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Old 06-29-2013, 02:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone explain this phenomenon to me?

Sitting at a red light, fully stopped, why does everyone in the line randomly let off the brakes just a tiny bit to coast forward 5-10 feet, then causing everyone behind and around them to do the same? By the time it gets to me, there is a 3 car length gap between us because I don't do the coast thing. Maybe it is because I drive stick my whole life. But why does EVERYONE do it? What is so alluring about pulling forward that couple extra feet? Does it coax the light to change faster? Shaves a couple seconds off of your travel time? I just dont understand. I am not a very smart man (shut up TF)
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Does it coax the light to change faster?
yes. light travels at the speed of light, which is not instantaneous. by being closer to the traffic light you decrease the distance required for the emitted lights to travel from the bulb to your eye, thus the light changes ever so slightly faster.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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yes. light travels at the speed of light, which is not instantaneous. by being closer to the traffic light you decrease the distance required for the emitted lights to travel from the bulb to your eye, thus the light changes ever so slightly faster.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Personally, I blame my reasoning (and I am absolutely guilty of doing this) on the Army. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "lock it up!". Moreso to the contrary; when I don't move up, I feel that I have been caught slipping and not paying attention.

If I'm in front of the line, I might nudge a little in the hopes that the light will change if I've been sitting there for a moment. Louisville uses a lot of those weight sensitive pads at stoplights. I'm convinced some need a little bit of sweetspotting to get them to acknowledge my presence.

As a whole, it's my belief that it's all an act of impatience.
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My Dad does it all the time and he said it had to do with all the years of driving a stick. He hasn't had a manual transmission in probably 10 years but yet still does it.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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In my city, people are stupid and tend to get all the way up to the light before realizing they're in the wrong lane. So I keep it locked up so that some dumbass who wasn't paying attention doesn't see a 4' gap and try to force his way across two lanes, ending up sideways the traffic and causing me to miss the light when it turns.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In my city, people are stupid and tend to get all the way up to the light before realizing they're in the wrong lane. So I keep it locked up so that some dumbass who wasn't paying attention doesn't see a 4' gap and try to force his way across two lanes, ending up sideways the traffic and causing me to miss the light when it turns.
So how long have you lived in Dallas?
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yes. light travels at the speed of light, which is not instantaneous. by being closer to the traffic light you decrease the distance required for the emitted lights to travel from the bulb to your eye, thus the light changes ever so slightly faster.
If only folks understood this was offset by the accumulated masses of their cars getting closer to the intersection! I once saw a light lock up and all the cars were slowly pulled into the center of the intersection, whereupon they appeared to get smaller and smaller as if in the distance, until they disappeared... It was sweet, the light changed then and I got right through!!!

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Old 06-29-2013, 11:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Murf425 View Post
In my city, people are stupid and tend to get all the way up to the light before realizing they're in the wrong lane. So I keep it locked up so that some dumbass who wasn't paying attention doesn't see a 4' gap and try to force his way across two lanes, ending up sideways the traffic and causing me to miss the light when it turns.
this.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Going bumper to bumper with the guy in front of you while the guy traveling behind you is still in motion is kind of risky. You have no way to be sure he isn't an idiot, so stopping farther back than needed gives your front bumper a buffer space in case you get knocked from behind. Better to lose one bumper than lose them both in a fender bender.

So, once you are sure the dude behind you is stopped and not going to turn bits of your car into worthless scrap, then you feel safer closing that gap and giving the guy behind room to advance. A dozen or so cars doing this quickly frees up another car length and lets someone at an uncontrolled intersection farther back have room to get in while the traffic is otherwise stopped.

A lot of people actually think this way without realizing it. (And then there is also those who simply get bored and need to move their car 6 inches to keep themselves entertained)


What I really don't get are people who floor it to accelerate into a red light or stop sign so they can slam on their breaks and stop harder.

Or drivers who think they only need to look straight ahead while driving, assuming that anything to their sides or behind them is of no concern to them because that isn't the direction they're traveling.

And drivers making right hand turns who think they only need to look left. I took great pleasure in slamming the tool belt I had in my hand down on one guy's hood who did that. Left a nice set of dents. (It as a no right turn on red intersection too. He got back on the brakes fast enough, but sadly I didn't get his plate number due to him having something hanging out his trunk. A few dents is too cheap a price to pay for a charge of hit and run.)
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