As I sat in traffic yesterday (rain = long commute in DC) I thought about connection and cars a little. First off because if I sit there and think about traffic I get frustrated. I understand where road rage comes from, it’s the reality of sitting in traffic and waiting for Godot. Godot by the way will never come, he isn’t going to come and so you will just wait. Traffic is like that, you sit and wait. I can however be productive while waiting. The connection that is possible and the safety provided by newer cars is incredible.
Worried about getting hit in the back or hitting the car in front of you? The connected car with active radar/sonar removes that fear. It warns you and if you don’t react quick enough it stops for you. The reduction in that stress alone reduces the driving pain in traffic by 20%. Add to that the connected car connects your phone. That means you can talk to anyone without taking your eyes off the road. You can respond to texts and emails while driving and never touch the phone. Plus, you can listen to audible books (my fav) anytime you want. Add to that Sirius and entertainment is never a problem.
I won’t wander down the connection trail anymore I’ve beaten that cockroach into a pulp. What I was wondering now was automation. There are certain tasks I preform every day in the car that could be automated. Today pressing one button returns my car to my settings. But there are other automation events that occur. For example I always listen to Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN. I used to on the way home listen to the fabulous Dan Le Batard show driving home but they moved that show to noon so I don’t get to listen anymore. I don’t like the show they replaced the Le Batard show with so I listen to audible books on the way home now. I’ve managed in my last two weeks of commuting to finish two full books. (well one I was “re” listening to “The Lords of Strategy” and a new one that was recommended by a friend (fiction)).
The automation that is happening is useful for reducing the stress of driving overall. It makes it tolerable (not fun) to sit in DC traffic. Now, a new bridge across the river (or two new bridges) might actually make driving easier. But bridges take time to build (years) and traffic will continue to increase so in the end it won’t be enough. For those reading for the first time, in the end is my personal line to denote defeat.
I do on occasion pass drivers who are actually reading and driving. I have to say that makes me as nervous as driving by someone applying makeup or someone actually turned and looking in the back seat as they drive forward.
My last funny ha-ha about traffic for the day. I used to drive around the Midwest. From Cincinnati Ohio to Columbus and Cleveland frequently. From Indianapolis to Louisville, Indianapolis to Cincinnati and Indianapolis to Chicago and Saint Louis. I usually flew it was further than 3 hours of driving. Figuring 6 hours total driving outweighed the value of having my car and being able to leave whoever. During that time, I could normally tell you (other than Chicago) to the minute when I would arrive. 60 miles was usually one hour away. Now, in DC 25 miles (my daily commute) can be anywhere from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours. That wholly depends on rain, snow, and crazy people. The equation for driving in Indiana, conditions =x, distance =time plus X. 60 miles routinely 60 minutes. In DC the equation is time of day, conditions, previous road incidents plus distance. A much more complex equation.