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Traffic Congestion

School holidays are over, the kids are back at school and we’re back at work, facing the daily grind through congested traffic.

For those who braved the traffic during the holidays they are particularly put out, having enjoyed a far more rapid commute than usual, enjoyed an extra coffee or chat before work begins, and wondered why it couldn’t be like this all the time.

Well, we reckon it can!

It’s been said that during school holidays traffic only lightens by about 7 to 10 percent outside school drop off hours, yet the influence that this has on traffic flow is immense. So if you commute before 8 am it shouldn’t take much to lessen the strain.

So here are ten ideas that can speed up the daily commute.

1. Pay attention.

Keep your mind on the job of driving. Don’t get distracted by the radio, music choices or make up! Don’t rubberneck or slow down if there’s an incident that doesn’t affect you. Keep an even distance behind the car in front, watch out for problems well in advance and adjust your speed smoothly. Driving is an art and a skill, but needs concentration.

2. Keep up with the traffic.

Don’t lag behind the traffic flow as this causes ‘bunching’. Bunching has a serious compounding affect on the following traffic that you won’t even know about. Traffic studies around the world show that the ‘bunching effect’ slows down traffic by a significant amount back down the line, often leading to traffic becoming stationery.

3. Accelerate briskly away from the lights

Don’t put on make-up, slurp a drink or get distracted so that you don’t react to the lights changing. You’ll frustrate the drivers behind you and slow down others. Accelerate briskly towards your cruising speed to get traffic moving again, and minimize delays- but we don’t mean laying down rubber on the tarmac.

4. Listen to radio traffic reports- or check GPS live updates

Tune into the local radio stations, or, better still, get live updates from your GPS sat/nav unit. This will help you avoid bottlenecks, accidents and disruptions. Smart phones can help here, too, but make sure they’re not a distraction and you use it as a hands-free device..

5. Use Bus Lanes- and get the authorities to set back bus stops.

Organise a passenger or two so that you can use transit or bus lanes. But, heh, the local governments can do more to help as well. How annoying it is when a bus stops in the lane to pick up passengers? You either have to wait patiently behind them or swerve (often dangerously) into the moving traffic, causing yet further disruption. How much better would it be if the bus has a set back to drive into when it picks up passengers!

6. Keep your vehicle serviceable.

Breakdowns are a major cause of traffic chaos. Nobody breaks down on purpose but a few simple checks minimize your chances of infuriating your fellow commuters. Make sure you have plenty of petrol in the tank, have your vehicle regularly serviced.

7. Go by bike

Why not go all, or part of the way by bike? You can buy a fold up bike to put in the boot and finish your journey by bike, avoidingcontributing to inner city congestion. If that’s a bit too much action then you can even look at buying an ‘e’ bike, battery powered and capable of 30kph without help from you.

8. Keep Left!

If you are moving at a slower pace than those in front f you,move over to the left lane (but not the bus or transit lane). If you’re still slower in this line of traffic then you are impeding progress of others, so speed up to the allowable speed limit.

9. Merge carefully.

Sudden lane changes interrupt the traffic flow and can cause ‘bunching’. When merging, think ahead, don’t leave it until the last 10 metres to force your way in, as that has a ‘concertina’ effect that will cause a slow down further back. On the other hand if you are in the other lane, be courteous and allow traffic to merge in smoothly.Either way, less interruption to the traffic flow causes less disruption and more rapid progress.

10. …and the obvious.

Work from home, avoid peak hours, use public transport, join a car sharing scheme, walk, run or roller skate. All these help.

Just one more thing. Have you noticed how police patrol vehicles seem to stay away from highway commuter traffic in peak hours? Is this because the area commanders tacitly accept that commuting just a few k’s over the limit does no harm, helps the traffic flow and speeds up the commuting time? Or is it because patrol cars get better pickings from side street hoons?

So what else can we do to shoo away the commuter woes? Let us know here –