February 9, 2016

Labor Day Traffic

By Jessie Tobias
Staff Writer
Posted 9/2/11


Labor Day weekend in Northern Michigan is only days away, and many of us will engage in traditional Labor Day activities—getting out on the water, barbecuing, and waiting in traffic.

Waiting in traffic is more than a Labor Day tradition, actually. It’s a multi-holiday tradition. As in, if it’s a holiday, and you’re driving somewhere, be prepared to wait in traffic.

Construction on I-75 in northern Bay and southern Arenac Counties this weekend will no doubt slow traffic to a standstill as drivers abuse their gas and brake pedals in a futile attempt to get ahead of the game. It’s a sad, sad truth that while we all see the lane closure signs posted well before any lanes start narrowing, many drivers stay in the fast lane and get as far as they can before succumbing to the inevitable and shifting over.

Is it still road rage when I’m sitting in a motionless car, watching people zip up the line past me when they should have merged miles ago? In that type of situation, I usually indulge in a lot of yelling, (with, of course, some profanity thrown in) but I never actually act out my fantasies of ramming the offenders off the road. I have a 1993 Oldsmobile. It could take a hybrid, right?

It’s hard to admit that drivers who speed to the head of the line and wait to be let in by some kind soul are not breaking any laws. They’re being rude and inconsiderate, but as much as it grates, those traits can’t be considered crimes.

Just once, I’d like to see how fast I could get through a construction zone on a holiday weekend if everyone merged into one lane in an orderly fashion, back when they first saw the lane closure sign.

In this fantasy, drivers coming up on a line of slowed cars before a merger would not zip past them; they would slow down and merge in behind the waiting drivers, telling themselves that, no matter how much they would like to get ahead of the mess, they should be considerate and wait their turn in line.

Do I think this is ever going to happen? No, of course not. But imagining how much nicer it would be is a good distraction when I’m stopped on the highway before a lane closure, watching cars cut in ahead of me.

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