Driving in traffic is a daily routine for city dwellers. Without adequate preparation, it can easily become a source of frustration. When you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam, paying careful attention to your surroundings can help you avoid feeling agitated.
Following a few basic safety tips in high-traffic situations is a great way to minimize your risk of accident or injury. When it comes to staying safe in traffic jams, calmness and focus are key. Keep reading to learn about the best ways to protect your vehicle and its occupants during rush hour.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
A big mistake many drivers make in heavy traffic is weaving between lanes to try to move forward more quickly. While this strategy may sometimes pay off, it usually does little more than cause frustration. When a disabled vehicle is blocking one lane of traffic, you have no choice but to go around it. However, as a routine time-saving maneuver, changing lanes is less effective than it may seem. In heavy traffic conditions, the safest bet is to stay in the lane that’s moving at your speed.
When traffic is moving slowly, you may be tempted to drive closely behind to the car in front of you. Tailgating is a potential cause of frustration for the driver behind you, who will see your brake lights flashing constantly as you adjust your speed. Moreover, by keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, you can avoid causing an accident or injury.
In heavy traffic, it pays to be aware of the vehicles around you. Drivers who become frustrated tend to drive more aggressively, creating a higher chance of collision. In stop-and-go traffic, you’ll save wear and tear on your vehicle by braking and accelerating more gradually. This safety strategy can help you avoid angering the drivers around you while improving your vehicle’s fuel economy.
When you’re sitting in traffic, you may be tempted to play games on your smartphone or eat a meal. Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents and personal injury, so it’s critically important to stay focused on the road. The traffic on all sides of you could move in any direction while you’re distracted. To minimize your risk of causing a collision or angering other drivers, it’s important to be aware of the flow of traffic at all times.
Remember the Fundamentals of Defensive Driving
From wearing a seat belt to using a turn signal, observing the basics of defensive driving is a must. When you change lanes, your turn signal can help you create a space in the neighboring lane for your vehicle to go. The drivers in that lane may not want to cooperate, but you’ll make your trip safer and less stressful by signaling before every turn or lane change.
As you drive, you should frequently check your side and rearview mirrors for changes in the traffic around you. Your eyes should pass over each mirror once every 10 seconds, on average, and you should physically turn your head around to check your blind spot before changing lanes. These practices are standard techniques for defensive driving because they effectively reduce the risk of accidents.
Merging with traffic is another maneuver that many drivers struggle to master. Freeway on-ramps offer an acceleration lane for vehicles coming from the feeder road. When you merge with fast-moving freeway traffic, use the entire length of the acceleration lane to bring your vehicle up to speed before changing lanes. Once your vehicle is traveling with the flow of traffic, turn your head to check your blind spot and then merge onto the freeway.
While technology can be a distraction to drivers, it also offers help for planning routes and avoiding traffic. To reap the benefits of your technology without letting it distract you from the road, check traffic and routing apps before you start driving.
Lane changes are a necessary part of driving, but most of the time you should keep your vehicle in one lane. Because the traffic in your neighboring lanes will usually move more quickly or slowly than you, it’s important to stay centered in your lane. While driving at freeway speeds, you can keep your vehicle centered by holding your attention on the lane directly in front of you.
Living in the city offers many benefits and opportunities, but one of the drawbacks is heavy traffic congestion. Although you can’t control how other motorists drive, you can avoid accidents by planning ahead and driving defensively.
Driving safely in traffic will reduce your risk of experiencing a collision or personal injury, but even the safest precautions may not be enough to prevent an accident when another party is negligent. Reach out to a car accident lawyer today if you’ve been injured because of another driver.