I don’t commute, so I haven’t seen rush hour traffic in a few years.
I mean, just wow.
Guys, I have news for you: That SUV with a 350+ horsepower engine is burning an awful lot of gas when it spends a solid hour driving down two miles of crowded road. And no matter how far off the ground you are, and how slowly the scenery is passing, 70 is still too fast in a 55 zone.
I cannot believe the amount of traffic out there. The last time I was commuting regularly, I carpooled. My car pool wasn’t 100% efficient, but I drove for an extra 5 minutes on un-busy streets, give or take, to get to a friend’s house. Net savings on the order of 15-20 miles a day of driving, I’d guess. Seemed obvious at the time. Why don’t more people do this? Why don’t they seem to be even trying?
This is a problem we know how to beat. We have the technology, we have the resources. We could make rush hour mostly a non-issue. We could spread working hours out more; we could have people telecommute more. We could carpool. We could, if nothing else, drive to and from work in smaller, more efficient, cars. I hate to break it to you, guy, but that Hummer is not actually convincing anyone that you have a big weenie.
If you commute, give the question some thought; there may be something you could do that would reduce the stress and hassle of rush hour traffic. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of reduction in traffic to make rush hour a lot better; if there are fewer cars, they can go faster, and get off the roads sooner.
If all else fails, drive courteously. If you have to merge in stop-and-go traffic, do the zipper thing. Calm down. Drive patiently.
Anyway, I’m convinced; I’d need to be paid a LOT of money to take up commuting again.
Date: 2004-01-06 02:28:09 -0600
Yeah, I think it’s rather sad how, if society gave a flying f-word about fuel efficiency and gave up on the illusion that large metal shells on wheels make for safer roads than those populated by agile cars with responsive breaks, we as a nation could solve many oil related problems (investing some of our plentiful American dollars into vehicles that perhaps average 1 more MPG would save more oil than is in two arctic wildlife refuges, 2.7 additional MPGs would save as much oil as we import from Iraq and Kuwait combined– hell, 7.6 more MPGs on average buys us total independence from gulf oil imports)* and make every day life a bit safer to boot. Then we could work on things like writing without long parenthetical remarks. But we like big engines driving big vehicles. So solving social problems can be put on hold while we turn heads with Hummers.
*This from the environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as stated on NPR’s “Fresh Air” Dec. 4, 2003.