Why crash rubberneckers are to blame for M1 traffic
THOMAS Mills battles the M1 to Brisbane every day.
And he is clearly not alone.
Five days a week he leaves his Nerang home at 5.30am and is met with at least half an hour of traffic time, arterial bottlenecks and what he calls "ghost traffic" - traffic without an obvious source.
"The trip varies from one-and-a-half hours to two hours and I leave early," he said.
"At the end of the day, if you want to get home within an hour, you need to leave by 2pm. It takes two hours minimum if you leave after that time.
"I've seen so many crashes over the years, but the traffic build-up is from rubberneckers. Even after the accident has cleared, people slow down to have a look.
"As soon as there is an accident, the M1 shuts down."
Those accidents range from small prangs to the tragedies that make the headlines, like almost being taken out by a bus.
"I've had a bus do a full 180 in front of me," Mr Mills recalled.
"I can't even explain what happened.
"I think it might have bounced off the guard rail and then all of a sudden it was coming over to my lane.
"I slammed on the brakes and next thing I know he'd lost control and was facing the wrong way.
"But the smallest thing can cause an accident - slamming on the brakes can mean a five-car pile up."
Spending a minimum of three hours every working day on the road, a total of at least 15 hours a week and 60 hours a month, takes its toll, Mr Mills says.
After sitting in traffic for so long, the last thing he wants to do is exercise or cook a healthy meal and if he wants to get a decent night's sleep, he needs to hit the hay not long after he gets home.
"It takes three hours out of my personal life every day. If we've got a job on the north side sometimes it's Two-and-a-half hours home," he said.
"I've got a gym membership I never use. You get home just physically and emotionally drained. The last thing you want to do is throw on shoes and go for a run.
"And that drifts over to cooking dinner. It's quicker to go through the Maccas drive through.
"There's really not that much time left before you go to bed and get up at 5am again."