I come across this situation about 2-3 times a week. There are two left turn lanes with cars waiting for the light to change. Yet, almost all of the cars filter into one single lane. Some of the cars toward the way back end up blocking another lane of traffic or they risk missing the green light completely.
This doesn’t make sense.
In the other lane, I’ll find either one car ahead of me or a completely open lane.
On the day I took this picture I was the only car in the second lane. In the first lane there were 9 cars lined up. Even after I pulled into the second lane, cars continued to pile behind the pack.
Everyone is in a rush. People fly by me in their minivans on the highway, but they don’t want to move ahead when it means they’ll be in the minority.
Like the Eric Hoffer quote:
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
The default in life is to blend in. That way when things fail,which they eventually will no matter which side of line you’re on, you have an alibi and company. Easier to be a cover band than create something original. Easier to create a knockoff of an app than something new.
This experiment could still happen today. People don’t act rationally when pressured to conform to a group.
Ultimately it’s a fear of being alone. People like groups because failure holds a certain anonymity. If you fail as a group, no one person is really responsible. But if you choose your own path, failure is your island.
If at anytime, your actions are those of the majority, you can largely expect average results like the majority. To get windfall gains takes treading a new path instead of following the in the wake of another.
Find me on Twitter @BenNesvig