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Traffic Jams- Seven Things to Avoid in Standstill Traffic

Updated on April 26, 2016
Uh oh
Uh oh

Easing the anxiety

Nobody ever likes being stuck in traffic, anywhere. It doesn’t matter what the reason is; it stills sucks horribly every single time. Not only that, but have you noticed this always happens whenever you’re in the biggest hurry of your life? There you are, rushing down the Interstate to get to that all-important destination and Whoomp! There it is! Traffic comes to a dead stop and all you can see up ahead is the tell-tale smoke of a burning 18-wheeler about two miles ahead.

Shut it down and enjoy some more of that drive-thru meal you have there, because this is going to take some time.

Because of the nature of the highway, being two to four lanes at the most and really just a strip of asphalt through the middle of nowhere with no escape possible unless your car flies or you might have a 4x4 (but you’re still corralled in by the corrugated guardrail), you are simply stuck there. You can’t just turn around and you can’t really expect any valid gain from crawling up along the emergency lane (but people do it for some reason) so all you can do is grin and bear it.

But patience can be worn thin and distraction is always possible. Hey, it’s likely the main reason you’re caught up in this, since the most likely reason this backup has happened is because someone wasn’t paying close enough attention and ran smack into the back of the car immediately ahead of them. In days of old it was often a car that ran its last mile and decided to die right there for everyone to see. This still happens occasionally but the most common factor is inattention and improper driving. Look, just because the car ahead of you isn’t closer than a foot it doesn’t mean you’re not keeping up. If you cannot see ahead of them then you don’t know what makes them stop or why.

But we are ahead of that now. We are now focusing on what occurs when smarter driving is not employed and we are stuck in a seventy-five-mile-long narrow parking lot with no escape. Now keep in mind that there’s plenty you can do with this time forced upon you. You can, for example and if weather allows, step out and enjoy the classic 7-minute Workout. You can call an old friend and catch up. You can finish some paperwork if you have it with you. You can get to know your new neighbor and you might make some new friends. Yeah, I doubt it, too.

But there are numerous things you should avoid doing should this unfortunate moment happen upon you, and it will every so often.

Jumping from car to car to car with a Professional Grade Pogo Stick

I would be the first to agree that the temptation is likely agonizing. I mean, look at the possibilities! All the cars are like this close together and cannot move! All you really need to do is get the Pogo Stick out of the trunk or wherever you keep yours, and boing and boing and boing from one unsuspecting automobile to the next.

I suggest you avoid this temptation but it would be a clever and efficient way to get further ahead in traffic in order to see what the hold-up really is. It might be a medical emergency and they might need your help. So, I suggest all doctors and other medical personnel keep a Pogo Stick with them at all times. You never know when this might save a life.

But for most of us who are not medical professionals, all we are going to do is cause more anxiety for those around us. First of all, the chances that the very bottom or the foot of the Pogo Stick causes so little actual contact that the stupid cars of today aren’t going to hold up to the impact. You’re more than likely to cause severe dents in the roofs and hoods of cars, and it’s possible you could end up through a windshield of a sports car that harbors a very slanted windshield.

The sudden attention you’ll gain from the people around you, already anxious from being stuck there, may be less than ideal. Judging from my experience with this in the past, the people’s cars and such that you haven’t reached yet will sneakily spray WD-40 on the spot of the car where they think you’ll land when you reach that said car. If you’re not familiar with this stuff, you need to know it is very slippery and as soon as the foot of your Pogo stick makes contact with that high-tech lubricant, you’re going down like a bag of chain.

Oh, and just so you know, once you get your wind back and sit up to take notice of all the angry people around you, mumbling, Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there, isn’t going to help you one bit.

Like a good neighbor...

Musical Chairs, the Auto Edition

Yes, we all loved Musical Chairs as children. You walk around the chairs, cleverly numbered to where there’s one less chair than competitors, and as soon as the music stops, you pull a stiletto and stab as many opponents as possible and sit in a chair, making sure you’re not the last one standing. The one competitor who didn’t get a chair loses. It was something like that. Anyway, there is a fun way to do this but with all the cars available in the back-up.

Numerous times in various back-ups I and my hordes of new neighbors found this quite entertaining and cleverly passed the time until the obstacles ahead cleared out of the way and we could resume in our mundane lives. We would all tune the car radios in on the same local station and turn the volume to maximum, and then roll the windows down and begin trotting around the outer perimeter of the stalled traffic. And then as soon as the music stopped and a commercial commenced, we would rush into the car closest to us and roll the windows up. Oh, I have to say, this can be a lot of fun.

But people tend to allow the notoriety of competition to get the better of them, and mayhem often ensues. There are always those buzzkills who rush back to their car and demand you exit it or else something or other. And then there are those who clear out the car they entered of all the valuables and proceed back into the game with the loot, prepared for the next one, should any loot be left.

And then there are the inevitable losers of the game who are forced out of their cars and have to walk scores of miles, often falling prey to criminals and stray Pitbulls along the way. For whatever reason these people usually are the elderly who drive rather nice and cozy Buicks. But it isn’t always the elderly and it could be you, usually because of cheaters with Tasers, handcuffs and shackles. In fact, during my last three episodes of this, it turned out those the most armed and prepared to cheat at Musical Cars caused the back-up in the first place.

So, take my advice and sit out the fun when Musical Cars ensues in your next back-up. Someone is sure to steal your stuff, vandalize the interior and, egad, change all the presets on the radio. Instead, roll up the windows and lock the doors, keeping quiet and avoiding eye contact with the players. But by all means, record it all with your smart phone and post it. This stuff is endlessly entertaining when in the comfort of your own home.

Paintball Warfare Games

I have seen once in a great while a game of Musical Chairs- The Automotive Edition become rather dramatic and when everyone is doing the mad rush to a car, out come the paintball guns. It can be fun at times and quite amusing when the majority of people gang up on a small group, such as a car full of unpopular school cheerleaders who keep cheering when everyone is trying to hear what caused this crap in the first place, but this too can get out of hand.

You know, it’s really intriguing to note how certain regions of the country prone to back-ups like this are populated with folks who keep high-grade paintball guns and tons of ammo with them, especially in neon color paintballs. So, what’s the problem, you ask?

All too often these days, likely due to nobody knowing how many genders exist in society anymore, too many people are replacing their paintball guns with flare guns. Now, the first few times I saw this last summer in back-ups around Orlando, FL and around the I-285 loop around Atlanta, I enjoyed it immensely. Just so you know, flares often come in numerous colors, as well, often in more colors than paintballs, and it can be enjoyable and pass the time quickly.

OH! But you conveniently forgot everyone has to leave their windows down when the music is playing, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU! And yes, you guessed it. Invariably two-to-three dozen flares end up zipping right into just as many cars (and occasionally on purpose, I bet), causing yet more carbeques burning, often several in a small confined area. I don’t know all the details, but I understand that this really irks the local law enforcement.

So, if you value your valuables, your interior and channel presets, you might want to follow my above advice and stay clear of these silly games. Yes, you might have to tape up the windows with newspaper or something in order to keep people from seeing in, but it is what it is.

Warning: Zombies

Don't let this be you. Particularly in Middle Georgia
Don't let this be you. Particularly in Middle Georgia

Wandering though stopped traffic in Zombie costume

Now, this can be funny in certain regions of the country where this is often seen and expected. Zombie movies and TV shows are all the rage these days and therefore there are gobs of Cosplay people in on the fun, creating fun and clever new costumes looking more and more convincing by the day. If there is a major back-up along I-5 in Los Angeles and soon zombies start staggering along in between the cars along the way, people will be quite amused.

You can see them getting out of the car and feigning terror as this zombie moves at half of one mile per hour, but most often people are getting their picture with the zombies or paying the zombie people to chase their terrified toddlers between the cars. Seeing a shrieking five-year-old tremble in terror while hidden under a Cadillac running in blazing heat while the car is surrounded by a baker’s dozen worth of Zombie Cosplayers reach in for the terrorized kid is quite memorable and goes viral Just. Like. That.

But go ahead and attempt to pull this little stunt in Atlanta. Yep, Head shot zombies all over the place.

Yes, that in itself is somewhat amusing if you’re the onlooker, but you have to know the lay of the land if you’re going to wander in stopped traffic in zombie attire and makeup. So, I recommend avoiding this pastime if you’re in the Southeast, Phoenix or Miami, FL.

Juggling Chainsaws

I should be specific here. If you’re a professional chainsaw juggler and need the practice, well then get out there and get it done. People always enjoy watching these entertaining professionals, particularly when this entertainment comes unexpectedly, like in stopped traffic. But I have to say I would avoid taking on a large class of chainsaw juggling students while these people, well-meaning I’m sure, have little more to do than lob paintballs and flares into one another’s vehicles or hunt screaming zombie cosplayers. This is why.

Look, there’s already what is likely a medical emergency taking place about seven miles ahead. Beyond that, people who are new to juggling chainsaws, after getting comfortable with three of them (which can be done in minutes and you have the time) always get industrious and try to bring in one more. They lose track of the new one, lose focus and their mojo, and there it goes, a running chainsaw inadvertently thrown into a group of Musical Cars players or at the moaning head of a pretend zombie.

Not just that, but most people today are protective of their car’s finish. All it takes is one scrambling chainsaw across the hood of a new Corvette and, you guessed it, tempers start to flare. And then there are flare guns booming all over while people are running frantically between and over the cars with Pogo Sticks while wielding a Poulon Pro 18” chainsaw while ablaze from a neon green flare. Yes, yes, the viral video is worth watching but that doesn’t mean you want to be there.

How about classes for the Rubik’s Cube instead? Hey, fewer flare guns. Just saying.

Filming the above Guano-Madness with a High-Priced Drone

Now, if you’re not actively tangled up in the messes described above, or you are but you’re actually having fun, this is entertaining to see. But as we all know, drones have become all the rage in the world we live in and these things can get downright pricey!

If these drones weren’t so popular and trendy, I wouldn’t place this along with the things to avoid but with the things I wholeheartedly recommend. But because they’re just about everywhere, such as nude beaches and construction sites, people watch for them.

People are looking for them and finding them all the time, so you can get your sweet bippy that should all the above-mentioned madness is occurring in real time, the soberer among the bunch are going to watching the skies for drones coming in to viddy all the fun. And that’s the moment when paintballs, flares and chainsaws are going to be reaching for the sky.

Not only is your expensive toy at risk, but these things come down (that gravity thing) and, you guessed, it, more automotive damage, more serious and spreading fires and more chainsaw beheadings. And this is only going to bring about a sky-full of local news helicopters buzzing around to catch it all for the local viewers, programming is going to be preempted for breaking news, and before you know it people are going to be lobbing flares at all the helicopters. And according to the statistics concentrating on these scenarios, at least five or six helicopters lose control and blaze down into the back-up.

And take a good guess as to who they’re going to blame for every single little bit of this? Oh, yeah. The guy with the drone, that’s who.

This is exactly why you see bumper stickers in major metropolitan areas reading- Own the drone and own the crisis.

Sales of these bumper stickers have soared over the past two years.

Holding an impromptu Trump Rally

Come on, would you? These rallies have caused who-knows-how-many traffic jams and back-ups over the past several weeks, and much of the above mayhem pales in comparison to what’s happened in those mayhem-filled moments.

Knock it off. Just quit being this way and knock it off.

But hey, you could go from window to window in the long line, avoiding the paint and flares and politely ask questions while pretending to be a pollster, asking political questions and taking donations for whatever political cause they support. This just might pay for the damages to your finish and interior, and get the zombie bloodstains out of your clothes.

Hey, we are all in this together. At the speed of zero

We all recognize that being caught up in traffic jams and standstill traffic is never looked forward to by anyone. We all have places to go and we want to get there promptly. Yet, we all know the occasional back-up or even stopped traffic is going to happen at least now and then. And it is going to happen to you. I truly hope this information proves beneficial the next time this happens to you.

It will and I’m confident it has happened before, right? If so, please share in the comments the adventure that occurred when you were stuck and then forward the article to loved ones and friends so they can share their stories. By gathering up these stories and hard-learned lessons, we can offer tremendous advantages to those waiting their turn, thereby making this a better world one tragic traffic jam at a time.


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