You may think that the only way to ease traffic is to widen roads, improve intersections and the like, but even Mrs. Daily Commuter and Mr. Out-On-Errands can mitigate congestion that we all suffer as a result of living in north Metro Atlanta. So, I’ll be your expert on the subject, because I happen to have a newspaper column and you don’t, and outline the ways that you can help fight traffic snarls from behind the wheel.

There have been several studies on how a single driver, or an autonomous car, can improve traffic flow, some highlighting “jam-absorption driving.” If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional sleep aid, might I suggest the study, “A Jam-Absorption Driving Strategy for Mitigating Traffic Oscillations,” which could still manage to knock out a person even if they had approximately 3 pounds of cocaine in their system.  

Unlike those studies, my strategies are not based in scientific analysis, rather, road rage. I will do my best to not let myself succumb to this anger while writing this.

Let’s start with a simple suggestion. When entering a turning lane, do so at the beginning of the lane, not halfway or three-quarters of the way from the beginning of the lane to the intersection. That way, you can gradually slow down without impeding traffic in any way INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE INTERSECTION CAUSING YOU TO BRAKE HARDER AND SLOW DOWN AN ENTIRE LANE OF TRAFFIC YOU MISERABLE CLOD!

Sorry, I tried to contain the road rage. I’ll do better from now on.

While we are on the subject on turning, I’m here to remind you that you can, in fact, make a 90-degree turn onto another street at a rate faster than the speed of smell. By taking a turn that would be considered “slow” in terms of plate tectonics, you are essentially bringing the entire traffic lane to a stop.

The same people who take turns only at a rate of speed beginning with “0” mph probably also need to hear this — you yield to traffic before entering a roundabout, YOU DON’T COME TO A COMPLETE STOP WHEN THE ONLY CAR WITHIN 3 MILES IS MINE, AND I’M BEHIND YOU!

Sorry, another slip-up.   

The roundabout is a beautiful bit of engineering, and with their proliferation in our area, you need to invest in a MARTA Breeze card if you don’t know how they work by now.   

Another way to improve traffic flow is to have lane discipline on the highway. If you are not passing someone, move over to the right. If everyone practiced this, it would have an immediate and immense improvement on highway congestion, and I wouldn’t have to imagine what your head looks like on a spike when you’re doing 64 mph in the left lane on Ga. 400.

And if you are one of the drivers that will stay in the left lane just because someone is traveling, or wants to be traveling, at a speed you deem too fast, here’s a little checklist. Do you have a badge on your chest and a set of blue lights on the roof of your car? No? Then it is not up to you and your self-righteousness to enforce traffic laws. Just let them over, get on with your day and let traffic flow.

If we all followed these tips, we could all save ourselves a bit of unnecessary time behind the wheel without major intersection overhauls or additional lanes. Here’s to hoping.

For my next installment, I’ll outline how you can avoid road rage; don’t ever drive in metro Atlanta.

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