Why continuously tapping the brake pedal makes traffic even worse

Don't be that douchebag
by Jason Tulio | Aug 30, 2017

We all hate traffic. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or is some sort of sadist who's fond of cruel and unusual punishment. In a perfect world, we'd all do everything we can to lessen the congestion as much as possible. Of course, we live in a country where right of way is a myth, and the numerous bad habits of motorists only serve to make the traffic worse.

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One of the worst culprits is so subtle that most drivers don't even realize they do it. You see, your brakes are there for the purpose of stopping your car. Many people though, deem it necessary to tap on the brake pedal whenever the car goes just a little bit too fast. It might feel like the right thing to do, but this is actually a bad practice known as riding the brakes, or brake-tapping. This seemingly harmless habit actually causes a chain reaction with the cars behind you. Watch this video for a full explanation:

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You see, the cars behind you can't tell if you're just slowing down or coming to a full stop, so they'll naturally tap their own pedal once they see your brake lights come on. Cue the domino effect, and cue the traffic slowing down. 

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How to prevent this? If you feel you're going too fast, let off the accelerator so the car slows down. Engine braking helps, too, and so does reading the road conditions to prevent panic-induced brake-tapping as much as possible. (And we assume you're not looking at your smartphone, right?) Preventing the need to slow down by modulating your acceleration in the first place doesn't hurt, either. The goal is to use your brakes only when necessary.

So drive safe, and don't be a cause of traffic.

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PHOTO: Top Gear Philippines
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