Heavy traffic can be one of the most frustrating aspects of driving. It usually happens around the time people head in to work and when they go back home, however it might also happen when there’s a crash and before a big holiday. Avoiding traffic congestion is not only wise, it will also get you to your destination more quickly and dissolve some of the anxiety involved. Obtaining the cheapest car insurance that saves you money and keeps you covered in traffic congestion will also help you manage the stress.
Rush hour traffic, before and after a holiday, and bad weather can all create congestion that you can anticipate. When you are thinking about your day ahead or planning a road trip, keep these things in mind to minimize having to drive in heavy traffic:
- Road Construction. Just when the nice weather comes around – yep – road construction creeps up and creates detours and delays everywhere you go. For regular daily travel, keep tabs of where the road construction is so you can take a different route. For longer drives there are apps such as Waze that will keep you alerted of upcoming road construction delays.
- Winter is notoriously bad for driving, so if at all possible, avoid those long trips. Prepare yourself for the weather by regularly checking weather conditions. Rain, snow and fog can all lead to traffic backups.
- Rush Hour. The term ‘rush hour’ is a bit of a contradiction. During the hours of 6-10AM and 3-7PM is generally considered ‘rush hour’ but there’s certainly no rushing going on. It refers to the volume of traffic and if you can, choose a different time of day for your errands.
- Everything from a high school football game to a festival or concert at the city stadium can create heavy traffic congestion that prohibits you from getting to where you need to go.
While all of the techniques listed here are appropriate driving strategies any time you get behind the wheel, they should especially be adhered to during traffic congestion.
- Stay in Your Lane. Constantly attempting to cross into lanes that you think are moving more quickly than yours can create frustration and are a danger. If you’re weaving in and out of lanes during heavy traffic you’re creating an increased opportunity for a crash. Stay in your lane until you have a real reason to change.
- Use Your Turn Signals. Drivers who fail to use their indicators are placing themselves and everyone on the road with them at risk. It’s important to let other drivers know your intentions so they can slow down and let you in and so they can determine their own actions. Generally, put on your blinker 5 seconds ahead of your movement.
- Slow Down. When there are more cars on the road, there will be a greater potential for a crash. Slowing down just makes sense. Be on the lookout for others who are not doing the same, so you can anticipate your actions in time.
- Avoid Distractions. Even though it might be tempting when you’re sitting in traffic that has come to a standstill – avoid texting. It’s illegal and just because you’re moving slower doesn’t mean it’s not any less dangerous. On average, text messages distract you for 5 seconds, easily enough time to send you into the car in front of you.
Expecting the unexpected means you’ll be able to anticipate issues that arise on the road. You can be as safe as possible but that doesn’t mean your fellow drivers will be, too.
- Stay Calm. When you run into unexpected road congestion it means you’ll be late for something. Work, class, lunch with a friend – it can be frustrating. But, getting angry while behind the wheel can lead to aggressive driving, putting you in a position to make reckless choices you could regret.
- Be Prepared. Now is the time to pull out the audio book you’ve been meaning to listen to or tune into a peaceful music station. Regulate your breathing by taking 3 deep breaths at a time to calm your mind and your nervous system.
- Take a Break. While this might not always be possible, if you’re able to pull off an exit and stretch your legs, you’ll be able to handle the rest of the heavy congestion with a little more patience.
Heavy traffic is part of everyday life but that doesn’t mean it must always put a major crimp in your day. Knowing the causes and also what you can do when you find yourself stuck will help the time pass and move you safely on to your destination.