Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The five stages of traffic

At 5:40am this morning, a truck jacknifed on the Monash freeway outbound, knocked over a light and spilled oil onto all of inbound lanes. [Here is the account].

At 5: 50am I left my house to go inbound on the Monash freeway [yes, I know it is early but I like to do that to (ahem) avoid traffic]. At 5:55am I joined other commuters inbound at a standstill on the Monash where we sat for the next hour and a half before things cleared behind us and we turned around [the wrong way] and got off on the on ramp.

Now you get lots of interesting thoughts with this kind of experience. Here is a selection of mine:

  • (Denial) For the first 15 minutes or so of our experience, my fellow commuters and I kept our engines running thinking it was just a matter of time before we got going. This stopped after the first traffic report on the radio telling others to avoid the Monash and perhaps not go into work altogether (!) because it was going to be at least three hours before it was clear.
  • (Anger) This turned out to be more like frustration at the irony of my situation. If only I had left later I wouldn't be in this. If only I had brought something to do. If only it was light out so I could read the one magazine (The Economist of course) that I had.
  • (Bargaining) This took the form of ringing people around the world that I thought might be up. Lots of voice mail sadly. Fortunately, someone called and that killed about 20 minutes. I saw others pleading with the front of the queue to move. I was eying the wholesale food truck wondering if they had any coffee.
  • (Depression) Listening to the radio and realising that in fact while all were inconvenienced, I was part of a small minority who would be stuck here all day. I wish I had bought a TV for the car. VW have a good thing coming putting internet connections into cars. Why did my damn iPod break?
  • (Acceptance) Just as I reached this stage, I saw cars behind me turning around. So I don't have much to report there. But I had reached the stage that it could have been worse: I might have had to go to the bathroom, I might have had three kids in the car like that one person on the radio or my congestion tolling plan might have been put into place in which case I would have been paying through the roof for this. [In the end, I hadn't reached the Citylink toll point so it was all 'free'].

[Thanks to Richard Speed for spurring these thoughts].


Josh Parris said...

Your congestion toll might have made you a little angry at this point. Would you deal with kind of market problem? How?

rabee said...

something is wrong. I can't read the blog.
It goes black mid way.

winza said...

I was also stuck in Warrigal Road - took 20 minutes to get from safeway at ashwood (crn of high and warrigal rds) and batesford rd, where i turned right.