Traffic getting you down? 5 ways to pass the time

When you’re stuck in traffic with nothing to do but listen to traffic reports about how bad the traffic is, the struggle is real…

For most South Africans working in the big cities (especially Cape Town), traffic is a harsh reality we face on a daily basis. Whether you’re stuck on one road for 20 minutes in the CBD or for 3 hours on the highway, traffic is a daily struggle. The worst thing about traffic is that it’s often unpredictable. It’s like an unlucky packet, you never know what you’re going to get, but the prize always sucks.

Also read: Why is Cape Town traffic so bad?

When you’re stuck in traffic with nothing to do but listen to traffic reports about how bad the traffic is, the struggle is real. But – believe it or not – there are ways to stop yourself from going mad with boredom. To get you started, here are some ideas of how to entertain yourself in traffic.

  1. Make some new friends

No, don’t worry, this doesn’t actually involve any human interaction. Just creepily watching people and making up stories about their lives. Give them a name and make up a backstory based on clues you can see through their car window. Man has a pale strip of skin where his wedding ring used to be? Maybe his wife was kidnapped by the mob in a case of mistaken identity and (here comes the twist) she fell in love with the mob boss. The more detailed the story, the better.

  1. Create a scene

Roll down your windows, put on some cheesy tunes (Disney soundtracks work marvelously) and put on a show that would make Taylor Swift hang her head in shame. The music needs to be loud enough to really get the magic started, but soft enough to let your voice shine through. You don’t even have to have a good singing voice. In fact, the worse your singing is, the better. If you really want to take your performance to the next level, add some props – maybe a cowboy hat or a feather boa. Of course, this is probably not the best game for someone who gets easily embarrassed, but think about how you’ll be entertaining your fellow drivers as well as yourself.

  1. Learn something totally useless

Grab an album you’ve barely listened to and learn every lyric to every song. Do not stop until you can predict every word and sing it harder and faster than the original. The best genre for this game is obviously rap. But, if you’re looking for something truly tricky, try Billy Joel’s We didn’t start the fire. You should be warned, however, that you will probably come to hate whichever album or song you choose, so don’t go picking a favourite.

  1. Story time

In this fast-paced world, people often don’t have time to read as much as they’d like. That’s why you should use traffic as an excuse to catch up on all those novels you’ve been meaning to check out. Of course, you can’t actually read behind the wheel. But you can listen to someone else read it to you from an audio book. Use this frustrating time to sit back and enjoy a whole new world while you make your way to work at a snail’s pace.

  1. Call your mother      

You should only attempt this one if you have a hands-free kit because, even though you’re stationary, you’re still behind the wheel. While you have this spare time, why not catch up on all those phone calls you’ve been meaning to make. Congratulate your cousin on her engagement. Remind your best friend that she promised to be your date to the wedding. Ask your big brother if he’s free for dinner (and also to check that leak in your living room). And, most importantly, call your mother – she gave you life, after all.

So next time you’re stuck in traffic while watching some poor stranded soul make use of towing services, let one of these ideas inspire you and have a little fun. Life’s too short to take traffic seriously.