January 5th, 2015
Getting stuck in traffic is never an enjoyable experience, and poor road conditions can bring out the worst in some drivers. Despite the hassle and time it takes to get through a traffic jam, don't let your anger get the best of you. It's always best to stick to safe-driving techniques and be aware of other vehicles around you. In most cases, there is a reason cars are going slower. There may be a severe accident ahead or perhaps construction is taking place, in which case there's nothing anyone can do to speed up the process.
Drivers are sometimes tempted to honk their horns or drive more aggressively in these instances, usually to no avail. Not only can you incur fines and tickets, but you could also get into a wreck yourself. If your goal is to get to work on time, then you don't need another accident. Further, while you're losing time, you'll also be losing money. In the event of a crash, you could get stuck with higher insurance rates and out-of-pocket repair costs.
Though many traffic jams are unavoidable, your response to them is totally controllable. So keep in mind these tips when driving:
Everyone understands you are frustrated, but so is every other driver on the road. Expect long delays and prepare ahead of time so that you're in the right mindset to deal with slow-moving traffic. Not only will you have to drive slower, but also you'll have to deal with other people's behaviors. Keep your car at a steady pace and don't drive erratically.
Don't ignore the road
Just because you're moving more slowly doesn't mean it's warranted to take your eyes off the road. You may take this time to eat a small snack or make a phone call, but these actions only take your focus away from driving and can add to confusion and mistakes. Maintain your composure and don't let your guard down. Instead, keep you hands on the wheel and accelerate slowly when the time comes.
One of the biggest problems with being stuck in traffic is that you could need to exit soon but are stuck on the other side of the highway. Switching lanes when there's no room to move and no one willing to let you in can be particularly nightmarish. That's why it's important to signal early and make it well known that you intend to merge into a different lane. Wait for an opening and make your move decisively, or else you could be stuck in between lanes with a line of irate drivers behind you. With everyone in a hurry, lane changes can be a difficult task.
Keep your distance
When everyone is bunched up on the road, it's still best to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. You can anticipate abrupt stops due to hazards ahead and drivers changing lanes. Also, people tend to pay less attention to the road at slower speeds, so you may have to slam on the brakes quickly. If you get too close, you could end up rear-ending another car, which will make things worse.
Look for detours
Scan the radio when you begin your commute because there could already be scheduled construction occurring or a pileup present before you leave the house. This can help you avoid a traffic jam. Additionally, if you get stuck in a long line, it could be better to simply take the first exit you see and find an alternate route. Even though it's not your exit, you could bypass all of the congestion by driving a few miles out of the way.
Make sure your car insurance is up to date before you hit the road this winter.
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