The Reason Behind DFW Traffic Jams

Chevy DFW dealershipHey Chevy drivers, did you know that our beloved DFW metroplex was listed as Forbe’s fifth worst city for traffic congestion in 2010? According to Forbes, the DFW has 43 hours of weekly congestion. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), there are five billion hours  of traffic congestion per year in America and last year, Americans drove the third highest numbers of miles ever recorded — three trillion!

The US DOT divides traffic into two types — volume or recurring traffic and non-recurring traffic. Volume traffic is exactly what is sounds like… too many people on the road. This happens when there are too many people trying to get to the same place and the highways simply cannot handle it. I’m sure you’re all aware of the new construction going on with 635. That has been the most hated highway in Dallas for quite some time and they city has finally decided that it’s time to expand. Will it help? We shall see.

The second type of traffic, non-recurring, is the result of a car accident, disabled vehicle, inclement weather, special events or temporary construction. My new favorite example of this type of traffic is the 18-wheeler that overturned last week carrying frozen chickens. Several highways were backed up and even closed for hours.

Though the US Department of Transportation only divides traffic into two categories, I believe there is a third in this metroplex that I like to call
“DFW Traffic”. It is caused by the following two things:

Bottlenecking – When ever a highway shrinks down to a smaller amount of lanes and people do not know how to correctly merge using the zipper effect (a perfect example of this is on President George Bush Turnpike at Beltline). If you unfamiliar with the Zipper Effect, it’s basically cars taking turns. One car from the right lane goes, then one from the left lane, one from the right, one from the left, forming a single-file line. People do not realize how much time this would save if everyone would do it correctly. Another issue surrounding bottlenecking, is people merging too quickly. There’s always that one man or woman who has  to get over way before the lane actually ends. This causes traffic and is unnecessary.

Rubbernecking –When people will slow down to unnecessary speeds to gawk at a traffic accident (most of the time on the other side of the highway). Now, I’m not saying it’s a terrible idea to slow down by maybe five mph. But 25 mph? That’s going to cause traffic.

There are many of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, and I’m sure there are some of you who are probably realizing that you do one or both of the above mentioned things. Not to worry, now that you’re aware that theses two things can really affect the flow of traffic, you may change up your driving habits a bit the next time you and your Chevy are stuck in traffic on highway 35, 635 or I20.