Greg Jordan: Traffic kept getting heavier as we approached West Virginia

Dec. 28—Well, the holiday season is almost over. When Monday arrived, I carried out a Christmas tradition. This tradition involves driving mom home from Charlotte back up to West Virginia.

My sister, Karen, drives up from Charlotte to get mom for our annual Christmas get together. I drove down on Christmas Eve morning and the traffic was surprisingly light. I guess most people braved the Arctic weather last Friday and hurried to their destinations.

I arrived to a full house. Mom was enjoying seeing her grandsons, their girlfriends, Karen's in-laws and then me. We also had three dogs, so it was a rambunctious atmosphere. Mom was ready to come home after a week of Christmas festivities.

Now, I'm not in love with Charlotte's traffic. People around Mercer County might complain sometimes about the bottlenecks we see along Stafford Drive in Princeton, but that rush hour traffic is nothing compared to Charlotte's commuter rush. I timed our departure from Charlotte in order to avoid the morning travelers.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the traffic was light again. A lot of folks were taking Monday off, so that reduced the congestion on the highways; however, that didn't mean I could relax my guard.

There are always drivers out there who are determined to go as fast as possible regardless of the conditions. One guy in a Mustang flew past us and everybody else when we reached I-77. He was weaving in and out of traffic like a NASCAR driver. Basically, he was doing everything possible to get ahead.

The next speedster was in a sports car that must have been 90 percent engine. I could hear it as it roared ahead and even when it was at least a block ahead of us.

We finally passed through Statesville, N.C., which is always an adventure because that stretch of I-77 is always under construction. The signage isn't the greatest. If you aren't playing attention, you'll hit an exit suddenly and you'll be visiting beautiful Statesville whether you like it or not. And then there is the traffic being funneled in from other highways, so you really have to be on your guard.

Traffic gradually became heavier once we got out of Statesville and approached Virginia and the epic climb up Fancy Gap. Fancy Gap has to have one of the most beautiful scenic views in the country, but you can only catch very brief glimpses of it if you're driving. It's too bad there isn't a spot where you can pull off and really enjoy the view, but I don't see where an overlook could be built without shaving away half a mountain.

Fancy Gap is also infamous for its fog. Sometimes you can see only a few feet in front of your vehicle. Bright lights are next to useless then. Mom said she was going through Fancy Gap's fog one time with my Aunt Shirley, and cars were flying past them. The fog was incredibly thick, but there were still these drivers who were absolutely determined to go as fast as possible regardless of the conditions.

We got home, but I kept seeing speeders taking big chances just to get ahead. These stunts included tailgating tractor-trailers, weaving from lane-to-lane and rushing ahead only to suddenly brake because the traffic ahead is too heavy. Traffic kept getting heavier as we approached West Virginia; fortunately, the atmosphere started to relax after we got over the state line. It was a relief to finally pull into mom's driveway and text Karen to let her know we had reached our destination safely. The traditional drive home after Christmas was over.

I'm sure that our holiday journeys will be less stressful if more drivers curbed their impatience and drive as the conditions dictate. We can't always drive the way we do when the weather is clear and there's little traffic on the roads. If we become a little more patient, the drives to and from our destinations will be less stressful and make our holidays more joyful.

Greg Jordan is the Daily Telegraph's senior reporter. Contact him at

Contact Greg Jordan at