Rainy roads and my traffic theory

Posted: August 6, 2004 in Uncategorized

Day before yesterday, was the fourth consecutive day of heaviest continuous rains, in Mumbai. When I woke up in the morning, I realised that it must have rained all night. It was completely overcast, and there were clear indications that traffic must be terrible. There was a chance that the kids’ school may also be closed for the day, but it wasn’t.

That was the day when most people do not go to work, and at least, don’t drive down, fearing the worst traffic mess ups. But in such cases, I have a different theory…

1. When it rains so heavily and most people might not venture out in the rains, the traffic is usually very thin, and if you do go out on the roads, at least the traffic will not bother you.

2. If you have one of the newer models of cars, it can virtually swim through water and not get stuck. You may take a chance in that case.

3. And if you avoid some expected tough water logging spots, you may not be bad off at all.

Which is exactly what I did that morning. And reached work in 45 minutes. My average commute on any regular working day, in the morning, is almost that much. So with the diversions that I took, with the potholes that did not allow speed to happen, and with rains lashing hard on the front glass, I still made it in as much time, as I normally take on a week day.

And the return that night was even more startling. With return peak traffic that I normally encounter, I usually take an hour or a little more than that to commute back. And on that day, I got home in 30 minutes flat! Rains had cleared off to an extent, but there were hardly any vehicles on the road. Regular commuters had not even started from home. There were not many takers for cabs who appeared to have not started out in large numbers that day (moreover, their Premier Padminis are most vulnerable in the rains). And goods vehicles had not started out, I guess, because the workers having not reached, the warehouses did not load out goods, nor received new vehicles for unloading. All in all, it made for one smooth ride back home!

Now the extension of the same theory works like this:

1. The day following the heavy rains, when the sun comes out, its the worst day to be out on the roads. Everyone who stayed at home, is out with a vengeance. And that is disaster. Today was that day, for me, and it took me a good 1.5 hours almost, to reach home, from work!

2. What is also a bad time to be caught on the road, is when there is a sudden outburst of rain, in the middle of the day. If it was dry in the morning, and then all of a sudden, there is this huge downpour. Nobody is ready for it, and end up going slow on the busy roads.. !

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