We are all in a hurry to get to work. Maybe not all of us. Those people that read a magazine article about preparing the next day’s clothes the night before are probably fine. The rest of us are in a hurry to get to work. However, there’s no need to start everyone’s day off on a bad note by cutting people off on highway on-ramps. It’s just not cool. Also, if you’re at a light on a metered on-ramp, let the person on the left go first. Let’s get organized people, this traffic is ridiculous and it’s not getting better anytime soon. Stop cutting people off and jamming on your brakes, stop fiddling with your cell phone, and stop waiting until you’re on the highway to apply your eye makeup. You look better without all that makeup, and I look better when I’m not paying extra for car insurance because you drive a giant SUV and you like to brake at the last second, every five seconds.
The 10 East on-ramp on Centinela is a daily war zone. Especially if you’re trying to get straight on the 405 South. It’s the worst parade ever: Bumper to bumper Brakey McBrakersons and no Shriners in minicars.
What causes traffic? According to Wikipedia there are a couple theories:
Congestion simulations and real-time observations have shown that in heavy but free flowing traffic, jams can arise spontaneously, triggered by minor events (“butterfly effects”), such as an abrupt steering maneuver by a single motorist.
A team of MIT mathematicians has developed a model that describes the formation of “phantom jams,” in which small disturbances (a driver hitting the brake too hard, or getting too close to another car) in heavy traffic can become amplified into a full-blown, self-sustaining traffic jam.
Because roads in most places are free at the point of usage, there is little financial incentive for drivers not to over-use them, up to the point where traffic collapses into a jam, when demand becomes limited by opportunity cost. Privatization of highways and road pricing have both been proposed as measures that may reduce congestion through economic incentives and disincentives. Congestion can also happen due to non-recurring highway incidents, such as a crash or roadworks, which may reduce the road’s capacity below normal levels.
According to a 2007 study cited by HowStuffWorks.com, Los Angeles drivers may be stuck in traffic for up to two weeks per year. Two weeks of middle fingering could lead to some serious carpal tunnel.
The worst part is that traffic in LA is completely unpredictable. You may leave the house 15 minutes early one day and find that your commute is a breeze. Naturally, you may try leaving home at the same time the next day to avoid traffic. Jokes on you! Once a year the 10 is a ghost town and you wonder what could possibly be going on until someone at work reminds you that it’s Rosh Hashanah.
Yet, for some reason everything is fine during Carmageddon but a total nightmare when Obama comes to town.
There’s not much we, the commuting masses, can do to rid Los Angeles of its traffic problem, other than tap brake-happy commuters on the shoulder like they’re being eliminated from a dance competition, but we can at least attempt to be civil to one another on the road. I’m working on it and I moved out here from Boston. They give out spare middle fingers at the dealerships out there.
If I can do it, we all can.
And so can she.
Book recommendation from a Facebook commenter - Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)