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Avoid the Red Light!

Are you sick of waiting at red lights? I was so I started taking notes. After approaching thousands of intersections I came to realize that there is no such thing as a smart light. 52% of the time I hit red lights, and the average wait was around 50 seconds. 

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and at the time I took my notes I was driving 1,000+ miles a week making deliveries.  I had had it with red lights. I often found myself jumping on the freeway just to take the easier route even though it may have taken longer. What I started finding out is that intersections are bad, bad, bad. The best way to explain what I mean is to give you an example.

To drive to the grocery store from my house I must drive through 10 intersection for a distance of about 2 miles. Using my studies I know I will hit about 5 red lights on average at about 50 seconds each. That means I will sit at red lights for over 4 minutes. Lets just say 4. I have to drive the 2 miles at about 35mph, about 4 mintues. Total time 8 minutes. 

I could though take the freeway. Total distance is now 3.5 miles instead of 2. Calculating the distance to the freeway, and time on freeway, total time driving equals about 4 mintues. Number of intersections to freeway, and to store from freeway equals 3, or 1.5 red lights. Total time 1.5 * 50 seconds 1 minute 15 seconds. Lets just say 2 minutes to for bad luck. Freeway route total time = 6 minutes. 2 minutes I just saved... on average. 

Lesson, avoid intersections when you can, even if the route might not make sense. The general rule of thumb I use is 1 light means an extra 30 seconds for your route.  A side road with a few stop signs can work just as good as a freeway. What you are really trying to avoid are those dang red lights!

Have a suggestion of your own? I would love to hear from you, and more than willing to add it on the list. Let me know! Monkey Meter, the original road rage traffic reporter!