Anyone finding the Fuelly Tip, "Keep Your Distance in Traffic" working in New Jersey?
I find that if I keep ANY car-lengths of distance in front of me to minimize the chances of having to come to a complete stop that I end up hitting the brake hard when someone from the next lane "fills in the spot". I find this happens especially on Route 1.
Yeah, this is bad in most any big city or metro area. Some of these tips work in theory, but that's it. (Like turning your car off - does anyone realize how much *extra* gas is used when cars are turned back on?)
I find it's difficult to do this in a major city for the reasons you state, but if you take your foot off the gas as soon as you see some people cut into your lane, you can often create a new gap in the traffic to coast through. Or, the other option is to move into a lane with large trucks, who do this all the time to save on gas and braking.
Personally, I prefer to keep moving, even if it is at a slow pace and people are jumping ahead of me. It beats sitting still and stop-and-go.
MichaelC, the whole idea of "extra" gas being used on engine start-up is only true for older cars that don't have computer-controlled fuel injectors. This has been sufficiently covered by the Car Talk guys, Slate's Green Lantern, and sibling site Ask MetaFilter... at this point, if you're driving a fuel-injected car, you really do use just as much gas as you need to to start it up, which isn't much more than if the engine were idling at that moment.
route 1 is cutthroat, but if you're hitting the brake "hard", then you're not anticipating when the other car will take that spot and adjusting your speed before they jump in. signs that someone will do that is looking in their right side spot mirror, looking in their rearview mirror, or sometimes you'll just get a glimpse of the right front tire turning.
I don't find route 1 to be that horrible, but then again I usually drive it late at night. Depends which part of 1 you're on, I guess. Keep to the right-most lane whenever possible, and seek out a truck to ride behind; not only are other cars more unlikely to sit right behind a truck, but you get the draft benefits of traveling a moderate distance behind the truck (on expressways I get as close as 50-75 feet, I have plenty of time to brake since trucks brake slower than cars, and the extra mpg is GLORIOUS). I would suggest just riding on the Turnpike or GSP if it's a long ride.
i'm that truck you're behind gene, so you're welcome. khurt might be talking about the princeton area at rush hour, then i would be in the middle lane, it has better flow. you can maintain a more constant speed, without the slow ups of others merging in from your right.
Not sure how bad it is there in New Jersey, but I can say that it is BAD on the Beltway around Washington DC! You are lucky if someone doesn't try to squeeze into a spot that is 20% small than their car.