ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
36°
Broken Clouds
H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    36°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 51° L 44°
  • rain-day
    48°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Evening
    Cloudy. H 51° L 44°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Gridlock Guy: When traffic is stopped and you need to go
Close

Gridlock Guy: When traffic is stopped and you need to go

Have you ever wondered how much time on average you spend in traffic a year? Do you think your commute is bad? Check out the worst in the country.

Gridlock Guy: When traffic is stopped and you need to go

This is a scenario that often unfolds in the hours of gridlock that thousands happen upon in holiday travel. I-75 on the south side, for example, may have bumper-to-bumper traffic in either direction for 20 miles. There may not even be a cause for the jam, but traffic is sitting still. Suddenly, that Cracker Barrel sweet tea follows gravity’s nudge and lands at the end of the line. You’re miles away from the next exit and traffic still hasn’t moved.

» RELATED: Gridlock Guy: If you play the traffic blame game, play it right

This may seem like an elementary problem that requires a simple solution. Most people would say to hold it or to pull over and go. But neither choice is that simple.

First, waiting to relieve one’s self is only a true option if there is an end to the traffic jam in sight. But despite the niftiness of “ETA” features on GPS apps and devices, those fly out of the window when a freeway is completely shut down. Just last Wednesday, a tractor trailer fire and ensuing cleanup shut down almost all of I-75/southbound in Spalding County for hours. This hullabaloo in the middle of the post-Christmas exodus created more than two-hour delays. It also created bad enough northbound delays that a total stranger Facebooked me to tell me that people were in fact pulling over to use the woods.

Even though I-75/northbound was open and technically southbound had one lane open, people had no idea when they would reach the next exit with bathrooms. And the further one gets from Metro Atlanta, the longer the distances are between exits. But before bonding with nature, there are a few things to consider.

First, most states and cities have some form of public indecency laws. People have gotten popped with tickets and even felonies for public urination in the wrong places. So if nature calls with urgency, people should make an effort to get as far out of view as possible. The best bet is to try to get to the woods. But if this conundrum occurs in an area not near some natural partitions, antsy motorists must make some sort of effort to cover themselves.

People often have a fellow passenger hold up a blanket or towel and use the car door as another barrier. Not taking this effort is not only inconsiderate to those also stuck in the mess, but it could subject the lazy urinator to a ticket. Remember that whole indecency thing?

» RELATED: SEE: Man busts a move during traffic jam, entertaining drivers with his dance moves

Several years ago, a listener called me in the WSB Traffic Center, while stuck in a horrible holiday backup on I-85 northeast of town. The poor woman was in tears, because she really had to pee and was more than a mile away from an exit and not moving. I felt awful for her and admittedly had never taken a call about this kind of predicament. She asked if she could drive for a mile on the shoulder up to the exit or try and call the police to escort her down the shoulder. She really had to go.

I told her that she was far more suited to try and pull over and go in the woods. Driving in the emergency lanes is for true emergencies. Someone driving a woman in labor to the hospital is an emergency. Rescue units rushing to a crash scene is an emergency. Emptying 20 ounces of Starbucks from one’s bladder is not. And when one car drives in the emergency lane, it invites others to do so and blocks the lane from being used for true emergencies. Don’t do that.

Truckers often use empty bottles, so they do not have to pull over on long trips. I advise against this also. For one, this really only works for men. That aside, truckers are above others in traffic, so no one can see them do their business. A motorist in a regular vehicle may not cover all of their privacy bases, if they try to relieve themselves in a bottle. And then people are prone to chucking these “pee bombs” out of the window and creating nasty litter. Imagine picking these up. Gross.

This thought exercise here should at least remind us all to be prepared. Keep napkins and hand sanitizer in the car, along with some snacks and water, in case a traffic RED ALERT gets us helplessly stuck. And if nature calls for desperate measures, we should execute those maneuvers with as much modesty and consideration as possible. Yes, safely pull over and go. No, don’t throw bottles out of windows or drive on the shoulders to find an exit. Happy travels and Happy New Year. 

» RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Minimizing dog distractions behind the wheel

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.

Read More

News

  • Maine's giant spinning ice disk that quickly gained international fame seems to have met its end. The formation in the Presumpscot River in Greater Portland stopped rotating Wednesday, two days after a video of its mesmerizing movement was widely shared on social media. The roughly 100-yard (91-meter) wide disk is lodged against the river's edge, preventing it from moving. Meteorologist Ryan Breton tells the Portland Press Herald if the disk freezes into place, 'that might be the end of it.' The ice formation is believed to have formed naturally where there's a circular current that creates a whirlpool effect. Social media users compared it to an alien spacecraft and the moon, and ducks used it as a big raft.
  • A star athlete at a high school in Douglas County, Georgia, is being held in jail without bond after police arrested him on murder charges. >> Watch the news report here Police arrested Jalen Morgan, 17, on the Alexander High School campus last week because they said he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder in May of last year. Investigators said seven people were involved, and Morgan, along with his cousin LeAndrea Morgan, acted as the lookouts for the crime. “Two of these individuals had pre-existing issues with each other, and they showed up in an attempt to commit this act,” said Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. WSB-TV’s Tyisha Fernandes learned that the intended target for the crime was not the person shot and killed. The documents say that during the robbery, one of the suspects fired a shot at the intended target – Kenneth McClary – but McClary shot back and killed the suspect. Now, all seven suspects are being held in jail without bond. >> Read more news stories  Police arrested the suspects just a few weeks after the slaying, and last week they arrested the Morgan cousins. They've wrapped the case. “These last two were the last two that they expect, and they’re ready to move forward from there,” Hambrick said. Each suspect is facing several charges, and one is accused of being a gang member. Investigators said he's part of the Bloods. They're saying he committed the crime with the intent to maintain and increase his status as a known gang member.
  • Crews are on site this morning to repair damage caused by a MARTA train derailment.  The derailed cars are still stuck on the tracks more than a day after the accident.  MARTA officials say two cars on an out-of-service train derailed around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the airport station, causing train service to stop on the red and gold lines. No passengers were on board and the rail operator was not hurt.  We're at the scene as crews prepare to bring in a giant crane to the scene and we'll have the impact for travelers, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Passengers trying to get to the airport must get off at the College Park station, where a shuttle train and buses are taking people back and forth. The agency is investigating what caused the issue. TRENDING STORIES: Forsyth County man charged with plot to attack White House, FBI says High school football star arrested at school on murder charges Boy suspended for unintentionally using counterfeit money in lunch line
  • A Tennessee schoolteacher is accused of sex crimes involving a teen. >> Watch the news report here Jasmine Edmond, 24, was arrested Monday. She is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure. Edmond, who is a teacher at Power Center Academy High School in Memphis, began working at the school in August 2018, according to a letter sent to parents. She taught several different math classes. The alleged incident happened in November 2017, prior to Edmond’s employment with PCA High. She was employed by Shelby County Schools at the time, according to the letter, which was written by PCA High Principal Antonio Ryan. >> On Fox13Memphis.com: Man accused of attacking woman he forcibly held into prostitution, police say Ryan said the school completed a background check on Edmond, but it didn’t show anything about the alleged crime. Edmond is accused of engaging in sexual contact with someone between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the unlawful sexual contact, she 'had supervisory power over (the victim) by virtue of her occupational status and used the power to accomplish sexual contact,' according to the indictment. Edmond was released from jail on bond. WHBQ reached out to both Gestalt Community Schools – which operates PCA High – and Shelby County Schools for comment.  SCS confirmed Edmond was placed on administrative leave on March 27, 2018, to conduct an investigation into the allegations. She did not return to the district.  >> Read more news stories  Below is the statement given by SCS officials regarding her arrest: 'Following the reported allegations, the employee was placed on administrative leave on March 27 so that the District and law enforcement could conduct a thorough investigation. This is standard District procedure. The employee did not return to the school for the remainder of the year and is no longer employed by the District.' Gestalt Community Schools also responded with the following statement: 'We were shocked and disappointed when Jasmine Edmond was arrested. She was a new teacher at Power Center Academy, and we performed a thorough background check last summer, which showed no indication of such behavior. She is currently on administrative leave from Gestalt Community Schools pending further investigation. Although we have no knowledge at this time that her behavior impacted any of our scholars, we are doing our own internal due diligence. We will fully assist the Memphis Police Department with their investigation.' Read more here.
  • Phoenix police are looking for answers after a dead newborn baby was discovered at an Amazon fulfillment center Wednesday. According to KTVK, the body was found about 8:30 p.m. in a women's bathroom at the facility on West Lower Buckeye Road, authorities said. Officials said the baby was inside a garbage can, KNXV reported. >> Read more news stories  Amazon called the incident 'terribly sad and tragic' in a statement. 'We are working with local authorities to support their investigation,' the statement read, according to KTVK. 'The safety and wellness of our team is our top priority.' Read more here or here.
  • With the federal minimum wage of $7.25 cents an hour unchanged for ten years, Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a plan in Congress to more than double that pay rate over a six year period, arguing it’s past time for lawmakers to make it easier for working Americans to earn enough money to support their families. “President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers – we Democrats will,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said to cheers at a U.S. Capitol news conference. “No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who will lead the charge for a higher minimum wage in the House as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'No American working full time should be living in poverty,' House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said when introducing legislation to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15. The last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was in 2007. pic.twitter.com/nypZl0CX7L — POLITICO (@politico) January 16, 2019 “Increasing the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “I believe this legislation would provide a boost to businesses and the broader economy.” While the Congress has not touched the minimum wage since Democrats pushed through an increase in 2007, individual states have taken a different approach, as now 29 states have a higher minimum wage than the feds. Just last year, voters in Missouri approved raising the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2023; Arkansas voters approved a minimum wage going up to $11 by 2021. “The last time we were in charge, one of the first things we did was raise the minimum wage,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), referring to a 2007 law approved by a Democratic Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. “It was not enough then,” Hoyer said of the $7.25 per hour federal wage. “It is clearly not enough now.” The $15 per hour wage – known by some groups as the “Fight for 15” – certainly has a good chance at getting through the House, now that Democrats in charge; but it faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate. Our #FightFor15 Sisters and Brothers welcoming members of Congress to this afternoon's announcement of the #RaiseTheWage Act of 2019. pic.twitter.com/rza7EjsAfP — Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) January 16, 2019 “A living wage for all workers helps business, families, and the economy,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). “The steady increase is good for workers, good for business, and good for the economy,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). “No American working full time should live in poverty.” A section-by-section review of the bill can be found here. The actual legislative text is here.