Locals, visitors say patience key when driving during Masters

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, April 1, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Driving during Masters week can be a nightmare and this year is no different. The Masters Tournament means more cars on the road and that means more chances for people to break the rules.

Lots of patience and a good sense of humor - is one man's recipe for sanity during the week. "Stephen" from www.totaltickets.com says the secret is staying calm.

Riding along Washington road you will notice some drivers weaving in and out of traffic, bobbling behind the wheel and making quick turns. Some of the drivers will not signal at all when they are turning. However, that is just everyday traffic in Augusta and there is sure to be more of it during masters week.

"There's always going to be accidents," says Stephen. "It is mostly just fender benders where they're driving too fast and traffic all of a sudden stops."

Washington Road is the main drag and it is where Stephen sits. His business, totaltickets.com, is located in the same spot each year during the tournament.

"We got your badges, we got your practice round tickets, so look us up," he said.

Stephen's tent is just inches away from traffic along Washington Road. He says there is no other spot he'd rather have, but sometimes it can get a little dangerous. Speeders, however, are not to blame.

"Just like yesterday I was sitting in the lawn chair right here and a guy threw a bottle cap at me and hit me with a bottle cap, I mean how crazy is that?" he said.

It may have been a crazy move, but Stephen says he has no hard feelings.

"You can't get mad," he added."You have to let that pass because somebody out there is having a hard time or a bad day."

Someone who won't be having a hard time during Masters week is Michael Parks. Parks lives in the backdoor of Augusta National and has had the chance to see the traffic preparation and transformation. He says hopefully there won't be any traffic issues because all the signs help point drivers in the right direction.

"I think it is clearly marked," said Parks.

Stephen, who is looking forward to more ticket sales as soon as the tournament starts. He says the faithful golf lovers will be patient and take their time as they endure the traffic problems.For the rest of the folks out there he leaves this advice.

"Remember that we're supposed to be helpful and not harmful," said Stephen. "Be cautious out there, keep your eyes on the road and keep it between the lines."

Each year dozens of traffic tickets are written for drivers and pedestrians. There are also cameras being utilized along Washington Road. Traffic officials have used a series of cameras to monitor Masters traffic in the past to tweak the timing of traffic lights, but this year the cameras will allow patrons to check the traffic online before they head to the course.

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