Math professor says drivers' behavior can ease Nashville traffic congestion

(Fox 17 News)

While Nashvillians wait for solutions to mid state traffic problems, a Belmont University mathematics professor says the way drivers react to other cars can make a difference.

At this point, drivers say they just can't handle Nashville traffic anymore.

"It's horrible! I hate it! It takes me too long to get home," resident Allison Coleman said.

"You just get so frustrated sitting in traffic for hours what it seems like to get where you need to go and you got that one person that doesn't seem like he's got anywhere to go," driver Marlow Martin said.

"Something's gotta change. This is way too much," Nashville driver Zach O'Connor said.

Belmont University Mathematics Professor says computer scientists and mathematicians study driver behavior.

"Modeled traffic as a fluid flow, so instead of individual cars, you use the equations used to describe liquids flowing through tubes or gases sometimes," Dr. Andy Miller said.

Miller says findings show the way drivers react to each other can be an instant solution to the back up.

"Mainly just try to react a little less abruptly. Keep a little more distance between you and the car in front of you. When you accelerate after being stopped or slowed down, don't speed up too quickly. Just try to drive as smoothly as possible," Miller said.

Miller explains that keeping an even pace will keep moving and reduce the number of crashes, especially during phantom traffic jams.

"You're driving along, traffic slows down, you're waiting to see what caused it and you get to the end of the traffic jam and there's nothing there," Miller said.

While there are several factors drivers have no control over, the following distance and handling of the brake pedal can move things along.

"If everybody just go where they go in an even flow, we'll get where we need to get," driver Marlow Martin said.

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