Road maintenance, roadside work sites, accidents, special events—there are many reasons we get stuck in traffic. Even with apps to help us navigate traffic and well-executed traffic management plans, there are some jams we just can’t avoid. Here are 10 ideas to make the time count, or at least help it pass by a little faster.
1. Call a Friend
We all have a running list of friends we’ve meant to catch up with. Given that most of us have hands-free equipment in our cars or on our phones, traffic jams are a great time for calls.
2. Organize Your Glove Compartment
When we’re short on time, it’s not uncommon to throw things in our glove compartment. But when do we ever go back to organize them?
3. Practice Music Therapy
Science confirms that music is therapeutic. What better way to make time count than practicing a little therapy? Play your favorite tunes, turn up the volume, and sing your heart out.
4. Catch up on the News
News stations offer a wealth of information and analysis to help us understand current events at a community, national, or international level. It can be hard to make time to read or watch the news every day but listening to them while in a traffic jam is a great way to keep up.
5. Plan Fun(er) Meals
Sometimes we don’t remember to think about dinner until it’s quarter to dinner time. Then we end up concocting a meal with whatever ingredients we have around. Traffic jams are a great time to recall that recipe we’ve been meaning to try and dictate a grocery list to make it happen.
6. Learn a New Language
Always wanted to pick up a little Spanish but never had the time? Download one of many language apps to start learning vocabulary and practicing your pronunciation while on the road.
7. Story Time
A good story will make time pass by in an instant. With all the audiobooks and podcasts available, it’s easy to nestle into the classics or catch up on the latest fictional or nonfictional works.
8. Make a To-Do List
When traffic jams force us to slow down, they give our brains time to process and recall things we need to do. Turn on voice typing and make a list.
9. Take a Class
Everything from the history of Rome to the making of wine or the rules of trade in the stock market can be learned through educational podcasts or streamed lectures.
If we understand that meditation is about awareness, we can realize that we don’t have to be sitting in a lotus position with our eyes closed to meditate. In fact, traffic jams are a great place to practice mindful breathing and visualization.
No matter what you choose to do while sitting in traffic, remember to keep your eyes on the road and give space to other road users including traffic control and first responders who are doing their best to get their job done and get everybody safely to where they want to go.
It's always a good idea to be patient and kind!