I have a theory (one of many) that the amount of daylight during peak hour effects the severity of the traffic or the perception and tolerance for traffic by drivers.
I don’t know about anyone else, but since the return from daylight savings time to normal time the traffic on the drive home has felt worse, and driving to my Spanish class tonight I found myself getting more frustrated than usual at the busyness of President Ave.
I think the amount of daylight changes the way we drive. When it is dark it is harder to judge distances and to see the road ahead of you. As a result people leave larger gaps, drive more slowly or are more likely to delay an action because it is harder to tell if it safe or not. All of these factors, I believe, lead to slower moving traffic - which, when coupled with the volume of traffic during peak hour, increase the severity of the traffic.
I also think that driving home from work in the dark changes how drivers respond to peak hour traffic. When the sun is up and you’re on the way home, I reckon you feel like you’ve got a whole evening ahead of you to unwind, relax or work on a hobby. But when the sun is down and its dark, it feels like there’s much less time. Driving home in daylight increases our tolerance to sitting in slow traffic, whereas feeling like we’ll soon need to be in bed increases the feeling of urgency, making us more frustrated with traffic.
I suspect that both factors are at work, making the negative experience much greater. However I suspect our attitude adjusts slightly as we get used to the hours of sunrise and sunset.
Maybe in the future I should base the hours I start and finish work on when the sun sets, so that I’m always driving home an hour before hand, avoiding the problems darkness brings.
That or I could just work from home, or in a country town with no traffic.