How technology can help you get the better of rush hour

You’re probably going to read this next sentence and think that I’m lying, but if you live in Johannesburg or Cape Town you probably have daily complaints about traffic congestion. Well, according to the Inrix 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, Johannesburg comes in at 61 out of 200 cities surveyed, and Cape Town 95th. Yup, neither city even ranks in the top 50 most congested cities in the world.

What won’t surprise you is how many hours you lose a year to that congestion, Capetonians lose on average 162 hours to congestion per year compared to Johannesburg’s 119.

If you’ve ever lost even an hour to traffic, you know it’s not just frustrating, it’s also detrimental to many areas of our lives including our stress levels, productivity, and health (due to air pollution). Thankfully, there are tools available to help manage our journeys and make life a little easier.

Live the traffic

Apps like Google Maps, Waze and others feature live traffic updates, which empower you to decide whether to head out, stay in and work until the chaos has subsided. or find something else to do for an hour or two (like getting a head start on your grocery shop for the next week) before tackling your commute. 

Miss/ter Popularity

Your navigation app can also help you work out when to hit the gym, or the shops when it’s not peak time so that you’re not passing up time on the road and heading into time in queues for the showers. In Maps, this is accessible if you click on a location’s listing in the app and scroll down to ‘Popular Times’.

Sharing is caring

If someone is waiting for you, with tapping foot (or hungry face),  share your progress with them in real time as you make your way through the gridlock. Both Google Maps and Waze have this feature and you can share real time information via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or even email. 

Making the time up

All the planning in the world can’t get around the fact that school and work tends to start at the same time for everyone and you’re going to be sitting in traffic, staring at the bumper of the car in front of you, at least for some days of the week. So why not make use of the time? If you’ve got kids in the car, even more reason to have fun time rather than whine time. 

Get Google to tell you bad Dad jokes by using the voice search option in Search and the Google App. All you have to do is click the microphone icon and say, ‘Ok Google, tell me a joke’ (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). 

Or make use of apps like Audible to catch up on your reading (family-friendly or not, up to you?). Give the kids something to giggle at by turning on their favourite YouTube channel, or take turns using Lens to identify the things you’re passing that the kids don’t recognise (but not if you’re the driver!).

Traffic is likely to be a reality for many of us for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try and make the best of it.