Traffic jam is common issues in every country. Road construction, accidents, and rush hour are often the direct and observable causes of traffic jams.
Road construction may require lane closures or reduced speed limits, while car accidents can cause traffic to slow due to vehicles blocking the roadway or drivers slowing down to look at the accident. And of course, traffic jams are common at rush hour, when the number of vehicles on the road increases quickly in a short timeframe.
Not all traffic jams have an obvious cause, however. A phenomenon known as “phantom traffic jams” can have a slowing effect similar to any other traffic jam but without a triggering event such as an accident or lane restrictions.
A car accident is one of the most obvious causes of traffic jams. While a serious accident can block the roadway, require emergency vehicles to come to the scene, and potentially even require traffic to be rerouted, a minor fender bender pulled off to the edge of the road can cause people to slow down enough to have a significant impact.
Items falling off vehicles or been left in the road can lead to traffic tie-ups. When an 18-wheeler blows a tire, for example, bits of material could not only strike passing vehicles but remain in the roadway, requiring drivers to swerve and cause a chain-reaction slowdown. When driving on the highway, a team of workers might be deployed to clear the road, resulting in even more delays while they do their job.
Construction and maintenance
Take the Ashram flyover construction in Delhi as an example. The construction began in 2020 and ended just a couple of days ago before bursting open for the public. However, for the last two years, the congestion around the flyover caused major havoc for daily commuters from Delhi-NCR. Additionally, road obstacles such as lane closure, an accident, or double parking also hinder the traffic flow and cause blockage.
Weather causes traffic jam
Even the cities with the best weather experience periods of heavy rain from time to time. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average driving speed typically decreases from 3% to 16% during heavy rain, and heavy snow can decrease speeds from 5% to 40%.
Flooding, as well as debris that’s blown onto the road from heavy winds, can additionally increase traffic. Like construction zones, harsh weather conditions lead to more car accidents — and thus, more traffic.
Research shows that distracted driving is a factor in over 8% of accidents, making it one of the leading causes of car accidents and thus a primary cause of traffic.
Not only does distracted driving pose a risk to the safety of drivers, but it can also interrupt the flow of traffic and create congestion. Cell phones or other tech can cause drivers to lose track of their spacing, causing fender benders that lead to stoppages.