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Jonathan YardleyTom Vanderbilt's Traffic—engagingly written, meticulously researched, endlessly interesting and informative—is one of those rare books that comes out of the depths of nowhere. Its subjects are the road and the people who drive it, which is to say Traffic gets about as close to the heart of modern existence as any book could get, yet what's truly astonishing is that no one else has done it, at least not on the scale that Vanderbilt has achieved. We've had road novels (On the Road) and road movies ("Two for the Road") and road songs ("On the Road Again"), but nonfiction studies of "why we drive the way we do and what it says about us"—to borrow Vanderbilt's subtitle—have been almost entirely limited to dry, impenetrable engineering and psychological treatises…Read it and you're likely to come away a better driver, more cautious and more alert. Certainly I like to think it's made me a better driver, but then as Vanderbilt says, we all think we're better drivers than we really are.
—The Washington Post