Holy buckets! What a trip back from Michigan following Thanksgiving!!! I have seen Hell, and it is found on the Illinois State Highway system. Wow - talk about a total disaster!
Going out I made the mistake of taking the 294 loop around Chicago depite having my parents tell me to take the 290 loop. Every single one of the toll gates (all 944,000 of them) were under construction except for the one right near O'Hare. Even though I was I-Pass equipped (the little device that allows the mob-like Illinois Toll System to extort a ridiculous amount of money from you automatically instead of having to try out for the Olympic Change Put Team each time), getting through the toll gates was ridiculously slow. At one point, it took an hour to go about 15 miles. Ughghghghghg.
That was nothing compared to my return trip back. After a brilliant strategy move by going against conventional wisdom and driving directly through Chicago on I90 and making it to the west side of Chicago in RECORD TIME, I proceeded to encounter Drivers FROM HELL!! Random slow downs for no reason (re: 75mph to 10mph FOR NO REASON AT ALL - no accident, no construction, nothing. WTF!), people driving 5mph below the speed limit in the left hand lane (slow left hand lane drivers should be fair game for vigilante justice), and just a larger than normal traffic flow all contributed to making a long trip even longer.
Yes, some will say that increased holiday traffic makes for slower travel time do to increased congestion, but it really is not so much an issue of too many cars. Its an issue of too many IDIOTS! Unfortunately, the IDIOT DRIVER CONCENTRATION RATIO increases linearly with increased car flow, thus resulting in the exponential increase in IDIOT RELATED TRAFFIC PROBLEMS. Did you know that stuides have shown that just decreasing the lane width on a highway by 6 inches can reduce traffic speeds significantly. 6 inches!!! Combine that with the paralyzing fear induced in IDIOTS by the appearance of the dreaded ORANGE CONSTRUCTION CONES OF DEATH and you have the script for an episode of THREE STOOGES GO DRIVING. Most entertaining is the miles of construction cones and reduced speeds without any sign of actual constuction. I don't mean no one working (hey, even I understand not working on the roads over the holiday), but I am talking miles of cone restricted driving with perfectly good pavement barricaded up. No signs of any thing at all. As if some one said, "Watch this, I will completely f*ck up the holiday driving season by putting up 15 miles of cones for NO REASON AT ALL. HAHHAHAHAHHAHA!"
I really should be given the right to revoke licenses and automobiles on the spot. I'm a good driver, been years and years since my last speeding ticket, traffic violation, or accident. I understand at an intuitive level how traffic moves and how it is adversely affected by idiots. Give me a highway map and a construction layout, and I will immediately tell you where idiots are likely to cause havoc, how they will do it, and what lane will indeed move faster. So, to avoid having me revoke your license, please follow these simple rules:
- If you are driving the speed limit, your butt needs to be permanently parked in the right hand lane.
- If you are going faster than the speed limit, get into the right hand lane as soon as you pass the slow pokes to make room for the even faster person behind you. It is not your job to enforce speed limits or what you conceive to be safe driving habits by hogging the FAST lane.
- Use your review mirror. They are not just for backing up. They let you know when someone with more driving talent is behind you for the last 10 miles waiting for you to move over.
- Speed up to pass people when faster people are behind you! Trust me, the cops will go after the fast speeders and not you doing 71 in an effort to "blow by" the guy next to you doing 70mph. It should not take two minutes to pass one car!!!
- If traffic is really congested, don't tap your breaks to turn off cruise control! The flashing lights cause the weaker drivers to panic and break even harder setting off a chain reaction that brings everyone to a crawl.
- Pick a speed and stick to it! Going from 68 to 74 to 70 in the span of a couple miles only pisses people off that are trying to pass you.
- Lastly, get out of my way!!!