Atlanta Traffic Survival Guide

This past weekend, the Final Four took place in Atlanta. On top of that, a concert series featuring bands like Muse, Flo Rida and Dave Matthews Band set up camp at Centennial Olympic Park. And on top of that, baseball is finally back and the Braves were in town.

Sounds like the perfect weekend, right? The perfect weekend for anyone who doesn’t plan to leave their house, that is.

Traffic Movie Poster

The less annoying kind of traffic.

Weekends like this consistently make us think that cities ought to have a maximum capacity, and Atlanta has long since surpassed its limit. Trying to drive anywhere– be it Turner Field or the gas station down the street– is a nightmare from which we can’t seem to wake up.

When you’re about to face Atlanta traffic, you may find yourself cycling through the five stages of grief, usually right after you look at your phone’s GPS and it tells you that you’ll be reaching your destination (10 miles away) in 1 hour and 35 minutes.

You’ll go through Denial (“This thing must be broken. Why do I use Apple products anyway?”), Anger (“What idiot is causing all this traffic?! It’s probably that guy in the Prius. He looks like an asshole.”), Bargaining (“Maybe if I just reroute, it’ll shave a few minutes off…”), Depression (“I’m going to die here in this Ford Taurus.”) and Acceptance (“I’m going to die here in this Ford Taurus and I’m okay with that I guess.”) all before you’re out of the work parking lot.

Cheer up. There are things you can do while you sit in traffic to take the edge off, and I’m not talking about substance abuse OR verbal abuse.

  • Play an improv game. You’ve seen Automatic Improv play them on a Friday night, but there are plenty of improv games you can adapt to be more car-friendly! Of course, you’ll have to get your own suggestions from yourself. Hope you make you laugh!

  • Got a smartphone? Use Voice Memos to dictate the first draft of your Mad Men fanfiction where Don Draper and Roger Sterling start a rock band. Joan can be their manager. Pete’s just a groupie.

Pete Campbell

Never quite good enough.

  • No smartphone? Come up with the most brilliant idea you’ve ever thought of (for a book, a business, a comic strip, anything!), the one that’s sure to make you famous, and then promptly forget it the second you pull into your driveway. And then get back in your car and go buy a smartphone. Come on, guy. What year is it?

  • Curse the names of Ted Turner, Fredi Gonzalez, Arthur Blank, whoever owns the Final Four, Dave Atlanta, Peachtree McGeorgia, Ludacris, Truett Cathy, anybody who has anything to do with what’s going on in this godforsaken city right now.


It’s like this guy WANTS you to be stuck in traffic.

  • Sing karaoke. Try to hit all the right notes in Taylor Swift’s “Trouble.” Then try to hit all the notes in the goat version.

  • Daydream of places that you could be living right now, if things had gone another way. Nome, Alaska. Tupelo, Mississippi. Antarctica. The moon. I bet the moon doesn’t have bad traffic.

  • Kegels. If you’re a man, I don’t know, butt-kegels?

  • Resign yourself to the fact that you’re not getting home anytime soon, so you might as well enjoy the city. Reroute your GPS to Turner Field instead and become a part of the problem.

Maybe someday in the future we’ll just become a city of people living in their cars, just constantly circling 285 in the pods in which we eat, sleep and live. ‘Til then, we’re probably stuck with our commutes.

If you’re looking for a better option than fighting traffic to get home, I can suggest a couple of things. Automatic Improv classes  give you an alternative to traffic one night a week, and you might even make friends with whom you can lament Atlanta’s deplorable city planning in the process. Or if it’s a Friday, you can kill a couple of hours at a bar or grab dinner before coming to see Automatic Improv’s 10:30 p.m. show at Fabrefaction Theatre on the Westside. Remember, it’s not a commute if you just don’t go home!

by Amy Farley


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