Traffic : Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us), Paperback

Traffic : Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us) Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Get stuck in ...Why do some people become demons when they get behind a wheel?

Why does the other lane always move faster? Why do New Yorkers jaywalk (and nobody does in Cophenhagen)? And why should you never drive with any beer-drinking, divorced doctors named Fred?

Driving is about far more than getting from A to B. As Tom Vanderbilt's brilliant, curiosity-filled book shows, it's actually the key to deciphering human nature and ...well, pretty much everything.

From the etiquette of horn-honking to bumper stickers you should avoid, from gridlock in ancient Rome to why getting rid of road signs actually reduces accidents, "Traffic" will change the way you see yourself, and other people (and not just through your windscreen).




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A well researched and thorough book that reads like a good article in "Wired" but book length! A little US centric but manages worldwide coverage. Topics covered include driving psychology, driving aids, traffic planning, problems with perception and concentration and lots and lots of good statistics. Despite being US centric, the author manages to provide a book that is interesting, and challenging. It is perhaps not a must read for everyone, but if you are remotely interested in why we drive the way we do, and in understanding our fellow motorists, this is a book for you. If you want to be a better driver, there is also plenty of good information here - but it is not primarily an advanced driving manual. Nevertheless it repays the time spent reading it.

Review by

This follows the template of Freakonomics blending economics. sociology and phychology with counter-intuitive results. Unfortunately, it very much has the feel of a book comissioned to jump on the Freakanomics bandwagon. Here's an interesting subject - I'll write about 10 issues, roughly 25 pages each - please can I have an advance? The results are patchy. Some of the chapters are very interesting - notably those on cultural differences in driving, the economics of congestion and the Dutch experiments on integrating vehicles and pedestrians. Others feel like filler, with a whole chapters devoted to subjects that could have been dealt with in a shortish magazine feature. As a consequence, more than half the book is repetitive and some times tedious. Vanderbilt is preofessional and objective throughout but its hard to detect any passion for the subject. The prose is very competent in a journalistic style but rarely inspiring. It's a shame because, this is a good subject and if the book were cut down a bit and other aspects of traffic dealt with (some more history would have been appropriate, for example) it would have been much more successful.

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