OPINION: Traffic is a nightmare



Traffic is the curse of the commuter.

Sitting for hours in our cars as we try to get from point A to point B — sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night, but always in a rush. Therefore, when traffic turns into a jam or someone cuts you off, it can feel like one of the most infuriating things in the world — nearly as enraging as the “Game of Thrones” series finale.

We live — at least most of us — in the great city of Wichita. There were 390,000 people living here in the 2010 U.S. census. Now, I’m going to hazard a guess that Wichita has grown a bit in the last nine years, but we still aren’t at the level of Portland, Austin, or Denver. We’re not even to the size of Kansas City, yet the traffic can feel just as bad.

That’s a ridiculous thing to think about — that Wichita’s traffic is as bad as the closest major metropolitan area.

Driving shouldn’t be such a difficult thing. For example, yield signs mean that you stop if there is oncoming traffic. It doesn’t mean stop because you got it confused with a stop sign. Obvious, yes, but too many times, I’ve had to stop at 21st Street and Hillside Avenue when turning right towards campus while running late to class because of it.

On top of that, when you’re trying to get onto the interstate, you have people that won’t get up to speed on the ramp or you have other people that won’t slow down or speed up to let you merge.

Other people can be jerks when they drive, or just plain negligent, and it’s annoying and anxiety-inducing. And sometimes you make a mistake. I know I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve quoted comedian John Mulaney, saying “I also don’t want me to be doing what I’m doing,” but some people are just garbage drivers.

Garbage drivers — and not the people driving garbage trucks — make the morning commute more infuriating than it needs to be. That shouldn’t be how things are, or at least it shouldn’t be as prevalent as it seems to be.

The only way to possibly remedy the early-morning coffee spills is for people to pay attention to the road, its rules, and the fact that you aren’t the only one there.

The guy who cuts you off after speeding through the turning lane does it primarily because he doesn’t care about other drivers. Bad drivers are focused on themselves, while we’re focused on wanting to beam them in the head.

It’s easy to get self-absorbed. You’re by yourself in a tiny mobile house blasting your favorite Taylor Swift album. It can be pretty easy to forget about everybody around you while enjoying “Shake It Off.”

But other people are around you, and they are trying to get home just as fast as you are.

Another issue that Wichita has goes back to the fact that we have roughly 390,000 people and are continuing to grow. Maybe Wichita’s traffic issue isn’t just bad drivers, but also an infrastructure that can’t handle changes like a Trader Joes in Bradley Fair or an REI on Greenwich Road.

I’d hate to suggest more construction in Wichita, but larger roads and some roundabouts do sound nice.

But, unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done about traffic, other than yelling into the void as you’re stuck in the one lane of traffic on Kellogg that decided to come to a standstill.