Here I am about to embark on my ridiculous voyage home and all I can think about is traffic. I’m not sure if I mentioned it yet or not but I live in Los Angeles. Great weather this time of year, horrible traffic always. The worst part is my commute brings me across town so it goes from the bad to the worse. I suppose the one good thing is that part of my drive brings me along the pacific coast highway. Nothing soothes me more than the ocean. But I digress. Every day as I’m sitting in traffic I think about traffic. I’m naturally a curious person. These are some of my thoughts.
Where does traffic come from? Well the obvious is that there are too many cars on the road at one time. But what about this causes traffic? The more water there is in a river the faster it flows. It is my thought that traffic is caused by the impatience of people. Follow me on this. When the cars around you start to slow down, what do you do? You change lanes to go around them. Now if you make it a tight lane change (i.e. cut someone off) they put their brakes on. Assuming the person behind them is following them too closely, which 99.9% of people do down here, they are going to put their brakes on even harder and slow down even more. Multiply this by 15,000 cars, tada we have bumper to bumper traffic. That leads me to my next thought.
How can traffic be reduced? Well besides widening each and every road, I think that the simple practice of patience is what will help. Now the problem with that is Americans (generally) are all about results as fast as possible. They don’t want to be waiting on anything. It shows in many aspects of life but none more clearly as driving. People speed as much as the can going 2 miles down the road, even though they take a grand total of 2 seconds off their arrival time. They’ll drive in a lane they know is ending as long as possible before cutting over forcing their way in ( I personally enjoy driving half in the lane that is closing and half in the lane everyone should be merging into to block these people off. Boy do I get some looks.) If these people would get over sooner, they wouldn’t be forcing everyone else in line behind them to wait. But it’s because they want to be there now. This type of driving is what starts and causes traffic.
Will changing lanes get me there faster? While I have no proof one way or another, I believe that changing lanes in traffic only makes it worse. I myself am guilty of it but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe it. We’ve all been there. Sitting there while all the cars next to you seem to be blowing by you. What’s this? It appears to be a break. I’m gonna zip right in there and I’ll be moving. Bam! You made all the cars you just cut off slam on their brakes. Also, you’re not the only person seeing this and trying to get over. Say there are 10 cars behind you, you all get over at the same time. Suddenly, the lane moving fast has 10 extra cars and the one you were sitting in has 10 less. Now which lane is moving? That is right, the one you were just sitting in. Try this next time you’re sitting in traffic. Pick out a car that is easily recognizable in the lane next to you. And just try not switching lanes while keeping an eye on that vehicle. After a while check in to see where you are compared to it in relation to when you started keeping track. I’d be willing to be the price of reading this that you are in nearly the same position. Granted there are times when things differ but there are always anomalies.
So what does this mean? Assuming I didn’t bore you to death (as I’m finishing I’m not even sure what the point of this was), we need patience America. That is the bottom line. Maybe if we didn’t change lanes on the freeway the moment the lane next to us was going faster; if we all just slowed down a bit and didn’t hurry around the car to get some place 5 second earlier; maybe traffic would be better. Even if it is just a little bit.
For the record, I spend 5-6 hours a day in the car. I hate traffic. This was more to vent than anything. If you managed to make it here. Thanks for reading. Would you please be so kind to critique my writing I’d be much obliged. I’m trying to become a better writer.