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another govt plan gone awry

This time in Washington state. Reminds me of Route 50 here in Maryland between Annapolis and DC. It used to be 55 mph speed limit and was always jammed during rush hour. Someone finally wised up and raised the limit to 65 mph and the jams disappeared.

LACEY, WASH. - An anti-tailgating strategy on Interstate 5 backfired in the form of unexpected traffic jams, state transportation officials have discovered.

Officials from the state Transportation Department and Washington State Patrol planned to meet Monday to reassess the $35,000 Two Dots To Safety pilot program on a two-mile stretch of the freeway north of this Thurston County town. Similar programs are in use in Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Road crews painted dots 80 feet apart and posted signs telling drivers to stay at least two dots - 160 feet - from the vehicle ahead, based on the traffic safety principle of being at least two seconds behind another vehicle when going 60 mph.

Long backups developed Saturday, the day after the program began,....(read article, see picture)

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So everyone should drive

at 20 foot behind at 75+ MPH.

Drives me crazy in traffic where on one will leave any distance at all, even at high speeds. If you back up even 40 feet, someone cuts in.

At those speeds and distances, even the blink along with a sneeze will be time enough to hit someone because you didn't see them change lanes in time, or see their brake lights in time.

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I think the problem is the big dots

What is your natural reaction to a car in front when it clears something in the road that it didn't hit that looks like you might? Think of pothole that he saw and lined up right and you are slightly off from him, lined up to hit it. I think the same thing is working in this. Also having dot after dot come out from under the car in front might have a hypnotizing effect, even worse than some get off the middle line when it's color is alternated for miles. Eventually everyone who drives the route everyday might adjust, but there will always be new ones coming onto the road.

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I can see a point about the size of the dots

and then too, I admit even for me a 160 feet at 60 mph seems a lot.

Besides, it said two dots, if one is just in front of me and the other is just coming out of under the car in front of me, that's 80 to 100 feet if the dots are 80 foot apart. Even I would accept that as about as much space as you're going to get on a busy highway.

Seems back in the dark ages when I took driver's education at 15, they were preaching a car length for every 10 MPH. Now vehicles vary widely in length but wouldn't a 10 foot length seem a good working number? That makes it simply one foot for every MPH, which seems as much as we could hope for.

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Sounds reasonable in light...

It's not uncommon for govt. or any new non-govt. pgm. to go awry when its just implemented. It would work or should be better explained. if the $35K is the total amount then that suggests no media campaign for sure of any impact. But heck, shelf it if it really causes a real headache, but it should also be given more time to improve its track results. -----Willy Happy

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