FRUSTRATING phantom traffic jams - when everything slows to halt with no obvous cause - could be cured if more vehicles were fitted with intelligent cruise control.
That's the conclusion reached by Ford after it used 36 drivers on a closed test track to simulate normal main road driving - without cruise control or with it switched on, keeping the vehicles a safe distance apart.
As a Ford spokesman said "These frustrating jams are easily caused by human factors - such as merging into traffic without signalling, distracted driving, poor driving habits and reaction times, or unnecessary braking. Once one driver hits the brakes, a chain reaction can occur as other drivers tap their brakes, causing the flow of traffic to grind to a halt".
In one test with adaptive cruise control switched on the traffic slowed from 62mph by only 5mph, instead of coming to a halt as each driver braked harder than the one in front.
In even better news; the traffic kept flowing when just one vehicle in three was using adpative cruise control.
Drivers each averaged 31 hours stuck in peak-period congestion in the UK, and 30 hours in Germany, during 2017, according to independent findings from INRIX Research, drivers in London spending a miserable 74 hours - more than three full days - stuck in peak-period jams.