Increasing traffic congestion is a top concern among many Utah residents, according to a study by the Utah Foundation. As one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas, traffic along the Wasatch Front is likely to continue increasing for the foreseeable future.
Next time you are trying to merge from I-215 onto I-15 southbound after 4 p.m. and you end up with 20 to 30 minutes of down time in <a href="http://www.youngautomotive.com/index.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow>your car, here are some ideas about how to keep yourself entertained.
Crank up the tunes
Seems like the obvious choice, right? Well, you might want to take it a step further by creating a playlist specifically for the rush hour parking lot. Songs could include “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “Baby You Can Drive My Car” by the Beetles.
The dashboard drummer
Forget about just listening to your tunes because it's time to get involved. The dashboard drums shouldn't have a dull moment during the rush hour performance.
Although sightings of rush hour trumpet performances have been seen on I-15 near Draper, we don't recommend an instrument that large, after all, you're still driving. If you're not a dashboard drummer perhaps consider a harmonica, perfecting your whistling skills or venturing into the world of beat boxing.
Keep an assortment of rubber Halloween masks in your vehicle. Yes, you know where this is going. When traffic stalls, put one on and stare at the drivers around you.
When cars start moving again, quickly take it off and act normal. When things slow down, grab a different mask. This is particularly amusing if you are in stop-and-go traffic and you are playing hopscotch with the same basic group of vehicles.
Talk to yourself
Since it's not wise, or legal, to make calls or send text messages (which explains why you never see anyone doing it), we recommend practicing a speech, what you'd say in a job interview / pitch for a raise, etc.
It's also a great time to have some positive self-talk and to develop power statements regarding your skills. Practice a "me in 30 seconds" so it sounds fluid. It may seem silly, but this verbal practice can go a long way.
Play basketball. Obviously you can’t use a real ball. You can, however, get one of those mini plastic rims and attach it to the window on the passenger side. Then shoot hoops with one of those small foam balls until things start moving again. If you are more into football, baseball or soccer, you are probably out of luck.
Fish for cars
OK, perhaps the only prize you'll reel in will consist of humorous looks from drivers around you. Nevertheless, stick a fishing rod out an open window and pretend to fish in the traffic. Every now and then pull back on the rod and reel frantically as if you just got a bite from a big one.
Who knows, you may become the next viral sensation on YouTube.
Features, features and more features
If you're the type that prefers not to draw any extra attention to yourself (masks and fishing), you can just spend the time taking mental notes of features you'll want in your next car. Heated seats? DVD player with theater surround sound? How about satellite radio or a touch screen interface? Your mind can take you to great places.
Salt Lake City pegs the average local commute time at 21 minutes, less than the national average of 25 minutes. But anyone who drives frequently in the Salt Lake metro area knows that an accident or inclement weather can play havoc with those averages. So hopefully these items will give you somet great options to keep stay entertained on the days when your commute doesn’t go as planned.
Flint Stephens has a master's degree in communication. He is an author and writes a parenting blog.