Sunday, September 21, 2008

On Driving in Atlanta

I had to run up to Chattanooga this weekend for business. The 3 hour and 1-minute trip (according to Mapquest) ended up taking us more like 5 hours. We maybe could have timed it better. Night driving is not my cup of tea, so we opted to hit the road as soon as we could rather than wait for Friday afternoon rush hour traffic to ease up. Given that we would be going against traffic for the first part of the trip, we thought traffic would clear out by the time we joined commuters on I-285. Besides, it was a beautiful day for driving with the top down.

If I had to deal with Atlanta traffic to get back and forth to work every day, I'd have more anger issues than Dick Cheney. It's a wonder dozens of commuters don't get shot in the face every day. Even going against traffic we were bumper to bumper, moving at a snail's pace toward the I-285 bypass--and that's in the fast lane going the opposite direction of rush hour traffic.

Getting on the bypass was a cakewalk compared to getting off. Everyone in the left lanes is trying to shift to the right, and everyone in the right lanes is trying to shift to the left. A few even use turn signals. By the time we completed the merge onto I-75, I was wishing for a gun so I could shoot somebody in the face.

I don't know why they bother posting speed limits on any of the interstates around Atlanta. When there is a lot of traffic, you wish you could hit the 40 miles-per-hour posted minimum speed. When there is not as much traffic, if you go the posted speed limit you're going to get blown off the road. I tend to set my cruise control about 5 miles over the posted speed limit. Most traffic whizzes by me. Most are doing 85 or 90--some have to be doing 100.

Where's law enforcement? I keep hearing that tax revenues are down. They could easily make up the difference if they just went after speeders on Atlanta interstates. Throw in the folks that pass on the right, change lanes without signaling, and otherwise drive like they're playing an arcade game and we could easily make up the budget shortfall.

Every time I have to deal with Atlanta traffic, I renew my vow never to return without a court order. Life is too short to spend several hours among thousands of cars, each with a driver happily chatting away on his or her cell phone smoking a cigarette, and refreshing the make-up they put on in the car on the way to work that morning. Having to deal with that kind of traffic is just another reason why I am...

The Crotchety Old Man


Anonymous said...

Crotch my man, it's the same all over. I will present my fellow Charlotte NC drivers to be even worse than your Atlanta ones.
Then I would say go to Houston, Texas. If your heart (or face) survived that then go to Montreal Quebec. You get to add Kilometers, signs in french and icy roads to the mix of horrible driving.

The Crotchety Old Man said...

LOL. Not ALL over. Here in Athens we have rush half hour in the morning and afternoon then everything settles back down. And that's only when UGA is in session.

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