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Fixing Your Stupid Traffic Problems

As a person who drives a lot, I am frequently reminded of exactly how dumb other people are. Traffic seems to bring out the worst in people, especially in Massachusetts, which is where I spend a lot of my time driving. (This isn’t to say New Hampshire isn’t occasionally at fault, though. Seriously, NHers–you don’t need to slow to 50 when you see a speed trap on a highway with a speed limit of 65.)

It’s so easy to look at traffic and be pissed off at all the cars around you. Someone up there ahead of you fucked something up. Going for the horn is, for some people, the easiest way to let that frustration off. I get that. For me, it’s usually swearing (big surprise). I also kind of have this middle finger reflex in stressful situations. See, when I was in middle school, I got hit with a penguin right on the top joint of my middle finger and had to wear a splint on it for a while. I think stress just reverts me to that position. But that’s neither here nor there.

The problem is that, so much of the time, the person who’s causing all the traffic problems–the asshole who’s making you late to your meeting or class or date or just keeping you from getting your coffee NOW–isn’t in the traffic at all. Just not there.

I know. It sounds crazy, right? How could someone who’s not even there be fucking up my traffic? Well, lovely readers, the answer is simple. Some asshole designed that intersection.

Like, for example, this one:


I didn’t draw the lights going the other way because the lights going the other way aren’t a problem, though that SHOULD be a solid line in the middle of that side road and I’m sorry for that inaccuracy. But I’d like for you to think about this one for a second. The left lane here–people can go straight or turn from it. Either one. But when the turning light is green, the going-straight light is red. And then you get a red arrow when the main light’s green. So if the person in front of the line doesn’t want to do what the light says, no one’s going anywhere. And if the person behind them doesn’t want to do that, only the first person is going anywhere. For this lane of traffic to move, every. single. goddamn. person. needs to be doing the exact same thing. When’s that going to happen?

So I fixed it.


By the way, YES, I am TOTALLY aware that I flipped the lights over. I was drawing at 2am or something. Opening Photoshop takes a while so no, I’m not going to edit them.

ANYWAY. Me fucking up the lights isn’t the point. The point is, how brilliant am I? MAKE THEM GREEN AT THE SAME TIME. Oh my god. I mean, there are plenty of intersections that do that. Only one way goes at once. Why not here? There is, of course, another option–paint some black over the “straight” part of that left-lane arrow. Holy shit, guys. Let’s see if I can do this again.

Okay seriously now.

Backwards though my lights may be, you can still see the colors (actually, can you? Are you red-green colorblind? Shit.) and realize that these lights aren’t green at the same time. Which means that everyone who goes through that first light immediately gets stuck at the second one. There are about 30 yards between them. So really, what happens is everyone inches forward a little bit. Then the cars that fit in that 30 yards go and everyone else is stuck at another light. The problem is that little one-way road there. People have to get out of that road, so there has to be a second light, right?


Check it out, guys! A ROTARY! Or roundabout or traffic circle or whatever the fuck you want to call it. I don’t really care what you call it, because, see, it can solve your problems. You don’t like rotaries? Well, I don’t like waiting 20 minutes to go through one light on my commute. I know they slow things down a bit, but traffic moves. You get through them. And you’ll never have to sit at a red light when the rest of the road is empty.

Seriously, I should become a civil engineer. Not that I’d go to school for it or anything. I’d just do what that guy on that show on USA does, where he didn’t go to law school or anything but convinces people to hire him because he’s just that awesome. That’s me.

It’s like I’m a fucking savant or something.

(Er…the fucking there is for emphasis. Not for specifying what kind of savant I am. Civil engineering savant. Mom, just…ignore this.)

Of course, there are times when the problem really is other drivers, and I’ve got a solution for you there, too. I just need someone to buy the idea and mass-produce it:

Well, look at that. I guess I can’t actually be a civil engineering savant if I’m so good at weapons design, too, can I? I guess you can have it all.


About Rachael

Hi. I'm Rachael. I realized one day that, even though I read a lot of books, I often have a hard time remembering them later on. I guess that happens when there's so much to try to remember! So I started The 50 Book Project, with the intention to read and blog about 50 new (to me) books in 2014. I read a lot of fantasy, but I'm trying to branch out and experience new stuff. Any questions? Suggestions? Let me know! Comment, or email me at

28 responses »

  1. Yeah, fuck the rotaries, I want that last device there…although you need to work on the design, even being a rocket launcher, the emo-stripes really don’t give it a badass look and a car with that on top just looks like the car of an asshole (like people who give their cars reindeer-horns during the holidays). A car like that would deserve to shoot itself with the very device that makes it look like that. How meta!

    Anyway, it should be silver, and have shark teeth drawings, like a World War II bomb. Or boobs.

  2. Awesome. (Too bad in MN they only put those damn roundabouts in intersections that weren’t problematic. If you ever want to move, consider blessing our State Dept of Civil Engineering with your presence.)

    • Hah. See, I was going to add two more intersections to this, but then I realized that I replace almost every dumb intersection with a roundabout in my head and that’d get boring fast. (And if the State Dept of Civil Engineering ever offers me a job, I just might consider moving for it.)

  3. Yes, I will take one of those rocket launchers, ASAP. Let me know when you finish production of them and how much you are selling it for. Hell, if it works really well, I would even consider giving a testimonial in your inevitable infomercial. Don’t worry, I sell my services cheap. Oh….wait.

  4. The traffic circle is the reason why NJ will always be better than Mass. Also, because your teams suck.

    • Man, you just had to bring in the sports thing, didn’t you? Okay, okay. I don’t even like sports, so correct me if I’m wrong here, but I was sort of under the impression that Massachusetts teams had won every major championship there is at least once in the last 10 years. When, uhh, was the last time a NJ team won a championship?

      (Oh wait–just looked it up. You guys are pretty good at Dressage, aren’t you? What’s dressage?)

      • Let me clear that up right now- NEW YORK TEAMS ARE NEW JERSEY TEAMS. Try to keep up 🙂

        • Mike (doctor boyfriend)

          The only New York teams that are New Jersey teams are the Giants and Jets, and even they don’t want to admit they come from the stinky side of the river. Jersey teams only have championships in two sports in the past decade (Devils in ’03 and Giants in ’08).

          • I’m sorry but that is incorrect. I don’t make the rules, Doctor.

            • Mike (doctor boyfriend)

              If New York teams are really New Jersey’s teams, why are people in the south of Jersey Phillies and Flyers fans?

              The Hartford Whalers weren’t a Boston (or Massachusetts) team before they moved to Carolina because they are not in the state of Massachusetts. Boston teams are not New Hampshire teams just because they are in an adjacent state. A team may count fans in adjacent states among its “home” fan base, but the team doesn’t belong to the adjacent state any more than the city Rachael and I live in belongs to Canada because the state we live in shares a border with Ontario.

              Teams that have their home field outside your state do not belong to your state. Period. You don’t need to grab onto New York City’s coattails (or their teams’ coattails) to be worthwhile; why not just be happy being you?

  5. Rotaries scare the SHIT out of me, I don’t know if I could do that.

    I like the sniper-beam for high beams, though. Those fucking suck.

    • If rotaries scare the shit out of you, you’d probably want to avoid these roads anyway. It’s sort of like lots and lots of road where everyone drives as they would on a rotary–lots of cutting people off and swerving and merging ALL THE TIME.

  6. The only problem with the rocket launcher is that if you use it on a slow-moving car in front of you, then you have to drive over the wreckage, possibly risking a tire puncture. I’d much rather have one of those plow/ramp things mounted to the front bumper to take the slowpoke up and over…then a rear cannon to take care of the problem for others on the road. Because I’m civic-minded, dammit.

    • No, see, if you read it carefully, it specifically states that the car you explode will be turned to dust so you don’t have to drive over a wreck. Because I agree; that would be a problem! Don’t worry. I thought of everything.

      • Missed that.

        Hmmm…but then you have the problem of breathing in exploded people dust (ick) if the windows are down. I still like the bumper car-launcher. Then you have the possibility of taking out a slowpoke and a tail-gaiter in one maneuver. Let the people behind me breathe in the ashes of my enemies…

  7. I absolutely , 100% need a rocket launcher for my car. The traffic in Orlando is beyond insane (though I think I may be able to blame some of that on you northerners too) lol But we have the problem of awful intersections too. It really makes you wonder sometimes how creative civil engineers are trying to be…

  8. those both remind me of Worcester ..where I lived for a year….. and the whole time I lived there I never understood the logic (or lack thereof) behind the traffic patterns… I’m glad I’m not the only one..

    Rotaries WOULD be the answer if people knew how to use them… they are better at it in Worcester than other places but in Canada where I live now … people INSIST on coming to a full stop when another car isn’t even IN the roundabout yet! Every time it happens I want to smash the car ahead of me until it forces them into the rotary where they should be…. this is the reason I’m not allowed to drive a tank.

  9. We’re too P.C. here in Portlandia to launch missiles. Instead we just cruise around dodging hipsters on their retro Scwinn fixies, courtesy-waving homeless meth addicts across the street and humming blithely to our Dan Fogelberg CD’s.

  10. my goal is to get a bullhorn on the top of my car, so i can yell at people loudly enough that they can hear me.
    one could only hope people would start paying attention if someone was calling them out for being asshats on the road.


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