Thanks for posting such in informative article on the fluid dynamics of traffic. I'll be driving with a different outlook from now on.
When I moved to Texas from Oregon, I noticed that tailgaiting seems to be the norm on the freeways here. Even when the other lanes are open, many drivers choose to tailgate for miles rather than moving left and passing. Speeding up or slowing down doesn't seem to make a difference to them. They just stick to the car ahead.
There are also many drivers who move into any space big enough to enclose their car, even if it is only two car-lengths, which causes the car they cut off to slow, which causes the car behind that one to slow, . . .
I generally drive in the right lane of the three-lane freeway, at 5-10 miles below the speed limit. I seldom change lanes or have to slow down, yet I usually don't fall behind the traffic ahead of me, either. I don't see the logic in wasting $4/gallon gas to drive 85 mph for 10 miles, saving mere seconds on a clear road. In traffic, even the fast lanes develop slowdowns, so the time savings is even less, and the $ cost increases because of the frequent decelerating and accelerating.
My driving philosophy has changed since I was a teenager. Now I go with the flow, follow at least 3 seconds behind the car ahead of me and let those impatient folks fly past in the other lane. Quite possibly I will see them on the side of the road later on, either in front of the flashing lights of a police car, or backwards in the median.