Carmageddon: A Sociological Experiment

Hyperbole is the greatest idea we as humanity ever came up with.

Sax Carrby Sax Carr

I have a confession to make. I don't want anyone to get mad at me, because it all turned out pretty well for everyone, but Carmageddon was my idea. It was a sociological experiment on the denizens of Los Angeles, and it worked like a god damned charm. But more on that later. First, a brief explanation of the situation for those who a) don't live in LA or b) don't give a rats ass about us snooty coastal types.

The 405 is a very important highway in Los Angeles. So important that when the government said they were closing it for two days, the entire collective population of LA shit one brick each. For weeks, people were discussing how they were preparing for Carmageddon, the alleged worst weekend for traffic in the history of the world. It was supposed to be worse than New York at rush hour when the President is in town. If you left your house last weekend, the news promised that you would die of old age in your car. That is not what happened.

No way. The news? Was WRONG? I call shenanigans.

Now, if you've never driven in LA, I'm sure you've heard stories. Traffic is bad here, but the drivers are way, way worse. However, there is an explanation for it, and as someone who spends much of his time narrowly avoiding death on the post-apocalyptic roadway of doom known as Sunset Blvd, I have thought about it extensively.

90% of people are bad at things. All the time. I grew up in New York, where about 15% of the population drives. That means that the 10% of good drivers are out, and we have half as many bad drivers. In Los Angeles, everyone drives, because everywhere you want to go is usually at least five miles from where you are. That means we still have the 10% of people who can drive, but we also have the 90% who can't.

I'm not sure exactly what the statistics are, but I know Los Angeles has a very statistically high number of car accidents. This is because that 90% of bad drivers don't want to get into accidents. Seems counter-intuitive? Well, you also have to remember that every person who lives in LA, including myself, are self-absorbed assholes. So they're driving down the road too fast, trying to get to their very important destination. They see another car that they might run into, and this is the thought process:

"Well, I don't want to get into an accident, but neither do they. So if I keep going like I am, they will surely compensate so we don't collide"

The problem is, like I said, 90% of the population is thinking this simultaneously. It's like a constant game of chicken. As a result, I see approximately three accidents a week. And I'm at home most of the time.

It's basically just this, with more yelling and hospitals.

So, why is this relevant? Well, I had a theory a few months ago. I was stuck in traffic, and thought "Hey, everyone hates traffic just as much as me. So what if I made everyone think that traffic would be really bad… nobody would drive!" Yet again, I turn to hyperbole to solve my problems. It… it's my only friend.

A few weeks later, after I had come up with a perfect plan, I went to the LA Department of Traffic and Vehicular Warfare (or whatever it's called, I don't really care), and proposed "Carmageddon." A sociological experiment to see if hyperbole would clear the streets of LA and make them safe for driving once again. And I gotta tell you, it worked. The streets were empty for two whole days, until everyone caught on about 6pm Sunday. Then it was congested as shit.

But the point is, it totally worked. People were so afraid of traffic that it stopped existing. Because traffic is a man-made construct, and if we don't let it exist, it won't. So, now that Carmageddon is over, and everyone is safe and sound, let's see what we can learn from this.

1) Los Angeles is not innately full of traffic. It's the people that cause it.

2) Getting places in LA takes no time at all when there's no traffic. At all.

3) Fear is a fantastic motivational tool.

So here's my plan. Carmageddon is played out, so I just need more different ways to scare Los Angeleans into not driving, so I can get places quicker and not fear for my life. I'm thinking of declaring a fake parade down Hollywood Blvd, or some sort of citywide bomb scare. I'm glad to take suggestions, but we've got to work quickly. I've got a doctors appointment next weekend at like 10am, and there's no way I'm waking up before 9:30.