Zia Hassan

Switching Lanes

+++ title = “11” date = 2019 +++

This is purely anecdotal, but I see it all the time: those who switch lines furiously on the highway are also terrible at using their signal. Yet, research has shown that switching lanes frequently doesn’t take many minutes off of our trip. We’ll still get to our destination at about the same time.

It makes me think of the book Faster Smarter Better by Charles Duhigg, the author tells us that having autonomy can make us feel like we’re in charge, and therefore more motivated to do a task.

Therefore, if we want to work out more, we can choose which exercises to do, and that will motivate us more. It won’t help us get our workouts done faster necessarily, but it will at least help in wanting to do them in the first place.

But with the traffic scenario, there’s no need for increasing motivation to drive. If we need to be somewhere far away, it’s necessary to drive. The agency we have over which lane to be in makes us feel in control, and therefore better about our commute.

But there’s no functional reason to switch lanes aggressively. It’s just another story we tell ourselves.