Beating the Rush: How to Best Navigate a Traffic Jam

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Crash & Burn: Life in the Fastlane, Defensive Driving Online, Driving and Safety Tips, Everyday Driver

 
traffic
 
Driving is an efficient way to get from one place to another, but sometimes traffic takes ahold, and it becomes more frustrating than pleasant. Traffic jams are a fact of life on the road, but that does not mean that we have to always accept them. We put together some of the best ways to avoid or navigate a traffic jam. For more tips, check out our Rush Hour Traffic Cheat Sheet.

avoiding traffic jams

The best way to navigate a traffic jam is obviously to avoid one in the first place, wherever possible. The best way to do this is to:

–Check the roads before you leave. A lot of state departments of transportation have websites that you can check for traffic conditions, or your can use Google Maps on your phone.
–Map out your route before you leave. If you see that there is traffic ahead, map out an alternative before you leave, using back roads.
–Leave plenty of time. Sometimes traffic jams are simply unavoidable, and leaving sufficient time to get to your destination with traffic will help ease your mind.
–Look into other travel options. If public transport is available, or walking is an option, take it.

during traffic jams

Sometimes, however, traffic jams are simply unavoidable. Here are some of the best ways to navigate a traffic jam when you find yourself in one.

–Keep calm and accept your situation. Sitting in traffic can be frustrating, but it’ll be even worse if you let yourself get upset or flustered. Especially as you usually cannot actually do anything about it.
–Look for opportunities for alternate routes. If you use a navigation app, they can sometimes redirect you around the traffic. Or if you know the area, look for other ways around the jam.
–Stay in your lane. It is always tempting to look over and wish you were in the lane next to yours that always seems to be traveling faster. However, traffic will start moving quicker if everyone stays in their lane. Switching constantly might give the illusion of moving faster, but in reality it won’t really help.
–Keep a safe distance from the car in front. Again, it might help you feel like you are making progress to constantly scoot up to the car in front, but congested traffic stops and starts suddenly, making it dangerous to drive too closely.
 
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