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You know what the problem with traffic jams is, the roads aren’t wide enough!

So I went out and had a look.

In the process I got a lot of on-road experience. And I found that traffic jams in Thailand are confined only to certain areas. Bangkok is one, Chiang Mai is another, and on the weekend, seaside towns like Pattaya, Cha-Am and Hua Hin get congested too. Only occasionally you will encounter a surprise traffic jam in the middle of nowhere. After Thailand, I explored some of the rest of the world. Although it is true that the more you see, the more you know of that you haven’t seen, I figured out soon enough that this was valid everywhere: on only certain roads, traffic snails along, and these are rarely the narrowest ones.

As I always want to drive at the front, I learnt that the human is a herd animal. Most people like to drive close together, many slow drivers unwilling to pass each other, and thus blocking both (or all if there are more) lanes. Because of this, I think it is surprising that traffic jams are confined to fairly small areas; most people must love them!

So was my daddy right?

Well, of course not. You can’t blame a snail for slithering slowly! You can’t blame a cow for liking its friends’ company! Traffic jams are not caused by a traffic light! A multi-lane blocking accident doesn’t cause traffic to slow! It’s the people’s desire to drive together. This is why they say that traffic is like water: when there’s space for it, it fills up.

The problem of traffic jams though, is that the average speed is too low. So while we develop a more independent mind, so we can drive by ourselves instead of in a herd, we should also work on our speeding skills. As long as the (Thai) police aren’t using their speed camera’s, this can’t be hard. Every new car sold, should have a first and a fifth gear (and all in between), so that when at a traffic light, we can speed away, thus creating more space for other drivers behind us.

This driving style will cause petrol consumption to drop: we drive faster, spend less time driving, ergo, we use less petrol. Another side effect is that the accident rate will go down: Each car spends a shorter period of time in one place, thus making it less likely to get hit by another one. Any shooter among us will confirm that it is much harder to hit a moving target!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. I thought I’d post this anticipating the reopening of society; some thoughts before we go to work in the office again.