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The London Commute: Do I Have Any Hair Left?

As we amble through this rat race known as life, there will be times when we will have to come face to face with some of the horrors of the modern world. This morning, as I awoke from my deep slumber, I knew not what lay before me. The objective was simple; I had to drive from my home in the Kentish lands to my place of work in Central London. On any other day, this would be a simple pleasure for me, seeing as most of the time the drive to London really rather easy.

Alas, this was no ‘most of the time’. This was a Friday. Not just a Friday, but a Friday morning commute.

Friday is just another weekday, there are four others just like it. Why is it that everything just tumbles into dismay on a Friday? Are there certain people that have been hired by the government to do nothing but clog up the roads with their terrible driving and time wasting.

At some point, wherever we may be, we will come into contact with the nightmare that is the commute. It really is no shock to me that so many people begin to go bald as they get older, considering how much of my hair I was tearing out this morning.

Let’s break it down…

Endless lines of brake lights and slow moving sadness. Image Credit:

Endless lines of brake lights and slow moving sadness. Image Credit:

Paying to be stuck in traffic?

The Congestion Charge was introduced to London in 2003, and still remains in force today. The theory was for the government to profit out of the misery of the people driving to wor- Wait, I mean, the theory was to introduce the scheme in order to reduce traffic levels in the capital. To give them their credit, on the first day the charge was put in use, the capital saw a 25% drop in traffic going in and out.

But for those people who have no other option than to drive into the city, they just have to suffer the financial stab. £10 a day does start to add up after a while. Most of the time I get the train into London, but there are occasions where I need to drive. As with anyone who has a job, no one likes to be late, and I especially do not cherish the thought that I am paying the mayor of London money and still be late to work.

I have however come up with a solution, thanks to my genius.

Instead of forcing people to pay the congestion charge to come to my fair city, you give the chance for an ‘optional charge’, which would give drivers access to a special ‘express lane’ if you will that is reserved only for those who pay. Considering how some people are quite desperate to get to London for a certain time, it would mean that the government still keep the taps flowing on their money baths for them to swim in. With those in a hurry and with the financial strength, they get the reduced traffic, while the rest of the world can accept the traffic but not have to pay.

The simple fact of the matter is, do not make the common man pay for the promise of reduced congestion, when the reality is still stress, traffic and sadness.

The Special Kind Of Idiot

90% of the time, people understand and respect the rules of the road, therefore driving in a sensible and proper manner. And yet, we get to Friday and it would seem the inner idiot comes bubbling forth in a monumental display of stupid and downright dangerous driving.

For most of my drive to London, the roads have two lanes. This is great because it spreads the traffic out, but it does however give the idiots a chance to speed from lane to lane as soon as one starts moving faster than the other. This morning for instance this happened in front of me and I was near inches from colliding with an expensive looking BMW. Of course, according to the idiot that dwelled within, this was all my fault and nothing to do with the fact the driver left it until the last minute to speed out of the other lane without looking to check it was safe (all while smoking I might add).

And then of course we have the cyclists. The cyclists who seemed to have appointed themselves lord masters of the roads. I understand that drivers do not always give them the respect they deserve, but sometimes they do take the p*** a little bit. If you are going to cycle in the middle of the road with a queue of cars behind you, when you could very easily move over, do not act surprised when I sound my horn at you. On a similar note, do not just ride up to the front of a queue at the traffic lights then slow down right in front of me when the lights go green. I mean come on.

As Aretha Franklin demanded so beautifully, we all just need to have a bit of R-E-S-P-E-CT.

The Saddest Snake In The World

The central problem in this entire scenario is the nature of the traffic itself. There is a commonly held belief that those of a British persuasion love to queue, well I can tell you that this tradition is not one based in a warm affection. In my eyes anyway, the queue is one of the single most painful experiences I have to go through. As I sit there, the end of my journey feeling like an impossible dream, there is nothing but an air of frustration and claustrophobia that surrounds me.

In a usual driving situation, if you are faced with a slow moving snail of a driver in front of you, it is often possible to overtake safely on a straight stretch of road. But when the speed is a result of traffic jam, there is nothing you can do. All you want to do is pull out and speed away into happiness, alas you are trapped. Every movement, followed by every sudden stop is one of the most frustrating things. You begin to think the traffic is ending, you change gear, find your rhythm and then STOP. It is at this moment I usually wish death and destruction upon the faces of the masses.

The result of too much traffic can only be rage

The result of too much traffic can only be rage


So, with the combination of all these elements, it really does become apparent that the congestion will have nothing except a bad effect on you. The minutes rush by, transforming into hours, and there you are, stuck in the the body of the snake. As you slither slowly towards salvation, you feel a primal ooze of volcanic rage bubbling wildly inside you. We all try and fight it, but the demons take hold. The seeds burst open and blossom into a grand oak of road rage.

My point is, my London traffic experience is not good. I don’t know if you got that from what I was saying or not…

The question is, if I carry on driving to London, will I have any hair left?

Keep Driving People!

Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Peace and Love!