One of the greatest problems that Jakarta residents have
to face is dealing with the heavy traffic as we go about our daily activities.
Below are a few hints to help you get the best out of a bad situation.
- Choose the best time to go out - if possible schedule your appointments
to avoiding peak hours, and for office workers an early start will help
you beat the worst of the traffic. You can always eat breakfast at the office!
- If you are going to an unfamiliar destination, check the street directory
and tell your driver the address in advance so that he can plan the
best route in order to avoid the worst traffic jams.
- Ask your driver to tune the radio in to Elshinta (FM 90.05) or Radio
Sonora (FM 100.9) to keep abreast of the latest traffic situation. People
call in to these stations to inform about traffic jams, traffic accidents,
- One key to avoiding traffic is to have a knowledgeable driver. One
who knows the short cuts and alley ways of Jakarta will be able to save
you a lot of time stuck in traffic. Encourage your driver to talk to
other drivers about which routes and shortcuts they take to avoid traffic.
- If you have young children and you are not accompanying them when
your driver is taking them to or from school, have a maid accompany
the children in the car. The person accompanying will be able to address
the children's needs in case the driver has to change a tire or deal
with some other traffic or unforeseen emergency situation. Also, some
families choose to have their children not travel alone with the male
driver, but be accompanied by a female or another female household staff
member at all times.
- Plan to enjoy the time that you spend on the road by keeping some
CDs of your favorite music in the car. There are also books and study
programs such as Indonesian language lessons as well as children's stories
available on audio cassettes. You may even be able to watch a DVD in your car.
- Consider the time that you spend caught in traffic as an opportunity
to make some phone calls from your handphone or even do some work on your laptop. Be
aware, however, that handphone theft from cars stopped at traffic lights does occur, so it's best to only use your phone while the
car is moving.
- If you like to read in the car, keep a variety of magazines or books
in the seat pocket to fill in your time. Many use the morning commute
to read the newspaper as well.
- Consider the time that you spend in a traffic jam as an opportunity
to relax, meditate, plan your day, or even to take a nap, especially on the drive home in the event after a long day's work.
- Always keep a supply of water or other drinks in the car. It's a good
idea to have an insulated cooler bag to keep drinks cool and to bring
along some snacks or fruit for your children.
- If you have a baby, keep a supply of bottled baby food, some diapers
and wet tissues in the car, and for older children some books or toys.
- Make your car as comfortable as you can with extra cushions, a light blanket or a reading
light in the back seat.
- Rather than leave from home in the midst of daily traffic hours, leave
early and stop by a fitness center that is near your office for your
- If you're going to a meeting or social function, consider car pooling
with a friend so that you can visit along the way.
- Another good way to help pass the time is to communicate with your
driver. Talking helps a fatigued taxi driver stay awake if he's nearing
the end of a 16-hour shift. Communicating with the driver can also help
you to learn more Indonesian or even his thoughts on the political situation,
police corruption and various current events.
- If you're running really late for something really important and are
stuck in gridlock traffic (and it's not raining) - simply get out of
the car or cab and get an ojek to beat the traffic.
- If all else fails and the traffic is just not moving, rather than
sitting in the car fuming over the lost time, why not pull in to the
nearest beauty salon and have a relaxing massage, crème bath
or manicure for a couple of hours, or the nearest pub and have a few
rounds before facing up to the traffic again, with a bit of luck it
may even be moving at a faster pace by the time you are done!
An interesting site for traffic reports: Lewat Mana
For information on security-related issues of driving in your car, see Security at Home and Around Town.
Our thanks to Colliers
International for their help with this article!