Am I Dumb For Not Understanding How Traffic Works?3 min read

Am I Dumb For Not Understanding How Traffic Works?<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">3</span> min read</span>

We try to stick to sports here at Let Me B-Frank, but since starting a new job, I have been exposed to copious amounts of traffic and I need to get something off my chest, I have absolutely no clue how traffic works. There are many things in life and the world that I do not understand. I am not afraid to admit it because frankly, science is really confusing. Traffic is #1 on that list. I drive about 50 miles a day on 294 and for the life of me, I cannot figure out how these traffic patterns work or exist. In my head, unless there is an accident or construction that is closing down one or more lanes, there is no reason I should be sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

When I imagine an expressway, I think of it as a running play in football. The line has their assignments to create the running lane and the back’s job is to find the open space and accelerate into the open field. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen and there is a disruption from the defensive line or just poor offensive line play. That is what I think traffic is. We are all running backs just trying to find our lane and get to our destination quickly and safely. The right lane is like the inside handoff, safe, slower play, short yardage situation. The middle lanes are used when the line makes nice blocks and you can pick your spot to attack. The left lane is when there is no space to go, so the back has to turn on the jets and bounce it to the outside. Given this crudely formed analogy, shouldn’t each person understand their role and as the great Lavar Ball once said, “Stay in yo lane”? If that is the case, then why are we so bottled up all the time?

The biggest thing about traffic, that both confuses and irks me to no end, is the random patches of open road that appear only to bottle up quickly and suddenly. Every day on my drive home from work, there is a gap on 294 right by the Nestle factory that opens up to about 65 mph and then suddenly it’s a sea of break-lights as we hit the straightaway. Is this the equivalent of being tripped up in the open field after a big gain? It sure as hell feels like it. How can there be such a small space that is wide open? It’s not like thousands of cars are being added to the road or that a lane is being closed down, I just don’t get it.

And while the random openings might be the biggest thing I don’t get, the single worst part of traffic is when all of a sudden, the road is open and everyone is doing 65+ and it’s as if there was never any congestion, to begin with. If there is that big an opening at the front, why is there build-up behind it? Shouldn’t the entirety of the cars at the head of the pack be moving at or above the speed limit? In turn, opening up the road behind them for the rest of the cars to occupy? That seems way too easy to be the answer, but why doesn’t that work?

Really I just don’t understand traffic and how/why it exists. I tried to relate it back to sports so I had an excuse to post it up here when really I just want someone to teach me how this thing traffic exists and costs me 2 hours of my day, every day, 5 days a week. That’s all. Thank you for your time.


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