I got stuck in quite a traffic jam on Route 8 north yesterday. Took me over an hour to get to my parents’ when normally it takes 20-some minutes.
The entire northbound highway was closed. Apparently, it was due to a dump-truck that crashed and spread debris. But, as it goes with accidents like this, I didn’t really know the situation until I got to the accident area. I got on at the Perkins onramp and got off at the next offramp, Glenwood, but it took a really long time and was stressful.
Two ambulances came by while I was on Perkins, one from the highway and one from elsewhere. I moved over lanes for the ambulance, then cars behind it were passing me, so I had to merge into them to get back in to the lane to get on 8 north.
Just as I was turning into the onramp, I noticed it was backed up all the way to the street. In fact, I was sticking out a little for a few moments, but pulled quite close to the car in front of me, just as she had put her car in reverse. She waited a moment, then turned around and exited the onramp. I pulled up behind the next car. I considered turning around myself, but at that point I would’ve had to go backwards on the onramp a bit, and the light had changed and cars from the oncoming street were going.
Cars ahead were off to the side a bit, and I was close enough that I couldn’t see beyond them. Some of the cars from behind decided to take the onramp, and lane-split to pass us. When they stopped coming, the two cars ahead of me turned around and exited. Then I noticed that no cars were ahead of them until near the end of the onramp: They were just sitting there on the side waiting to turn around.
I could’ve turned around at this point again, but decided I was already on the onramp and have been in thick traffic on 8 before and might as well go, so I did. As I came up to the end of the onramp and the wall of barely moving vehicles, three of them switched out of the right highway lane into the onramp in front of me and went around a semi truck on the right. I followed them at a distance.
A large pickup came flying up the onramp and came up right on my tail, like he expected to be going full highway speeds and wanted to push me to. He had followed me beside the semi. The semi let the cars ahead of me in, but seemed reluctant to let me in. The pickup then stopped and let the semi get ahead of him, then pulled in behind. I held back till he came up beside me, and he yelled through the window something like “You’re driving on the side of the highway like an idiot”. I said back that “I’m just following those guys”. He was clearly not going to let me in, so I zoomed back up alongside the semi and force my nose in. He then acquiesced.
Since he let me in, I wanted to any further negatives I could cause him, so I tried my best to move as much as I could in each move and not move until I could move something noticeable. But the car ahead of me was moving annoyingly, and it was really stop and go, with mostly stop.
I turned on my Talking Heads CD that I’ve had in my car for a couple years now. It seems to help calm me when I’m driving, and it did certainly help.
It took a long time to get across the bridge there and to the point where there was a berm again. The SUV ahead of me that had pulled around the semi again got on the berm once it was wide enough and drove off. Around that point, cars from the right two lanes started wanting to merge over. I let one in and more kept wanting over. I worried me leaving a gap to let them in would anger the semi. A large dump truck wanted over, so I had to leave him a big gap.
More and more cars started going into the berm, to the point where they were backed up next to us who were in the actual lane. They were moving faster than us though. I eventually found out that they were ending up in the right turn lane from the offramp and us the left, so they were getting more cars through each light.
By this point I had come upon and finally saw that there were orange barrels and a police car ahead blocking the three northbound lanes of the highway, as well as one southbound lane. There were some emergency vehicles further ahead including a firetruck and some police cars, as well as a construction looking large vehicle (must’ve been the crashed dump-truck), but it didn’t look like much was on the highway or going on really at that point.
It took me quite a while to move along to the end of the offramp, and it turned yellow as I approached the light. I stopped, as I would normally, but the guy behind me wanted me to go through and honked his horn angrily. It took quite a while for the next light change. When it finally did, I floored it and zoomed up to the person ahead, losing a bit of traction in the turn.
While waiting on the offramp, I had set up my phone navigation to take me to my destination. It had me going straight, but I couldn’t tell if I was in a left only or left and straight lane, and I wasn’t sure if it would want to take me back to the highway. I wasn’t sure where the highway would open back up, so I just wanted to avoid it entirely. I turned left.
I zoomed from every stop and went faster than I normally would. Some cars ahead of me seemed to be going extra slow. I turned up my music. A guy was following behind me until around Northhampton when he turned to go his separate way.
My dad called to check on me since I was so late, but Android seemingly changed their answering action at some point, so I accidentally hung up on him. I waited until I could pull over to call him back and tell him I was almost there.
When I got home, my parents had already made and were eating dinner. I went to the bathroom, splashed water on my face, then joined them and told them the tale.
I may have to start using alternate routes to get from work to my parents’. Route 8 is rarely that bad, but still can be stressful even on normal days.