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Old 31st May 2016, 17:11   #1
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Default Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Probably I am a bad driver. Yes, even after 1L km of driving experience I still hate driving in traffic conditions.
I live in outskirts of city. My home<-->office commute is just about 7 km, that too without any signals. Even so, I hate driving to my office. I prefer two-wheeler over a car.
On weekends I do all I can to avoid trips into city. If it's absolutely necessary to take the car in traffic situations (Hours/Places), thought of the jams & parking problems come to me at least 10 times before starting.
Even when I am driving, I feel every other vehicle is trying to get in my way. Bikers do all they can to come under my bonnet (I don't say this when I am riding a bike ).
It's all just frustrating. On one such day I just thought of selling all my cars and use public transport/two wheeler forever (Yeah I read somewhere "You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.").

I also hate to drive on highways during weekends or long holidays.
In contrast, many of my friends and relatives (and you on TeamBHP) who drive ~50km a day in dense traffic still appear happy at the end of the day.
If we (friends/relatives) plan a trip and if there is even a slightest hint of traffic situation then I would be the first one to hop in other's back seat. I have seen a lot of weird expressions towards me because of this!

The only time I enjoy driving is when I am on highways during weekdays or I am on remote village roads.

So my question is this - How do I reduce my traffic phobia? What would be your advice?
How do you manage to go home with smile on your face (If you are one like my friends or relatives)? Is there anyone else like me?

1. Less downshifts. Don't downshift till the engine starts knocking?
2. Take your left leg off the clutch (I try to do this as much I can but still not helping with my problem).
3. Don't drive. Just ride.
4. Give up driving, you are not worth it. Use public transport.
5. Buy an automatic. (Too expensive solution I guess).
6. Go live in a village?
7. Meditate?
8. Try things like Revital ?
9. Anything else?

FYI, I have Indica Vista with a pathetic A.C. and a clutch as hard as a stone & a Hyundai Eon with light clutch & superb A.C. & small size (Eon reduces my fatigue by some small margin).

Just to be clear, I really love cars and wish to continue driving. I always like cars more than two wheelers.
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Old 31st May 2016, 17:55   #2
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

I agree with you. My commute is also not so bad compared to most people here but I feel angry and pained at the end of each day having to endure boorish drivers and and pathetic driving conditions. In addition there are roads with no lights and people drive with full beam and my eyes hurt at the end of everyday. I drive carefully and get honked at bulled at all the time for it.

Things I have done to keep my sanity.

1. I drive an automatic (Brio) - yes it is expensive but I have decided it is worth it if I am going to spend a good part of my day in commute
2. Develop habits that make me happy while driving. I listen to some good podcasts - this way I am engrossed in it and don't think about how long I am spending or if I am getting late. In fact if there is a longer route with better roads and traffic I will take it and enjoy listening to something I like for longer time.
3. I have got myself into a mindspace where driving is like my "Me time" - it is one part of the day when daily jhanjhats of work or home do not matter and you cannot do anything about it even if you want to- switch of mobile notifications. something I like doing on flights also - time when you are at peace with yourself and you leave everything behind.
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Old 31st May 2016, 18:06   #3
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Haha... I can empathize with you. I have a long commute in Bangalore through the heart of heavy traffic zone. I have found a few things help me.
1. Don't try to drive like other people. Drive calmly, with less shifts, maintain distance to next vehicle, and with less lane changes. This way, you may reach 10-15 min late, but your legs will thank you. So will your heart and mind.
2. I roll my windows up and turn on AC. Mileage isn't affected that much. What is affected is my peace of mind due to less noise, dust, and smoke from outside.
3. I listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or just music that I love. It is something productive to do besides sitting in traffic simple.
3. Clutch is either engaged, or released completely. Don't slip your clutch. It will increase the life of your clutch and reduce the strain on your leg.
4. Use your Eon. Lighter clutch will mean less strain on your legs. Also, get a car that you like driving. I like my car. I enjoy driving it everyday.
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Old 31st May 2016, 18:42   #4
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Add me to the list. I love driving and find a car to be much more practical to move around even though bike is more soulful. But, I detest traffic and even crowded areas. (Leave alone driving, I wouldn't prefer walking or visiting a crowded place.) Even I prefer not going out on the weekends to avoid the city rush and the parking hassles. Until recently, I was the only one having a car in my friends circle. So if we were to go out together, I used to cajole everyone to rest at home and postpone their works. Or the next best thing was I offered my car to them and stayed back or asked them to take their bikes and go. On several occasions, I have beckoned my friend with his bike to go to areas which I dreaded to tread in my car (a year back, my parents blackmailed to part with my bike and give up riding).

Now, I can't avoid my office runs. My daily office commute is 11 kms each way and is not exactly a dreaded traffic zone. And yet, to reduce the slimmest possibility of traffic, I leave for office as early as possible. I prefer sitting idle in office for 2 hrs instead of sleeping an additional hour and spending the other crawling through the road.

On the return leg, I can't leave the office on my whims. Nor do I love my office so that I will stay late till the traffic is thin (post 9pm). So, often I get caught in the jams. I have a 5 yr old WagonR whose clutch is still on the lighter side. The AC cools too and the music system plays my favorite songs in my way of liking. Yet, on some days, they are not enough to soothe my nerves, especially after a long tiring day. On days when I don't like the music and when I am stuck in a crawling or stuck traffic jam, I call up a friend or my parents and talk to them. Mind you, in all these cases, either the traffic isn't moving or is moving occasionally at speeds <5kmph. Once I cross the bottle neck and the road frees up, I disconnect the call and go home. On some days I just observe the people around me, their activities and their behavior. Each of them trying to outsmart the other, squeeze into a gap or maybe take a 3-4 inch lead. It keeps me occupied. I also hate the ABC pedals in these times but then I can't see myself driving a automatic ever (and of course, can't afford a new one right now). Leg pains sometimes but it recovers in an hour or two. I go home and try to do something that I love, to recover soon. I cook on many occasions and catch up on some movies sometimes.
So far so good. Any other suggestions?

Last edited by tsk1979 : 2nd June 2016 at 15:25. Reason: typos fixed
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Old 31st May 2016, 18:52   #5
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Most of us face these issues on a daily basis.
Switching to E2O has really brought down traffic fatigue and frustration to a great extent for me.
The small footprint, high ground clearance, automatic and scratch proof plastic body reduces much of the everyday stress of driving in high traffic zones.

We can't do much about traffic, we just have to find solutions to keep ourselves sane in traffic.
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Old 31st May 2016, 18:54   #6
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Post re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capslock View Post
Eon reduces my fatigue by some small margin
There is the point. The smaller and older the car is, the more you remain relaxed while driving in traffic. That is one thing I noticed. Whenever I drive my 8 year old Alto, I will be completely relaxed and step out of the car with a happy face, mostly, at the end of the journey. On the other hand, whenever I take out my 1 year old Elite i20, I have to be very cautious (and hence a bit tensed) to not get any scratch on it by the bikers and other careless drivers. Not just that, bigger vehicle means more responsibility and less drivability (in traffic) and in my case i20 has poor visibility too compared to Alto. The smaller the vehicle is, the more mobile it becomes. And will help you for easy maneuver in traffic.
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Old 31st May 2016, 19:08   #7
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capslock View Post

FYI, I have Indica Vista with a pathetic A.C. and a clutch as hard as a stone & a Hyundai Eon with light clutch & superb A.C. & small size (Eon reduces my fatigue by some small margin).

Just to be clear, I really love cars and wish to continue driving. I always like cars more than two wheelers.
Starting OT here: capslock, so your love triangle did not go anywhere and you ended up ditching both the girls? (Thread Link for those who missed this)

Coming to the topic, Even I love to drive, but that does not mean one has to drive everywhere all the time. Few things that worked for me.
  • Got an Automatic. That takes care of the first few points. To balance the Fun to Drive factor for those long trips, bought the best performer I could buy in my budget. You can relate to this from your earlier 'Love Affair' thread.
  • A car that cocoons you well from the outside world helps. The noises and honks are less intrusive. A better finished and well built car helps. Probably one reason why you feel better in the Eon- A car that is finished well inside.
  • Drive defensively, don't get into the mad rush of squeezing or closing gaps. Ignore all those who cut across and attempt not to get worked up. Keeps you relaxed.
  • As you have mentioned, if you know your destination does not have parking, is through an extremely crowded route, makes you do things you do not want to do- Then take a cab, do not bother driving.
  • Going to a location where public transport works, take that. I mostly take public transport to office now a days.
  • Alone, weather is good, destination is crowded but not too far- Ride.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 31st May 2016 at 19:17.
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Old 31st May 2016, 19:12   #8
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capslock View Post
It's all just frustrating. On one such day I just thought of selling all my cars and use public transport/two wheeler forever (Yeah I read somewhere "You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.").
I also hate to drive on highways during weekends or long holidays.
In contrast, many of my friends and relatives (and you on TeamBHP) who drive ~50km a day in dense traffic still appear happy at the end of the day.
The only time I enjoy driving is when I am on highways during weekdays or I am on remote village roads.
So my question is this - How do I reduce my traffic phobia? What would be your advice?

Using Public Transport is one good idea, provided you have good connectivity to your frequently visited places. In our country, though the public transport is improving, our population always over powers the same.
You can ride of course, but you cannot ride with 4 adults! (Though we frequently notice it on our roads)
So, it comes back to this: Even if you go to the best of the best cities in the world, you will have to face traffic sometimes even gridlocks for several hours. So, you need to figure out a way to get used to the traffic and find safe enjoyable things to do when you are actually sitting on traffic.

How about the following?
a) Listening to audio books - Good Self improvement books are available as mp3, and if you load them, you will get a boost all through your way. I do this time and again, and before I realize it, I reach home / office - The traffic sense or the absence of it does not bothers me throughout my route as I do not pay attention to such things. My only aim - Drive safely and reach the destination happily.
b) Listen to good music - I mean good music, which actually puts you into good mood, and keeps you engaged. Listening to FM can be frustrating, as they play ads most of the time.
c) Keeping your car neat and clean (specifically interiors) - If the car is full of junk, that itself puts us into a bad mood right from when we enter into the car. If there are too many important things in the car, then we need to revisit the importance and arrange them, so they do not create clutter.
d) Fixing the car in time - If there are problems with the car, we need to get rid of the issues in time. e.g Leaving the broken parts unfixed (such as broken mirrors, headlights (only one headlight broken? Change both for even illumination!), indicators etc, major dents) also leave us worrying right from the start of the journey. Same we should stick to the service intervals even after warranty is over, so the car works well for us.

I am not speaking one word about the actual technicalities of the driving because I can see that your problem is not about knowing how to drive in traffic, but you are just too frustrated about the traffic - so the few suggestions are just to get rid of the frustration!

All the very best!
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Old 31st May 2016, 19:16   #9
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capslock View Post
I live in outskirts of city. My home<-->office commute is just about 7 km, that too without any signals. Even so, I hate driving to my office. I prefer two-wheeler over a car.
This gives me a feel that you are put up somewhere in Wakad and drive to Hinjewadi Ph1/2.

There is nothing much you can do apart from those mentioned above. If your office allows flexi times, try leaving early and coming early or try leaving late and coming late as well.

EDIT: ALternatively, download the TBHP app and read through the threads :P

Last edited by centaur : 31st May 2016 at 19:20.
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Old 31st May 2016, 20:12   #10
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

1) Sell the Eon.

2) Buy a pre-owned A-star Automatic or Hyundai i10 Automatic or a new Tata Nano AMT. This will result in a cash outflow of around Rs. 1 to 1.5 Lacs (after selling the Eon)

3) Spend Rs. 10k to 20K on a nice sound system.

4) Make a list of your favorite songs, maybe something like 100 or 200, and copy them into an USB stick. Listen to these songs ONLY in the car, not on your computer. This way, you will look forward to driving your car, because you will get to listen to your favorite Kishore Kumar or Metallica song

5) Look for alternate routes. There will be atleast 3 different routes to get your destination minimum, wherever you are. Even if its longer by a few kms. Opt for residential areas or "non-main" roads if possible.

Last edited by smartcat : 31st May 2016 at 20:13.
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Old 31st May 2016, 21:44   #11
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Nice thread. To be true, I have had a different way of thinking since the beginning.

In early days of driving, I had this traffic-phobia and used to get a feeling that every possible person is slowly getting into my way. This fear was less when I was driving someone else's car than my own car. As I logged in miles, this fear reduced. Strangely, now I wanted to get stuck in traffic and enjoyed negotiating through narrow gaps and lanes. I would always pick the busier routes in my commute as it gave me a greater opportunity to polish my driving and judgement skills. I would give credit to this habit (urge) for my above-average parking and filtering skills. I thought traffic jams were fun, and more fun behind the wheel! I enjoyed moving the EPS unit of my Verna from end-to-end, shifting between the first and second cog, judging the gap between other cars and mine, switching lanes without troubling others and managing smooth engaging and disengaging of the clutch!

Now as I have some decent experience behind the wheel, traffic jams don't scare me! I feel at home negotiating through traffic. In fact, I avoid open high-speed stretches and opt for busier city roads for my daily and weekend runs also. At this point, I sort of have a complete map of the dimensions of my Verna. Right from the protrusion of the fog lamps on the front to the curve of the taillights. This helps me immensely in managing space in traffic and making lane-switching and overall driving effortless. I adopt this carefree attitude while driving in traffic. You want to cut in my lane, you want to block me, you want me to give way (when not possible), you want me to stop abruptly, no worries. Now I don't give a damn!

The only thing I would recommend is to not worry about damaging your car. I do not say that bang your car at every possible opportunity. Care about the dents but do not fear the scratches! After all, it is a vehicle and will run on the road. Getting scratched is inevitable.
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Old 31st May 2016, 22:56   #12
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I can relate to the topic. I used to be get frustrated by the time I reach home. Morning drive to office is relatively fine. I started ignoring the unruly traffic, practiced less lane changes, give way if someone is trying to edge past you and listen to good music. As already mentioned, I use the time to connect with friends and family. Over a period of time the frustration has gone down and I am at peace when I reach home. I agree with other point that keep the interior clean and fix any niggles asap.

Last edited by AutoInt : 31st May 2016 at 22:58.
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Old 1st June 2016, 08:38   #13
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Things I am doing to return home in peace:
1. I leave home early and reach back early. Makes a difference to overall quality of life since you can spend a relaxed evening.
2. Both my cars have a light clutch - Makes a difference since I have to spend around 2kms continuously in crawling traffic and should still have energy to complete a total distance of 26kms.
3. Heavily depend upon maps to know where the traffic is headed and beat it. Also do some research on traffic density throughout the day and understand the pattern. I choose my route depending upon the day of the week, time of the day, and the weather forecast - Has never flopped.
4. Drive sedately especially in the evenings. Morning is the time I enjoy the empty roads. But evening I just cruise behind a bus or a sedately moving cab maintaining a distance, so that I don't have to brake suddenly. It has saved fuel, frustration and wear and tear for my car as well as my knee. These bus drivers, apart from bus stops drive in a very consistent manner and top it at 60kmph. Works good for me.
5. Nice music and AC.
6. I take the metro once a week to get a break from driving. This is usually on days when I cant leave early from work.
7. If it rains, I either drive in the rain or give a one hour gap after it stops raining since that's the worst time to commute ie immediately after it rains.
8. Lastly, to save my knee from wearing out fast, I have switched to an automatic.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 2nd June 2016 at 15:26. Reason: fix typo
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Old 1st June 2016, 09:18   #14
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

I used to drive daily to work but after I got a taste of Uber/Ola I stopped doing that. Now I take my company bus to work and try to maintain my routine. However if for any reason I am late to work or have to stay at work longer, I use these taxi services.
Simple calculation, assuming that you aren't paying surge charges - 20Kms of Uber in Pune in moderate traffic conditions is around Rs 250. Assuming I use it everyday for work, its around Rs 10,000 - Rs 500 for 20 days. Drivers charge around Rs 10,000 and fuel cost will be around Rs 5000. It just makes a lot of sense to use these services.
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Old 1st June 2016, 09:32   #15
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Default re: Traffic Phobia: How to return home in one piece...with peace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capslock View Post
How do you manage to go home with smile on your face (If you are one like my friends or relatives)? Is there anyone else like me?
...
...
Just to be clear, I really love cars and wish to continue driving. I always like cars more than two wheelers.
Well I have a similar story to tell. We are in the same city and my commute distance of 9 km one way is marginally more than yours.
I stay in the city and have to commute out into the outskirts (not considered outskirts anymore).

The best solution I have found to make the commute enjoyable is to commute on a bicycle 2 times a week. Trust me, riding a bicycle is traffic is no fun, but you will save a significant amount of time.
7 km on a bike on city roads with no stopping traffic should take you 20 mins, worst case 25.

When commuting by car, try to beat the traffic by starting early and leaving early.
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