QOTD: The Worst Commute of Your Life?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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qotd the worst commute of your life

Weather, at least in this neck of the woods, and especially at this time of year, is more often foe than friend. It certainly was yesterday, when a sudden and very heavy dumping of snow arrived just at the beginning of rush hour, spawning a perfect gridlock that lasted for hours.

While your author didn’t have to drive in it, at least not for commuting purposes, the tangled mess of compact crossover owners all attempting to get to that warm cocoon of beige vinyl they call a home tied up freeway traffic well into the evening. For some reason, nary a plow was to be seen — quite odd for Suburban Canada, as Corey Lewis calls it.

The conditions yesterday mirror those experienced on the longest commute I’ve ever faced. Last year, driving from head office in Downtown Canada (Toronto) to my managing editor’s home in Suburban Downtown Canada (Oshawa), another perfect storm transformed what would have been a basic highway trek into a three hour, 15 minute hell slog. Let’s just say there were no secrets between us by the end of that trip.

Far worse weather faced me a few years ago, when 20 inches of the white stuff fell by mid-afternoon one day, forcing me, at one point, to thread my front-wheel-drive compact car through a maze of jackknifed articulated buses before finally ramming the vehicle into my snowbound driveway at the highest speed I could muster (something approaching 3 mph). Call it a victory for the conventional FWD automobile.

As hairy as it was, however, that nightmare commute still ate up half the amount of time as the Toronto snowmageddon trip.

Maybe you’ve seen worse. For any number of reasons — snow, rain, ice, flooding, hail, terrorism, accidents, mudslides, earthquakes, wayward blimp — you might have faced a commute so memorable, it’s still brought up at parties and barbecues to this day. It can’t just be a regular trip, either. We’re talking work-to-home or home-to-work; an ordinary daily slog made treacherous (and lengthy) by unexpected events.

So tell us — what happened, where did it happen, and how long did it take you to find your way home?

[Image: Michael Gil/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • AtoB AtoB on Feb 04, 2018

    North San Diego on might have been highway 76. Traffic was at a standstill for a few hours because the police had closed the freeway. A mentally disturbed woman was on the freeway with a gun. It was a hot day and we had no A/C. To their credit the police did get the woman off the freeway without anyone physically harmed. That was bad but not as bad as traffic caused by bad behavior: Backups caused by rubberneckers. Gangs of dipshits shutting down roads during rush hour to hoon Impatient jerks cutting ahead in merging lanes. People who get into a minor fenderbender and wait around in the middle of the freeway waiting for the police to show up. Vehicles that drop large hazards on the road due to improper tiedowns. Like a box spring or dishwasher. I can accept traffic due to road repair, acts of God, etc but IMO its when the cause is acts of carelessness, selfishness and/or stupidity it becomes the WORST traffic.

  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Mar 19, 2018

    Commuting in general is the worst. I can recall two occasions that were standouts. From the late 1970s until the late 1990s I drove on L.A.s 405 over the Santa Monica mountains. Since I traveled the opposite of most of the traffic, north in the morning and south in the afternoon, it was usually okay. About a half hour to go the 22 miles, much of the trip on city streets with signal lights to wait for. Going home was the dicey bit. A crash, even with the vehicles out of the road, could slow things considerably. The night in question it was over three hours. There are few roads that go over those mountains and you can see the "old" route, Sepulveda blvd, from the freeway. It was at a stop also with the off ramps backed up onto the shoulders. Going down the hill into W.L.A. I shut the engine off and let off the brake when the cars ahead moved every 5 to 15 minutes. I found out later that there was a Ted Nugent show at the Forum, which was another ten miles south of where I lived. This was around the early 1980s and Ted was a big deal. Twenty some years later when I had moved north and west there was one of SoCal's seasonal brush fires. Pushed by strong North East winds these things are almost unstoppable. The usual road I drove with my S.O. was closed. We went south to the 101 which, of course everyone else was doing. Driving through smoke we got to Thousand Oaks at about 8PM, we left Chatsworth at 5. We ate dinner at a restaurant and got home after 9. Just enough time for a shower before sleep.

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