On Thursdays I have to be at work at 9:30. Even though it only takes me 30 minutes to get there, I usually allow 45 minutes just in case traffic is an issue. This morning it was.
I’m fortunate that there are a lot of different routes I can use to get to work. The fastest (and way I usually use) is the Interstate, but I also know several side streets that go in the right direction. When I get in the car, the first thing I do is turn the radio to an AM station that has frequent traffic updates to see if my normal route has any problems. This morning the only thing I heard that would affect me was a slowdown from a cleared-up accident that started about five miles before my exit and continued until I needed to get off. It would take me 20 minutes to get to that area, which I figured it would be cleared up by then, so I proceeded as I usually do.
I left my subdivision, meandered through another one, and pulled out onto 141, where the speed limit is 50 mph. NOT 40, which is what the truck ahead of me was doing. He also tapped his brakes every 30 seconds. When the limit dipped to 45 mph in the City of Manchester, he lowered his speed to 35 mph. It took me several miles to get into the other lane and away from the truck, but somehow now I was behind another driver who was “Sunday driving”!
Fortunately now I wasn’t too far from the Interstate, so I grinned and beared it until I could get into the right lane, which merges onto the outer road and then the interstate entrance ramp. To my understanding, a merge lane means you slow down, check for traffic, then continue through if it’s safe. Even though there was no traffic to be seen on the outer road, someone several cars ahead of me decided to come to an almost complete stop, which caused a chain reaction as everyone behind him quickly hit their brakes.
My bad luck continued when I got on the highway. I got behind a large, slow pickup loaded with tree limbs that looked like they were going to fall off. Then I got in front of a driver who was in a hurry and thought that the speed limit was 70. He wasn’t happy with the fact I was doing the posted limit in the far right lane and gave me a dirty look as he passed.
The traffic slowdown I thought would be gone was even worse than the radio reported. Now it started two more miles to the west, with stop and go traffic. I’d had enough! I was coming up on an exit I knew would get me to a road that would take me to the mall, so I quickly got off. The exit has a roundabout, and I was behind a driver that seemed to be unfamiliar with navigating it, but soon I was traveling at a normal rate of speed. I missed every stop light on the way, but was SO glad to pull into the parking garage with a couple of minutes to spare.
I wonder if I’ll have the same problems on the way home?