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September 20, 2014

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How to survive Knoxville rush hour

On my way home from work this evening, I battled the ever-present rush-hour that occurs between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Interstates 40 and 75 that intersect in Knoxville.

It’s an unavoidable fact of life for most in Knoxville and other bigger cities. Therefore, I’ve decided that for the rest of you (and me) driving in rush-hour traffic, wherever you may be, I will put together a list of things to do to suppress your boiling blood.

  1. Snack before you drive.
    Hunger always makes the present problem worse for me. It’s just something else to deal with when there’s a slow driver in the fast lane that will NOT for ANY circumstances get out of the way. Oh, and I should mention to snack BEFORE putting the car in gear. You’ll be safer that way.
  2. Say a prayer, mantra or think of something happy.
    When you start to feel your blood pressure rise, calm down. Think of something happy, peaceful or even play some cheerful songs (recommendation: “New Soul” by Yael Naim) to sing along with. Basically, do something (safely) that makes you happy!
  3. If you’ve been bitten by the speed demon, try going with the flow of traffic.
    Going with the flow, hard as it may be, is really the safest thing you can do. I promise you will get to your destination eventually.
    Bonus: You won’t get pulled over by that cop that knows you by name… again.
  4. Play relaxing music or listen to talk radio.
    Again, this will help to relax you while driving.
  5. If all else fails, avoid rush hour if at all possible.
    Find some extra small jobs around the office you’ve been putting off and do them. Run an extra mile at the gym. Browse the Internet (and check out Knoxify again; you could’ve missed something) and read your favorite blogs. Catch up on MetroPulse and Knoxville Voice. There’s always something to do to keep you busy just a few extra minutes. If you can’t wait out rush hour every day, try to beat it. Leave a few minutes early or save that project for the next day when you’re leaving later. It balances out.

If you couldn’t avoid rush-hour, find something soothing to listen to or gave up on your mantra, sit down and blog about it. Then go eat dinner. You’ll feel better — I promise.

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Creative Commons License Photography by Stuck in Customs

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  • Doug McCaughan

    I’d like to suggest 2 others.
    6. Let people merge. When those annoying people chose to not wait their turn and rush past all the waiting cars only to cut someone off, our tendency is to block them and make them wait. This reaction hurts the traffic flow over all. If you let one or two of these impatience people in, the flow of traffic can be much smoother.

    7. Work from home. Maybe not everyday but see if the boss will let you work from the house 2 days a week. Or pull 4 ten hour days and take 3 day weekends. Many jobs that are done in an office can be done remotely. Customer service, tech support, programming, sales, certain finance jobs, etc can be done remotely either full time or part time. The US Patent Office encourages its employees to work from home. Telecommuting reduces emissions, carbon footprint, infrastructure costs, and increases quality time between employee and family. That commuting time (for some people 40 minutes one way) could be spent working or with family. Either way, telecommuting has many wins.

    Urls referenced in this comment:

  • Doug McCaughan

    6. Let them merge! Our tendency when some impatient person doesn’t wait in line, rushes up and tries to merge at the last minute, is to block them. This is wrong. We should let them in. It’s a math problem not a race. If we prevent them from merging the entire traffic pattern can become messed up for miles. If each of us lets one or two of these mergers in then the traffic flows better. As a matter of fact, it only takes a few people to let these “cheaters” in to fix the traffic.

  • Brittney

    Agreed! I’ll admit it; I’m one of the cheaters occasionally… :) Sorry.

    Great addition to the list! Thanks!

  • Doug McCaughan

    7. Work from home. See if the boss will let you telecommute even if it is only 2 days a week. Or work 4 ten hour days and have 3 day weekends. In doing so, we get traffic off the road during rush hour. The US Patent Office encourages its employees to telecommute and even pays for their high speed bandwidth if the employee is meeting requirements on their annual performance reviews. Many jobs such as customer service, tech support, programming, sales, certain finance related jobs, legal, management and so forth can be done remotely thus reducing emissions, gas consumption, carbon footprint, infrastructure costs, and enhancing family relations with the employee. That spent commuting (40 minutes one way for some) can be used for working or with family instead of in the car. The challenge is in retraining managers to accept telecommuting and let go of micromanagement.

  • Doug McCaughan

    Ugh. 3rd time I’ve tried to get this comment to take!

    7. Work from home. See if the boss will let you telecommute even if its only 2 days a week. Or work 4 ten hour days and take 3 day weekends. Getting the cars off the road during rush hour can help. Many jobs can be done remotely including customer service, tech support, programming, sales, certain financial jobs, management, legal, and so forth. The US Patent Office encourages its employees who have met certain requires on their annual performance reviews and even pays their high speed access. Working from home reduces emissions, gas consumption, carbon footprint, and infrastructure costs. Telecommuting can increase productivity and better family relationships as the time normally spent commuting (40 minute one way for some people) can be spent working or with family.

  • Casey Peters

    Sorry about the comment trouble Doug. Akismet was having a field-day with your links. I’ll look into fixing this.

  • Patrick Beeson

    Or perhaps take an alternate route. I’ve noticed I can get from downtown to west faster by taking Middlebrook Pike.

    Also, if you value your money, just go the speed limit. You’ll save in gas and reduce the risk of accidents.

  • Doug McCaughan

    Np. I assumed they were getting moderated but didn’t get a message that the comment had been saved. Just looked like the form cleared. Feel free to delete the duplicate comments or edit however you like.

  • Elizabeth

    I need a car loan for about 22k. Were can I go were my rate and payment won’t be thru the roof.



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About the Author

Brittney Moore – Brittney, born and bred in East Tennessee, came to the Knoxville area almost a year ago in August 2007 as a freshman at the University of Tennessee. Since then, she has gained journalism experience writing for The Daily Beacon and Tennessee Journalist ( while growing an appreciation for the history, culture and future of Knoxville.

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