Sunday World

On the futility of losing your peace in a traffic jam

- Phumla Mkize

How many times have you kicked yourself because you didn’t check whether your route is clear before your daily commute?

It has become as vital as brushing your teeth, what with crime, service delivery protests, truck drivers’ strikes, taxi violence and heavy rains sometimes rendering some areas no-go zones, forcing you to take a different route or change your plans for the day?

How many times have you left work for home thinking that rush hour had long subsided and the routes are clear, only to find a monster of a traffic jam, which turns your trip from home into a 5km/h drive that takes hours?

At that moment, how many of us remember to accept that which we cannot change?

On that unfortunat­e day that you failed to pay attention to the traffic report or take a few minutes to check if there are no issues on the road you are about to take, do you blow a gasket?

Oh, the futility of losing your peace in heavy traffic as if it would change anything.

It is a pointless exercise to zig-zag your way in a traffic jam, especially when other like-minded people are also doing it.

It gets hilarious when you watch a dash to switch lanes because one lane appears to be moving a little faster than the other only for it to be gridlocked by the same people.

The commute to your daily grind can be a real test of patience.

That is why you need a mantra to remind you that the route of less resistance when stuck in a traffic jam is the safest and most peaceful.

Here is my mantra and I used it on Friday night when my commute home from work took no less than one-and-a-half hours

Come on, let’s practise it. You may need it soon.

Repeat after me: I accept the ebb and flow of traffic on our roads. More so on our metropolit­an routes and national roads.

I will not be tempted to offramp, especially when 100 others are thinking of doing the same or are doing it.

I will not leave one traffic jam for another.

I will patiently trot to my destinatio­n.

I will get there faster, calmer and safer if I stay the course. I will not contribute to further delays today.

Go on and try it, you will find that it works like a charm.

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