The Top 7 Things to Do While Stuck in Traffic

January 28, 2009

Research has shown that over the course of a lifetime, the average American will spend literally weeks of their existence sitting in traffic. You might be inclined to react unenthusiastically to the thought of pitching those hours into the great abyss every year, but as it turns out, that time doesn't really have to go to waste. In reality, you might find that being stuck in gridlock is your favorite time of the day.

By Brad Iger

The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.


7. Get a Scrolling Marquee


When you get stuck in bad traffic, the unsung rule seems to be that all bets are off. The "politeness" of social norms go out the window. Cars have a way of dehumanizing people because of the anonymity they provide, and because of that, people are more inclined to act like friggin' jerkoffs. Reclaim accountability by clearing explaining the situation to specific drivers with one of these puppies. Not only will it humiliate them, it will make you look clever and virtuous. Hopefully.

6. Reconstruct Your Past Based on Junk in Your Car


So some knucklehead didn't bother to check how much gas he had before setting off on the freeway and now you, like everyone else behind him, are essentially stationary on the freeway, waiting for this rocket scientist to slowly sort his situation out. What better time to figure out the trajectory of your sordid life by going through some of the artifacts left behind?

You may find yourself saying things like:  Why do I have 2 gallons of glitter paint and a turkey baster in the backseat? Whose pacemaker is this? Where the hell did I get a giant baby bottle from? Put those endless hours of vegging out watching CSI to some use and put the pieces back together. You might just save a life.

5. Finish War and Peace


If you live in California, you may have noticed that over the last couple of years, new legislation has essentially made it illegal to do anything other than operate the functions of the car while driving. Welcome to the New World Order! But they forgot about our greatest weapon: books. Not only can you throw them at people, you can also read them. And there's nothing safer than being lulled to sleep by A Tale of Two Cities while jamming down the interstate. The inevitable collision may end up being a welcome reprieve.

4. Make Eye Contact With Another Driver, Then Pick Your Nose Vigorously


For whatever reason, motor vehicles have this way of isolating us from the outside, as though each of us is in our own little world, and the rest of the cars on the road are perhaps operating autonomously via some brutally flawed software program. But they're not. People need to reconnect with one another and bring back some personality to the public sphere.

The next time you're stuck in traffic, look over at the driver to your left and wait until they make eye contact. Stare at them just long enough to make it slightly awkward, then unashamedly start digging for gold. If you strike it rich, show it off! Confidence goes a long way in this world.
3. Call Your Mother


Oh, you're fancy, you say? You've got one of those Blueteeth the city folk are always hollerin' about? Well, okay there Rockefeller, it's time to knock out those phone calls you normally wouldn't tackle in a million years. When you're stuck in traffic, you actually have the potential to outlast the most dogged of your long-winded relatives.

When your aunt finally attempts to wrap up this social call because she's on the verge of a boredom-induced coma, not only will you have finally won an impossible test of will, you'll also find yourself in the good graces of your family again. Briefly.

2. Honk for No Discernable Reason

As the study above indicates, it's clearly been proven that honking for no reason works. Even if it doesn't, it's still gratifying for some reason, right? The confused panic created by random honking keeps people on their toes...and on their best behavior as well. It may be annoying, but you're more important than everyone else, so you should have priority!

1. Have a Full-Blown Existential Crisis


One of the interesting angles of horrible traffic is that it forces you out of your routine of being constantly in motion, constantly doing something, and into a situation where the only thing you can really do sometimes is just think. This can often lead to glorious amounts of self-doubt. But why not just roll with it? Embrace your insecurity and answer that which is not only pointless, but also ultimately answerable!

Ask yourself: What are you doing with your life? Is this where you thought you'd find yourself when you imagined your future ten years ago? Watching the seconds of your life tick away to the uncomfortable idle of your POS Mitsubishi Eclipse can really bring this whole "life" thing into perspective. Maybe it's time to pursue that Anthropology degree. I hear there's big money in that.