Despite high fuel prices, we're still spending more time in bumper-to-bumper traffic than ever before. For reasons ranging from poor infrastructure upgrades to a lack of synchronized lights, Americans are spending increasingly more time in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Although high fuel prices may be blunting further increases, congestion is still a problem. Currently, most people occupy themselves by chatting with their passengers or observing traffic. Boring. It's a shame to let a good minute of one's life go to waste when there's so much more we could be doing. Hit the jump for our list of the ten best ways to spend time stopped at the light, then vote for your favorite or give us your own in the comments below.
10. Get Into A Drag Race
The stoplight is the best place to get into an impromptu drag race, whether with a couple of guys who can only speak like Howard Cosell or with a random driver. Just line your car's front end up with theirs , rev your engine and give your opponent your best "let's do this" face. Remember, if you want to win, try following the Jalopnik Guide To Drag Racing.
9. Do A Chinese Fire Drill
The boredom that comes with waiting at a light plus the boredom that is being a teenager in the suburbs equals the Chinese Fire Drill. For those who haven't played this game, it involves every passenger in the car swapping seats before the light turns green. Just remember not to lock yourself out, or else you'll be in your very own episode of Full House. Yeah, the one where you learn that always-important lesson about responsibility. Don't worry, just remember to tell Uncle Jesse — he won't rat you out. [Photo Credit: Edmunds]
8. Adjust Your Radio So As To Not Accidentally Run Over A Family
There's a popular driver's ed video that shows a young girl fiddling with the radio only to look up and see a family just in time to run them all over. Though it was hard not to giggle at the time, it's obvious nobody wants to be on the other side of that. That fictional murderer only had a tape deck to adjust. Consider that you've now got your iPod playlist to make, email to send, GPS to browse, text message to send and conference call to schedule. Probably better to accomplish that while standing still. And if traffic begins to move ahead of you, don't worry — the person behind you is always there to give you a friendly honk as a reminder to get moving again.
7. Get Rear-Ended, Get A New Car
Want to trade in that Excursion for a Prius but because of the low trade-in value, the math doesn't make sense? Circle stoplights long enough with an excessive use of the brake and you're bound to take one right in the rear end. It's a quick way to a whiplash lawsuit and a brand new car! [Photo: StealthG20]
6. Watch The Directors Cut Of Lawrence Of Arabia One Minute At A Time
It's quite illegal to watch a DVD while driving. That being said, there's little chance of getting into an accident while standing still so why not use that time to improve your knowledge of film history. Assuming you wait one minute per stoplight, you could knock out Lawrence of Arabia in just 227 lights.
5. Get Your Tires Replaced By A Pit Crew
A great way to chop basic vehicular maintenance from your monthly check-list is to take care of basic upkeep when stuck at a light. Imagine being able to rotate or replace the tires, top off the tank and get a drink of water in just a few seconds. All you need is your very own highly-trained pit crew team. Yeah, we don't know where to get one either, although we hear you might be able to snag a couple of F1 crew teams in the near future.
4. Prepare A Delicious Meal
If you live in a warm climate, and your engine runs a bit hot, why not put it to good use by helping you prepare a delicious snack. For starters, lay out a pan with foil on your engine block and cover with any number of vegetables and meats and let your engine do the work. Don't have A/C? It's even easier — drop the pan with foil right on to your dash and add dollops of cookie batter. At each stoplight, just wait until they begin to brown, scoop them up and drop the finished treats into tupperware. Do not combine with step ten unless you want a lap full of burning snickerdoodle. [Photo: 360Digest]
3. Work On Your Novel
In order to finish a 50,000 word novel in a month you'll have to write approximately 1,667 words a day. It ain't easy. Why not knock out a few words while sitting at the light. Before you know it you'll have completed that alternate history answering the question: What would happen if the man who invented the Pringles can had never been born?
2. Frantically Apply Your Registration Sticker While Nervously Eying The Police Car Stopped Behind You
There's nothing worse than realizing you've left the new inspection sticker for your car in the glovebox just as a police officer pulls up behind you. Get popped on the way home from that organic grocery store you love and you might have to explain the fifteen ounces of oregano in a bag in your back seat. Just make it easy on yourself and stick the new one above the old one and quickly scratch off the rest with a set of keys. [Photo Plateshack]
Now it's time for you to answer the question, either with the poll below or in the comments.