(WHTM) — Those who drive know about the dreaded traffic jams and congestion that can occur on interstates, highways, and even two-lane roads.

But, have you ever thought why traffic exists in the first place, maybe while sitting in a traffic jam?

According to Wawanesa Insurance, traffic starts when a road has too many cars on it at one time. Many believe that accidents, construction, or stalled vehicles are the main reason for traffic congestion.

However, most of the day-to-day traffic jams on a commute are caused by drivers’ decisions.

Wawanesa Insurance states that even the smallest of adjustments by one driver can cause a massive traffic jam. A traffic jam that is caused by a chain reaction of slowing down is sometimes called a ‘phantom’ traffic jam or a ‘shockwave’ jam.

LiveScience.com talked to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) computer science professor Berthold Horn. Horn stated that a phantom jam begins when a car in dense traffic slows down even slightly, which causes the car behind that vehicle to slow, and then causes a chain reaction spreading backward through the lane of traffic, getting worse the further back it goes. The cars far behind the original slow down and are forced to stop completely, and traffic comes to a stop over nothing, Horn stated.

The website scienceabc.com says there are some ways to mitigate these phantom traffic jams from occurring.

One way is by not tailgating, which is often done to encourage a slow car to move out of the passing lane but is also practiced by aggressive drivers. Tailgating reduces the distance between you and the car ahead. So, when the car that is being tailgated slows down, it causes the car tailgating to forcefully apply its brakes to avoid a collision, which can lead to phantom jams.

Another way to mitigate these jams is by finding a middle point between the car in front of you and behind you and trying to position your car so it has an equal distance between the two. This way, if the driver in front hits their brakes you can slowly hit your brakes or take your foot off the accelerator which may prevent a rippling event from happening at all.

Hopefully these tips help you to mitigate random traffic jams from occurring.