'Self-driving cars will cause more traffic jams and lower speeds'

Although there is a bit of a twist

As of last week, you can legally be overtaken on Dutch highways by someone waving at you with two hands. Ford has become the first car brand to receive approval from Europe to drive autonomously at 'Level 2+'. The Mustang Mach-E can do everything itself as long as the person behind the wheel pays attention. Perhaps Mercedes' 'Intelligent Drive' and Tesla's FSD will soon follow.

It may sound futuristic, but we are only at the beginning. In a few years we should reach the fifth and final level. At level 5, the car drives all by itself and you would never have to take the wheel. When we reach this level, people without a driver's license will also be able to sit alone in a moving car. Before you know it, you're sending your car full of children to primary school while you pour yourself a cup of coffee at home.

Self-driving cars are being used much more

Because autonomous cars of the highest level can be used by everyone, we will use the car 18 to 23 percent more, according to the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau . Why wait for a crowded train when you can open your laptop in your car? The agency also expects cyclists to prefer using a self-driving car rather than using their two-wheeler.

More car use means more cars on the road. This causes longer traffic jams, especially in places where there are often traffic jams. These congestions would reduce the average speed by five percent. Not a huge difference, but in places such as around Brussels, the Federal Planning Bureau expects a speed decrease of 28 percent.

There should be better traffic flow, because fewer accidents occur. In addition, self-driving cars could by then have software that avoids traffic jams. There are already cars that alert you to a faster route. It is therefore not a fait accompli that self-driving cars will cause more and longer traffic jams.