it with about a foot between cars, six feet between cars, and 25 feet between cars. And just as many people got through each time. There was basically no difference until they were more than 25 feet apart.
In other words, you don't have to ride the person in front of you at a red light. And it's actually better if you don't, because when everyone's bumper-to-bumper, your chances of getting into an accident are a lot higher.
Read more at Virginia Tech.