The Twin Cities is number 16 on the list of America’s worst traffic cities, according to the seventh-annual Traffic Scorecard Report which was reported by a global traffic-tracking company called INRIX.

Will it ever get better? With help from others on the road it might.

 

traffic

My commute to work has been frustrating. The construction on 35E N has created a lot more traffic on 494/694. This made me start thinking and wondering what could be done differently to avoid this congestion? Why! Why is it like this? Yes, I understand the volume of vehicles on the road has increased in this situation, but in general, why? Construction or no construction traffic jams happen. Everyone is in a hurry to get where they are going but driving as fast as you can to get there, may not be the fastest way to get there. Sounds silly I know, but after doing my research and talking to others, slowing down could be the answer.  Read on to learn more:

 

I find when it’s time to merge into that mass amount of cars, I start wondering who, what, when, where, and why? Who will let me in? What do I have to do? When do I merge? Where do I merge; a couple miles before my exit or push it and wait until the last minute, and last why, why won’t they let me in?   I find myself wondering who will let me in; my exit is coming up and I need to begin merging. I’d like to believe if everyone has the courtesy and extra space to let someone in front of them we could avoid a lot of disruption in the flow of traffic or  that one person slowing or stopping traffic trying to merge into a lane that they can’t get into, I’ve seen it; a lot.  In my research I found that one of the most repeated tips for driving in traffic is to have space between you and the car ahead of you. Rather than speeding up the second traffic starts moving only to slam your brakes on not far down the road; maintain a constant speed. Don’t close that gap; you will catch up because the traffic up ahead is all braking again. And hopefully you will be caught up just in time for that traffic to start moving again. Another great tip; Use your blinker! It is helpful for other drivers to know what you need to do ahead of time and hopefully they will be nice and let you in.

Road Sign

 

Speaking of blinking lights; that big blinking arrow that is telling us to merge because the lane ahead is closed, and instantly everyone starts merging only to find an empty lane for the next mile. The Federal Highway Administration says that this a major cause of traffic jams. You don’t have to merge right away but also leave space for cars to merge in front of you, let people in. It won’t hurt, but it will help. A vehicle merging into traffic does not have the right away; prepare, look ahead, and use your blinker. Avoid sudden slowdowns and fast lane changes; this can cause other drivers to slam on their brakes; thus causing a traffic jam.

 

Distracted Driver

 

Rubbernecking” or “gawking” as seen above often creates issues on the road as well. This creates the “wave” effect. Of course we’re curious about what’s going on if there is a car on the side of the road or checking out how bad that accident is that we are passing; but is looking and causing the wave really worth the satisfaction to curb our curiosity? You can decide on that one.

 

road rage

 

Road rage can be labeled as aggressive driving or when drivers physically attack each other.  Either way, it’s bad news. Have you seen the video of the road rage driver that got hit by karma? I attached the video if you want to see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp95QaqqDtM

Give yourself time to get where you are going and don’t fall into the trap of someone with road rage. It’s not worth it. Braking when someone is tailgating you is just as bad as what the tailgater is doing. The better solution; move out of their way. You never know someone else’s situation; there may or may not be a very good reason for their actions.

The why’s of traffic may never be completely answered, but just maybe if we all take a few extra minutes to be courteous of other drivers and slow down a bit it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe!

Some helpful and interesting links are below.

http://www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org/traffic/StreetSmartsMagazine.pdf

http://trafficwaves.org/trafexp.html