My List Of Causes Of Highway Traffic Backups

It's not just accidents and morons

Aside from accidents and, oh, morons, what causes highway traffic backups?

I mean, you're tooling down the highway, zipping right along when for no discernible reason — screech — traffic slows to a crawl or a complete stop. And then just as suddenly it starts flowing again as if nothing happened.

Surely there must be a cause, or causes for this. Well, there are. I've made a list.

Flashing lights: Whether it be a police cruiser, fire engine, tow truck, ambulance, or some random guy in a pickup, nothing makes people rubber neck like a light show.

Construction: It's not the actual construction that slows traffic, it's the hundred thousand cones leading up to it that does it.

Merging situations: People do not merge well; remember changing classes in high school?

Mowing: Can't the state mow the grass on weekends like everyone else?

Driving the speed limit: Everybody obeying the traffic laws? Talk about a recipe for chaos.

Signaling a lane change: The surest way to have a problem changing lanes, of course, is to tip off other drivers of your intention.

Buildings: Raise your hand if you have never been passed on the highway by a shed, two-car garage, or three bedroom ranch.

Trailer trucks: One trailer truck, no problem. Two trailer trucks, small problem. Three or more trailer trucks running in tandem … You can never find a Smoky when you need one.

Four wheel drive: The major cause of gridlock during a snow storm are people in four-wheel drive vehicles.

Rain: Judging from whom you see on the roads when there is precipitation, I think it is obvious that there is a large subset of people who only come out and drive when it's raining.

Fire engines at accident scenes: Granted, the guys don't get out of the firehouse much, but do they have to linger so long at the scene of a mishap blocking a travel lane?

Space cadets: I am referring here to the people who in bumper-to-bumper traffic leave a football field's distance between themselves and the car in front.

Pit stops: The guy has obviously had too much coffee, what's the attraction? And even if there is an attraction, what are you going to see at a distance?

Black ice reports: An icy spot in New England in winter was never a big deal until people started calling it black ice.

Cellphones: How many backups are caused by people on cellphones making calls to say they are going to be late because they are in a backup … which gets us back to flashing lights.


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