With almost half of the U.S. population commuting in some form or fashion, there's no shortage of conversations to be had and common ground to be found when it comes to how we get to and from work. A while ago, we shared some of our tips and our customers' tips for making the most of your commute, but sometimes, no matter what you do, the most memorable parts of your commute are out of your control… and anyone else's, apparently. So what crazy commuter stories are out there? Here are the ones we dared to share.
The People of Public Transportation – In larger metro areas, public transportation can be a life-saver, reducing traffic on the roads and limiting the amount of pollution created by cars sitting in an endless gridlock. But it throws perfect strangers together, resulting in some weird encounters… like "the crazy 86-year-old married guy hitting on my friend a few months ago" described by reader Shari S. Not the time, Romeo! But most of our public transportation commuters seem to take "crazy" in stride: "Any time you have to ride the NYC subway system, it's crazy," shared Barbara G. But, as she notes, those crazy moments make the non-crazy ones that much sweeter.
Paging Animal Planet – What else does public transportation cut down on? The variety and proliferation of wildlife our country-living commuters see. From baby ducks to turkeys and a whole lot of deer bounding across the road, drivers find themselves getting a lot closer to the great outdoors than they ever intended to. "I totaled my car swerving to avoid a black bear cub," recalls Hester H. "Luckily, neither bear nor I were injured!" And on the weirder side of "wildlife," Melissa P. shares that a traffic sign from Denver to Boulder had quite a few brake lights flashing: "Watch out for zombies ahead." Sounds like a good day to call in sick.
Hail to the Chief – You can get accustomed to the crazy subway and prepare for the wandering wildlife, but when the big man himself hits town, it's a whole new breed of motorcade madness. That's right, we're talking about when the President of the United States is in the area, necessitating blocked routes and taking up a lot of time. As Cathy Y. says, "My 25-minute commute once took 1-1/2 hours because President Obama was in town and they did rolling shutdowns on the highway as he traveled. It completely messed up my commute, but I did get to see his limo!"
Mother Nature's Obstacle Course –Weather and other natural disasters and hazards can have a huge impact on commuters and should be taken into account by businesses, especially those located in geographies prone to extreme weather conditions. Customer Linda M. says her craziest moment was "trying to navigate my way home during a terrible storm with trees falling, objects flying through the air and the wind moving my car. I was sure I was going to see the witch from Oz at any minute!" Other readers shared horror stories of rockslides, floods, and plenty of ice and snow. And a word of caution to businesses… try not to do what Katherine S. experienced after she'd already made it most of the way to work in an ice storm: "[I got] the call on my cell phone that they were closing the office and I didn't need to come in."
Did You Pass Driver's Ed? – Of course, no selection of commuting stories is complete without the biggest hazard of all: our fellow drivers. While fender benders and impatient motorists are par for the course, sometimes you can't predict the unpredictable behavior you'll see on the road. Drew says the best thing he's seen recently "was someone eating a bowl of cereal with two hands while driving." There's hungry, then there's crazy! And then, apparently, there's tired: Felicia Q. shares that she recently witnessed "a guy sleeping at the light in the middle lane next to me." It almost makes the makeup-appliers and the newspaper readers seem safe and normal!
No matter what kind of craziness you're surviving during the commute, just get to work safely, reward yourself with a cup of coffee, and make the most out of your day. Make that commute worthwhile!