Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the perils of driving

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: non-fiction
Review: I was really hoping that this book would answer such questions as why so many people don't use their turn signals or insist on driving below the speed limit in the left lane. I was disappointed in that, but did learn other interesting things, like why you drive on the right in some countries, and in the left in others. Also discussed is why people drive more safely when there are fewer traffic signs and other warning devices than when there are more. It turns out that people drive more cautiously when they don't know what to expect than when they do. Similarly, people drive more safely when the car has fewer safety devices. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt spends the bulk of the book on this point and much less on the question that his title indicated he would be answering.

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