Traffic Gridlock Tips To Be Prepared

Traffic Jam in Los Angeles - Thanksgiving Getaway

Los Angeles Traffic, Thanksgiving Getaway. I posted this image (and video clip below) a number of years ago. Insane LA traffic just before Thanksgiving. Given that today is the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest road travel days of the year, it reminded me of this topic.

When I saw these traffic images of complete gridlock, and whenever I see or experience a nightmarish traffic situation myself, it affects me in a way that’s probably a bit different than others…

Many or most who are stuck in such a traffic jam are most likely very frustrated, annoyed, angry, or pi$$ed off about being there. Crawling along… Late to wherever they’re going next. Instead, here’s what I see…

It’s absolutely amazing to witness the sea of humanity at times. The density. The number of people living and working in such proximity. If you live there, well, it’s ‘normal’. For those who don’t, it can seem quite exceptional. With that many people, it screams ‘systemic risks’. The supporting infrastructure that keeps it all going – literally keeping people alive.

That said, people live where they live, and that’s the way it is. So what can be done to be prepared for traffic gridlock?

Here’s a video from 2016, Thanksgiving getaway traffic from Los Angeles:
source: ABC7 Eyewitness News

Tips For Surviving Traffic Jam Or Traffic Gridlock

1. Keep your gas tank full! I am one of those who rarely lets my tank fall below half. Typically I fill-r-up at 3/4. Although I currently live rural and don’t have to worry about traffic gridlock, I have spent many years of my life living and working in very population-dense regions. I have also been crawling along on the exact same freeway traffic-jam location pictured above. I do feel better knowing that I have the range of travel with a near full tank of fuel. If you’re caught in a serious traffic jam while running on fumes, your situation will get much worse when you run out of gas!

2. Keep food / snacks in your car. Oh my oh my… this has saved me many a time during a previous career. When you’re hungry, you tend to get a bit cranky. And that doesn’t help during a traffic jam! It will certainly help your mood if you’re getting hungry – especially around meal time while stuck in a traffic jam.


3. Keep some bottled water in the vehicle. Again, food and drink. I keep a small cooler on the floor in the back seat with at least several bottles of water. The cooler helps smooth out the high and low temperatures inside a vehicle throughout the day.

4. Know alternate routes of travel. Most of us are stuck in the habit and routine of going a certain way. The same road every day. This is usually the quickest way. However, in a traffic gridlock situation you ‘might’ be better off going another way (‘might’)… Do you know other ways to get where you’re going?

5. Travel sooner. If you live in the region, you should already know when and where the roads typically clog. Plan ahead and travel sooner (or later). You might not always have a choice to do that. But if you do…

6. Learn to enjoy and be entertained by the idiocy that you will observe around you while stuck in traffic. It is amazing to witness the lunacy, selfishness, and stupidity that arises when others get stressed during traffic.

7. Stay calm. Don’t get angry. Though it can be a challenge!

8. Listen to the radio. Maybe it’s music that you like. Or a particular talk show. Podcast maybe. It will help pass the time. During my years of commuting every day, I would look forward to listening to my favorite talk show host during my way home.

9. Prepare to be stuck in gridlock for hours. If there’s a traffic accident and there’s a fatality involved, you are likely to be stuck in traffic gridlock for hours for ‘the investigation’. I’ve been in this situation more than once. It requires a great deal of patience. During long road trips, I take my CB radio. It has saved my bacon more than once! Hearing about an extreme traffic situation miles ahead of time has enabled me to get off the freeway and find another route – saving HOURS of time.

My CB Radio

I need a #10… Care to share your traffic gridlock /traffic jam scenarios and recommendations?

[ Read: Could You Escape From LA? ]