Sunday, July 14, 2013

What do you do while waiting out traffic jams?

Link to MSN news

While patience is a virtue, time is also money. Many cities in the world face similar problems with traffic congestion. In densely populated areas, people spend up to 72 hours a month just waiting out jams; and traffic jams often cause impatience among drivers which lead to road rages.

A person’s personality is often reflected in the way he drives. During traffic gridlocks, a variety of driving attitudes may be spotted, namely the abiding driver, the inattentive driver, the road hog and the road bully.

As road users, we very much wish that drivers are considerate enough not to hog the yellow boxes, run a red light or cut queues. Oh, the incessant honking and warning‘flash beams’ – don’t they just make driving wearisome, tiresome and bothersome!

So what do people do while stuck in traffic?

It will definitely be good to exert full concentration and calmness behind the wheel. However, balancing these against aggravated situations may well tip the scale over. Just imagine, you are especially late for a meeting, or you have to pick up your kid from school. Or worse, you just got an earful from your boss at work, or, you just got fired.

No matter, traffic jams intensifies our foul mood, and the only way is to gain control of our emotions.

Be happy

Nothing beats being happy. When there are happy thoughts, time flies. Some like to turn the radio on. Some like to hum, some like to sing, some like to dance, and some like to listen to news.

Some like to chat on the phone, some like to browse the web (highly unadvisable if driving), and some like to text friends (also highly unadvisable if driving).

Some like the silence. Some like to formulate plans, some like to recall events of the day, and some like to think up excuses.

Some like to check the spots on their faces, some like to shave or put on make-up, and some like to fiddle with their noses or comb their hair.

Some like to play guessing games or look into other people’s cars.

Of course, being happy is one thing, but multi-tasking is another – it makes an inattentive driver.

Making good use of time

Time and tide waits for no man, as the saying goes.

Although studies show that couples are more likely to have disagreements during car rides, it is actually more comforting to travel with another person to distract boredom. Having meaningful discussions in the car may be highly satisfactory and at the same time lessen one’s agitation towards the agonizingly slow-moving vehicles.

Many successful business deals and worthy ideas have been worked out during traffic jams. The invention of earphones, Bluetooth, and other hands-free accessories make it possible for drivers to safely conduct brainstorming sessions and conversations over the cellular phone.

Businessmen, negotiators, agents and students would then discover that tolerating congestions are not that bad after all.

A writer, for instance, may most probably be thinking of his opening phrase while stuck in traffic. A composer might be trying to make up a new tune; the detective scrutinizing new evidence; the scientist comprehending facts and figures; the philosopher contemplating the congestion; and the religious man examining the will of God. And so on and so forth.
Yes, all these will make the rush hour sweeter by comparison, and diminish the frustration that comes with it. Hopefully, this will also lessen road bullies and road rages.

But when all else fails, just grin and bear it. (Meditation works too!)
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