“Lifehacking” refers to productivity tricks that cut through information overload and organize life in general. They include tips to plan your day, making the best out of your time and resources etc.

We Karachiites face many issues that, if tackled properly, can improve our social as well as individual lives. In this series, I will try to address many such issues, mostly related to our social lives, that affect our fellow citizens, but also others that can help us “hack” our lifestyles for the better.

Here’s the first episode of how to navigate your way through busy traffic!

Tips to navigate through Traffic Jams [Lifehack]

With virtually every road undergoing reconstruction, traffic situation has gone down from bad to worse. Everyday, you try to subtract another 15 minutes from your departure time from home. This adds to less sleep, more frustration if you’re not able to leave home on time, and an added fear of getting stuck in a jam and getting late to work. Here are some tips to help you navigate through traffic and squeeze your way to work in time:

1. Identify chronic bottle-neck areas and try to avoid them by taking linking routes.

2. If you’re thinking of changing lanes, make sure you gain a pace of atleast 2 cars by doing so. Mostly, we see a lane progressing and move to that lane but the next minute, we’re even behind the spot where we were.

3. If you know totally alternative routes, time them! There would be days when particular routes are most efficient.

4. Try and avoid getting stuck in a ‘mesh’ of traffic (where you have no choice but to keep following the same lane).

5. Some ‘usual’ routes are good to avoid – for example: People usually take Metropole roundabout while entering Shahra-e-Faisal coming from Clifton bridge. Sometimes, it is better to take right form Clifton bridge and take the Jinnah Hospital route and land at the Kashif Center signal.

6. Identify patches of lane that are slow or fast. Every lane, during the course of a route, will have patches where it will either speed up, or be entirely blocked. They mostly follow a pattern over particular days. All you need to do is to switch to the correct lane on time and you’re home free!

7. Once you catch up speed, or get to a less-crowded patch of the road, watch out for “boxed” formations. Avoiding boxes and looking for “zip” spaces to overtake multiple cars at a time will definitely help.

8. Mostly, the fastest lane is the fastest. You need to know where that lane gets clogged (like Sh.Faisal on Regent Plaza signal) and simply move out of that lane in time!

These simple, yet effective ways might take a couple of days or weeks to get used to, but they really help in the long run.

7 Comments so far

  1. d0ct0r (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

    once stuck in traffic just move with the flow of traffic like if traffic congestion ease up and traffic is flowing towards left and(you need to go right) then don’t insist on taking a right turn while blocking way for others to turn left(where congestion has eased up), its better to get out of traffic congestion first then think about you final destination..

  2. Hassan Abbas (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 2:51 am

    easy to said and hard to follow.

  3. Zee (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 5:39 am

    DOCTOR: How the heck did you manage to go through this post without blaming the traffic and population problem on Altaf Hussain? :| Took them grown-up-for-a-second-pill?

    Author: Dude, instead of changing lanes, if all of us could just stay in the lanes and follow basic guidelines and rules, traffic won’t be a problem!

  4. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

    Farrukh, I appreciate your initiative for jotting down a detailed ‘guide’ for navigating every-day traffic but believe me even after driving for 16 years in Karachi and watching the traffic going from better to bad to worst, I can only say this, that until and unless each and everyone of us learn to obey simple traffic rules, traffic congestion will remain as it as or will get worse due to ever-increasing numbers of cars on the road.

    And, having said that, these guidelines of yours are only good for today; for tomorrow, they will be of no use.

  5. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

    “7. Once you catch up speed, or get to a less-crowded patch of the road, watch out for “boxed” formations. Avoiding boxes and looking for “zip” spaces to overtake multiple cars at a time will definitely help.”

    Are you serious? Have u seen the ppl in this country drive??ESP motorbikes?? Not a day goes by where some bike wala has not rammed into a car & as Arsalaan said, if we obey the rules made for our protection and convinienve, we wont get in a mess.

    A lot of times ppl get held up because some smartoo is trying to “cut” to the other lane!

  6. faiza habib (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2007 @ 8:57 am

    traffic jam has been a part of my life for quite some time. the adventure of being a part of it provide me good enough stress to loose my mind and still i cant do anything about it. during ramazan the traffic volunteers handled the flux pretty well but now its again a mess

  7. Rana (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

    exactly, traffic jams hv bcm painfful, specially all these flyover cnstrction make it worst. those volunteers were useful in som areas bt nt everiwhere………..may b the gvrnmnt cnt afford to cntrl so many vlnteers!!

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