Mastering the Art of Slow: Rush Hour Traffic Made Easy

A stressful ride on 826 can pretty much ruin my day.  In the fast lane we have people cruising at a comfortable 45 mph; and in any other lane, you’ll find Miami douche-bags racing at 100 mph on a Saturday in the afternoon. You could die if you aren’t paying attention. Not to be insensitive, but seems like someone dies everyday out there on a Miami highway. The drivers are reckless, drunk/high, and selfish. If you are anything like me, you curse, yell, scream and honk to cope with those idiots. That, however, is not productive or healthy. Here are 12 steps you can take (in any order really) to make your rush hour commute a tad easier:

Step 1: Acceptance. There is simply no way to get around the fact that your commute to work looks more like a mall parking lot two days before Christmas than a fast moving highway interstate.  Sorry, unless you get up and move to the middle nowhere, just accept the fact that it may take you 20 minutes to get two miles.

Step 2: Count Your Blessings. Remember, your friends in Idaho can’t go to the beach every New Years/Valentines/Memorial Day/Fourth of July/Labor Day/ Thanksgiving/Christmas and every birthday or promotion in between. You live in a place that is gorgeous all year round, especially in the winter months.  Just be glad about that.

Step 3: Be Courteous. I know it’s hard, but get out of the way of the jerk who’s been tailing you, even though all surrounding passing lanes are open. Just get out of his way. He may be evil in incarnate, but your blood pressure will thank you.  If someone wants to get over, let them. You never know what their situation is.  Your polite driving behavior may encourage others to pay it forward. Look at you creating happier roadways all over Miami!

Step 3: Re-Evaluate your Driving Skills. Maybe you’re the guy who cuts people off; maybe you chat on the phone and drive slow as molasses in the far left lane.  Maybe you poison the roadway with your cussing, screaming, honking and bad attitude. Maybe you’re just a little aggressive. We all do something, because if we didn’t, the roadways would be filled with kind,  patient drivers.  Figure out what you do and stop doing it!

Step 4: Drive Sober. This really should go without saying. But I’m going to say it anyway.  Besides being illegal, driving intoxicated makes you a danger to yourself and other people on the road.  It’s easier to avoid other reckless drivers if you have your wits about you.

Stop 6: Stop Texting and Driving. You should know by now this is worse than driving drunk.  FOUR TIMES WORSE. You should also stop talking on the phone too. A conversation in which you are emotionally involved will take your attention away from the road. That’s not safe either.

Step 7: Stop Tailgating. You may say “Whoa! That’s not me… I don’t do that!” Ah, think again.  Unless you leave at least one car’s distance for every 10 miles per hour you’re traveling, you’re tailgating.  It’s kind of hard to cut someone off if there is a huge space between you and the car in front of you.

Step 9: Figure out other, less traffic-y times to drive. I will never drive to Miami from Broward during rush hour.  That is inner-peace suicide. Don’t go out for simple errands, or drive between Miami-Dade and Broward during  rush hour, unless you absolutely have to.  There really is no point. Get an alternative work schedule if you can, something off the beaten path.  Embrace your inner slow and go out and about at an unusual time.

Step 10: Occupy Your Mind.  Listen to an audiobook while you drive.  You wont waste thoughts and energy on the idiot driver you encountered 20 minutes ago if you are listening to a good story.  You will start to enjoy your commutes. One hour of someone reading to you, doing all the different voices of the characters.  Wonderful! (Radio shows are also great, too.)

Step 11: Leave Early. You already know the story: douche bags on the road, too many cars, new construction, disabled vehicle or car accident.  Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going.  If you’re lucky, you might get to your destination early. Then you’ll have an extra 20 minutes to listen to that audio book, buy a cup of coffee, or get your head in the right frame of mind for a positive, productive day at work.  Being early is a good thing.

Step 12: Move on.  Driving is just a part of life.  You could do everything right and your commute could still be horrible.  Let it go. Don’t rehash the story of the who old lady cut you off unless you can tell it without disdain or frustration.  Just be thankful that you made it to your destination safely.

If you have any tips you’d like to share that you use to help keep your commute carefree, please feel free to share them in the comments below. 🙂

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