A note from Mike: Here where I live, in Mt. Pleasant, SC, we’ve had a bit of an issue with some infrastructure, as a major bridge has been shut down for repairs. It’s one of the major arteries here in town, and it has made driving, well, a bit of an adventure.
Not sure if you’ve heard, but there has been a little bit of a traffic snafu of late.
My normal seven-minute commute to work on day one of Bridgeageddon took about 40 minutes.
It appears we will be in this quagmire for at least a month. To that end, I ask all of my fellow motorists – in fact, any motorist facing a collective traffic calamity – to remember this one, important thing: We are all experiencing the same thing.
Traffic is bad. It’s going to be bad. It will eventually get better. But for now, we have to live in the moment together, and the best thing we can do is for each of us to accept our little allotted portion of misery, and not try and alleviate your share at the expense of others.
What I’m saying here, folks, is you’re not going to beat this mess. You’re only going to make it worse if you try and outsmart the system. This system cannot be outsmarted. It can only be muddied. So a few thoughts on some Do’s and Don’ts over the next month:
DO: Stay in your lane, unless you have to get over to turn at your destination.
DO NOT: Decide you are in a race, constantly shifting lanes and trying to get ahead, as not only are you really making things worse, you are making everyone around you dislike you, and let’s face it – that’s not good for your karmic energy.
DO: Check traffic maps and other resources before you set out on your destination.
DO NOT: Check traffic maps and other resources while on your route. Also, don’t text and drive. Ever. For one thing, you and I both know what the text says. And sending, “I KNOW, RIGHT? LOL!” is not worth hitting the car in front of you.
DO: Relax. Like I said, we’re all in this together.
DO NOT: Lay on the horn and scream at someone who is doing something such as changing lanes, even if you think they are in violation of the earlier Do Not. Let karma take care of that.
DO: Download a nice podcast to listen to.
DO NOT: Crank up your favorite pump-you-up playlist. Trust me, a healthy dose of good music is good for the soul, but when Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” comes on and you’re sitting in traffic, it’ll just make you sad.
DO: Go to the bathroom before you leave.
DO NOT: Even think about what other people in cars around you who have to go to the bathroom are going through. It must be awful.
DO: Have your passengers be teenagers who will listen to music, sleep, etc. when they are stuck in the car.
DO NOT: Forget that, if you have teenagers, they were once toddlers, and keep those parents with toddlers in your thoughts, as undoubtedly, there is someone having a very bad ride.
DO: Have air conditioning.
DO NOT: Postpone getting your air conditioning fixed three months ago, because you’ll have plenty of time to get it done before the weather gets warm. And yes, I’m looking at me.
DO: Listen to what the police officers directing traffic tell you, and follow their directions.
DO NOT: Argue with them, disregard them, ignore them. They know better than you about the traffic flow. They’re here to help. Don’t create a Live PD segment in the middle of this mess.
DO: Listen for sirens.
DO NOT: Have your music so loud that you do not hear sirens, thus stopping an emergency vehicle from getting to their destination, which most likely is way more important and urgent than yours.
DO: Be understanding if folks heading to meet you get gummed up with traffic and throw off planned appointments.
DO NOT: Use traffic as an excuse when you know darn well you were just late.
DO: Put your shopping carts up.DO NOT: Ever forget that I will work that message into any column I can.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.