I’m one of those unfortunate folks who has a long distance commute. I drive through four counties, five freeways, and cross two bridges everyday in the morning and evening. My commute, if I’m lucky, will take 90 minutes in the morning and another 90 coming home. I’m an avid listener of morning traffic radio, television and internet in hopes that I can bypass the accident just announced and wondering about the ripple effect it will have on my commute.
Why Traffic Gods? Why????
Unfortunately, accidents on the road are a given any time of the day, but particularly during commute hours. We all know that if there is an accident up ahead we should expect a slow down coming our way. But what about those times you’re driving and all of a sudden, BAM, congestion. There is neither rhyme nor reason to it. Even traffic radio doesn’t pick it up which means that you will be completely unprepared for that 5 mph ride you’re about to embark on. That happened to me this morning, again. Being the inquisitive information nerd that I am, I searched the Internet to see if anyone else had answers as to why this sudden traffic situation phenomenon happens. According to the Freakonomics blog, we cause all of that damage. All it takes is a few slow drivers and then all of those behind are stuck. I’ve seen this with trucks carrying heavy loads and, yes, slow drivers. As soon as I pass them, I’m good. I might also find answers in the book, Traffic : Why We Drive The Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. Unfortunately, given the amount of time I spend on the road, I don’t have time to read this book. Fortunately, I can listen to it because the library has the book on CD.
All of this stress makes for a very grumpy me by the end of the day. Sadly, it’s my partner who bears the brunt of my bad mood. Because I don’t want to spend all of my family time feeling grumpy, stressed, and exhausted, I’ve come up with a list of solutions that may help.
- I give myself some extra time when leaving home. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Hey, at least I tried.
- Changing what I listen to in the morning. I’m investing in a car stereo so I can plug in my iPod or an MP3 audio book from the library. I want books in the morning.
- I need to add some unwind time to my daily schedule. Whether I’m taking some time to stretch at my cubicle or going on a family walk when I get home, I always feel better.
- When all else fails, I watch the famous traffic scene from Office Space to remind me that I’m not alone.
I know there are other solutions such as carpooling and public transit. Believe me, I have investigated. Due to our less than desirable public transit system and the lack of carpoolers going in my direction, neither option is viable right now.
Please feel free to share any other solutions you might have and/or traffic horror stories.
Rebecca A is still waiting for her jet pack. Until then, you can find her crawling down 880, her worst nemesis.