Everybody knows the feeling: you're cruising along on a route you know well. One where the length of the journey is something you take for granted. There's no way you'll be late to that birthday dinner, it's a 10-minute drive every time, unless—unless there's a road closure. You stare at the sign in disbelief. Closed? They can't just close it. How I am supposed to get where I need to go? That means it's detour time. And it's usually not fun.
The same thing goes for lane closures. You sometimes don't realize a lane is closed until it's too late to change your route, and then you have to sit there and wait as traffic slowly makes its way through the tightened channel. So, is there really anything else to say? Lane and road closures are frustrating, for sure. But there a few key facts about these closures that might make you see them in a different light.
1. They're essential — and they are there for your safety and eventual efficiency.
When a road or lane is closed, it's often for a construction project of some kind. Whether it's a road widening, road maintenance or repair, or the introduction of a new traffic pattern, these projects are ultimately intended to make your drive safer and easier. Sure, it's inconvenient in the moment, but it's a temporary inconvenience; and it will in all likelihood pay off for you, and other drivers, in the long run.
2. Lane and road closures don't happen by accident.
Organizations and governments don't just up and decide to close lanes and roads. There are extensive DOT regulations in place governing the closure of lanes and roads for projects, and these regulations have been designed to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including you. The services involved in road and lane closures, such as traffic flagging, are provided by trained professionals, not just a few random people holding signs. When you see a closure, know that it is being managed according to these regulations, and it was likely set up to occur in the window least likely to cause disruption, even if it happens to disrupt you. The exception, of course, is catastrophic infrastructure failures such as bridge or road collapses. In that case, all the DOT and traffic management companies can do is respond as best they can to a difficult situation.
3. Lane and road closures are temporary.
While it may be frustrating to deal with a closure in the moment, it's important to bear in mind that it's not the permanent state of things. Typically, it's a minor inconvenience. Rather than feeding into a negative mindset where every delay is upsetting, take some time on your alternate route to spot a restaurant you haven't been to before, make note of a park or attraction, or see if maybe there's a cool shortcut you can check out.
Above all, remember that road and lane closures are essential, managed by professionals, and almost always in place for a good reason. It's all part of making sure the traffic system serves you, the driver.