9 things to keep you sane on your commute to Charlotte

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Five days a week, I can spend up to 90 minutes a day in my car on I-77 as I commute from Rock Hill to uptown. It seems impossible to avoid congestion.

Sure, I could always take alternate routes and back roads but the constant turning onto this highway and that highway gets on my nerves. Instead, I cope using these 9 strategies (some of which should only be employed while you’re sitting in traffic – NOT when driving):

(1) Play a license plate game

Some of my rules: 5 points for any state north of the Mason-Dixon Line; 10 points for any state west of the Mississippi River; and 15 points for any state that doesn’t end with “Carolina.”


(2) Stare at people in their cars

Three options here: You’ll make a new friend; make the person squirm with awkwardness; get flipped off.


(3) Enjoy a healthy, balanced breakfast

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(4) Find ways to save your soul from slowly being crushed

Keep your mind sharp!  Talk to yourself. Yell. Call a friend. Pray. Blast the radio. Pretend to be somewhere else.

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(5) Consider your purpose in life

Trust me, the traffic will take you there.


(6) Pretend you’re a DJ or NPR correspondent

Conduct your own news broadcast live from whatever mile marker you’re closest to. If your phone has a recording function, start your own “podcast.” Craft some nutty weekend tale that seems to regale very morning drive-in show.


(7) Spruce up

Wipe down your steering wheel, dashboard and cup holders.



(8) See what’s happening on your highway in other states

I-77 spans more than 600 miles and touches cities in Ohio, West Virginia and the Carolinas. So take to Twitter and see what’s going on elsewhere. Because accident tweets are just as ubiquitous as the collisions themselves.

(9) Stop complaining and be grateful you’re not commuting to Atlanta

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IMG_0033Jonathan McFadden writes about entrepreneurship and small business for the Charlotte Observer but previously covered crime, courts and public safety for the Rock Hill Herald (meaning he always has the best stories at the dinner table). Follow him on Twitter @JmcfaddenObsBiz.



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