Last week Friday was tough on us Snor City inhabitants.
Due to an accident that took place early in the morning, the whole of Pretoria was a complete stuff-up. Getting anywhere near the city centre or Centurion was a near impossible task, with commuters being contained against their will for and average of an hour and a half.
Luckily, I was heading in the other direction, but even so I got caught in the crosshairs for 40 minutes. This delay came courtesy of those idiots who think they’re far more important than the rest of us. You also know them as the guys who use the lane with the moving traffic to get ahead, simply to push their way back in front of the rest of us who patiently and respectfully waited for our turn at the traffic lights.
I’ve been living in Gauteng for four years now and Friday was the worst I’ve ever seen the traffic. I did my 40-minute stretch and thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have to drive that way until a lot later in the day, after the traffic had been cleared.
I hate rush hour traffic. To me there’s nothing worse than standing stationary, with nothing to look at but the back of the person in front’s poorly executed haircut. It feels as if my life is passing me by at 120km/h and I’m stuck in first gear doing a smidgen under ten.
Rush hour traffic brings out the worst in people, which may have something to do with what is commonly known as the herd mentality. We’re basically disrespectful and impatient, because everyone around us is acting the same way.
This saddens me, because we South Africans have a reputation for being one of the friendliest nations on earth. Is this a false perception we use to lure unsuspecting tourists to our country so we have even more people whose haircuts we can judge?
I don’t think so. In my opinion the problem starts as soon as we turn the key. This simplest of actions can turn a docile Volvo driving soccer mom into a stark-raving lunatic on the offensive.
I totally understand this behavior. Heck, I’m even guilty of it myself. Rush hour completely sucks the life out of each and every one of us, so it’s no surprise that there’s nothing but aggression left after a certain amount of time behind the wheel.
There must be something we can do?
For help, I turned to the great, wise and powerful Google. It suggested trying a different route, listening to audio books and using breathing exercises to keep myself occupied during rush hour. According to www.wikihow.com, I should confront my own penchant for misbehaving on the road, acknowledge that it exists and then do something about it.
I’ll be trying some of these tips over the next few weeks and I’ll report back on how it goes. I’ve already removed the alternative route option from my list, but only because my distaste for e-tolling is far greater than my distaste for sitting in traffic.
If all else fails, I’m going to make myself a poster I can keep on the back of the bakkie. On it I’m going to write the words; “Let’s not get caught up in this rat race. Join me for a coffee and a chat.” Whenever the traffic gets too bad, I’m going to pull off next to the road and put it up in the window.
I’ve convinced myself that it’s a great way to skip rush hour and meet new people. The only problem I can see is that I might end up meeting an opportunistic criminal. This is South Africa, after all. The same country where an innocent paramedic got stabbed eight times after he pulled over to help an injured man in the middle of the road.
Do you have a calming method for rush hour? Let us know in the comments section below.