It seems traffic congestion around my place is getting worse by the week. More cars, more people and more time spent trying to complete short, mundane journeys like getting home after work.
Nothing makes driving a chore (or worse, an ordeal) like traffic. Here in Victoria, congestion isn’t helped by the usually pathetic state of the roads but the worst part of driving around any major city is the other drivers. There’s just too many of them.
I envy those in rural areas. Long, empty highways and b-roads, just you and the sound of the vehicle and the tyres on the road.
Sure, regional towns can get crowded but cities are much worse. There’s too many people driving on poorly designed and maintained roads that simply cannot handle the volume of cars they experience. If there’s one area Melbourne has failed dismally at its town planning in regards to roads. The answer always seems to be more roads with more lanes and yet the problem doesn’t go away.
If there’s a silver lining to urban traffic congestion it’s that you may appreciate the open road a bit more… if you can find one again. And even then, it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone else.
Recently, I drove out to Lake Eildon for a weekend, around a two hour drive from where I live. For the most part, the drive was good. Light traffic, decent weather and not too many dickheads wanting to do twice the speed limit.
The downside was the two 1930’s-era cars I encountered outside Yea. In the 100km/h zone they barely managed to crack 70. I never noticed exactly what kind of cars they were because I was too busy cursing them out.
On a road like that – single-lane, very few overtaking lanes and a steady supply of oncoming traffic – all it took was two old codgers taking their pride and joy for a spin to grind everyone else to (almost) a halt.
Eventually I got past them and progress picked up again but it made me think how communist country roads can be. If one car goes slow, everyone goes slow. Proof yet again that communism is no good, as all it does is keep everyone consistently and equally miserable.
It reminds me of how lucky I am when I find myself on a rural road in nice weather with nobody around. There’s a distinct feeling of freedom to be found when there’s no one ahead of you and the rear view mirror is empty. The road is yours.
The sad part is how far you often have to drive to find such roads. I did a trip through central Australia back in 2016 where we went days on end only seeing two or three other vehicles each day. But we had to get deep into outback New South Wales before that was the case.
Everywhere else you go there’s just too many people. Most of whom shouldn’t be driving.
So when you find yourself on an empty road, savour the moment. Enjoy the peace and quiet, and the lack of tailgaters, slow pokes and general incompetent idiots. It might only be a few bends in the road before you’re surrounded by the haemorrhoid known as humanity again.