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  • Isabel Beariault

Solving Traffic, the Never Ending Problem in the DMV

Imagine this. You are peacefully driving down a road. Suddenly, you hit a huge wall of cars. Soon, as cars file in behind you, you become a part of the wall until you are completely stuck. In other words: you are stuck in traffic. Being stuck in traffic really brings out the worst in people’s personalities. There’s always the guy who is late and therefore impatient. He is constantly switching lanes, trying to gain those extra millimeters but failing miserably at it. If any of you are that type of traffic personality, please note that switching lanes will never get you to your destination faster. Drivers who switch lanes actually make traffic worse for everyone.

Then there are the people who still follow the three-second rule even when they are at a standstill. The three-second rule, if you’re confused, is the rule that you should, at all times, be three seconds away from the car in front of you. So, for example, if the car in front of you passes a tree, your car should pass the tree three seconds later. Now, just think about this rule in standstill traffic. There is no need to be twenty meters away from the car in front of you.

Next, we have the music blasters. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all love blaring music in the car. However, when you are stopped on a road, sitting essentially right next to the person in your neighboring car, it is so annoying to be forced to listen to their music bursting through the walls of your completely closed car.

There is also the famous honkers. What good does it ever do to honk when no one can move? There’s really nothing else to say.

Finally, we have the tailgater, who obnoxious drive only a couple centimeters behind the car in front of them. It’s like they think they will be able to drive faster if they stay that close to the car in front, but SURPRISE: tailgating is absolutely pointless.

These are just some of the many types of drivers we are fortunate enough to witness when we are stuck in traffic, an unfortunately extremely common situation in the DMV area.

Anyways, let’s move on to some solutions to the never ending problem of traffic. I would suggest taking public transportation, but that is a terrible idea unless you want to spend three hours getting to school. Of course, if you live in DC, it’s a bit easier with the metro, but if you want to get to anywhere in Bethesda, Potomac, Mclean, Rockville or most places where people commonly live, it is extremely difficult. I would also suggest taking smaller side roads, but since everything in this area is so spaced out, you are pretty much forced to take the larger roads unless you want to, again, spend three hours getting to school.

Then there is the less popular option that my mother uses all the time. When she used to drive me to school, my mother would drive me until she hit traffic. The second she reached the traffic, my mother would promptly instruct me to gather my belongings and get out of the car. That is how I, on multiple occasions, found myself walking alone on River Road at 7:45 am. My mother would then turn the car around and have no trouble getting home. I, on the other hand, would be late to school. Fortunately, sometimes another Holton student would feel bad for me and offer me a ride to school, which I always accepted. This technique avoids 100% of all the infuriating driver types, but for obvious reasons, I would not recommend this solution.

I have one final solution to avoid the frustrating people you encounter while stuck in traffic. Use a bicycle. Of course, this only works if you live close to school and do not have to drive on any major road or highway. Biking is also terrible if you must navigate hills on your way to school. Nevertheless, I biked to school for the first time last week. I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to make it to school, so I left at 6 am… on a late opening. Yes, I obviously judged the distance from my house to school wrong because I arrived promptly 3.5 hours early to school at 6:20 a.m. Even though my stupidity in this story is clear, my biking adventure also shows that biking only took 10 minutes longer than it would have taken me to drive. In other words, biking is a fast and efficient way to travel.

In summary, my main takeaways from this blog post are: 1) Traffic really brings out the worst in people, and it’s awful to have to waste your time next to these people. 2) Traffic in the DMV is an enormous problem, and there are really no great solutions unless you want to double your commute time. 3) Get a bike. 4) gEt A bIkE. 5) Please just GET A BIKE!

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