Did you know that according to Nationwide, the average urban commuter is stuck in traffic for 34 hours every year? While bumper-to-bumper traffic can feel maddening—especially when you have somewhere to be— it’s important not to lose your cool!
Driving safely in heavy traffic requires drivers to stay calm and alert. Without a level head during serious traffic jams, the risk of rear-end collisions and other accidents becomes amplified. Kick your road rage to the curb and keep reading to learn our best practices for driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Driving through a congested roadway requires a certain level of patience. Speeding, swerving in and out of lanes, and honking your horn won’t do anything to relieve a traffic jam—it will just aggravate and endanger yourself and others.
Instead of letting yourself become enraged by the inconvenience of a traffic jam, try to reframe your thinking and view this as a chance to slow down. We suggest taking some deep breaths, turning on a calming playlist, or even turning the volume all the way down if you’re feeling overstimulated.
Sharing is Caring
Sharing the road is everyone’s responsibility and critical during heavy traffic. Slow down to allow other drivers to merge into your lane. There’s no such thing as racing through a traffic jam! Things will go smoother when we remember to be considerate of others.
There’s no room for distractions when driving, especially when it comes to bumper-to-bumper traffic. Just because traffic is moving slowly or stopped momentarily doesn’t mean it’s a good time to take calls, text, scroll through social media, or check your email. Instead, you must keep your eyes on the road at all times to keep traffic moving and spot any potential dangers.
Keep Your Distance
While getting as close to the car in front of you as possible during a traffic jam may seem helpful, this isn’t necessarily the safest driving practice. It’s best to leave a generous amount of space, so you don’t constantly have to slam on your breaks.
A good rule of thumb for stop-and-go traffic is to leave enough space so you can see the back tires of the car in front of you. And once traffic starts moving, you’ll want to ensure you’re staying at least a car length between you and the vehicle in front of you. Keeping your distance will make it easier to look out for brake lights and avoid collisions.
Proceed With Caution
If you’re stuck in seemingly never-ending traffic, it can be easy to go on autopilot and lose concentration. Stay focused and remember that one of the biggest dangers in traffic jams is lack of visibility. With so many vehicles on the road, it can be easy to forget to check a blind spot.
Before merging or switching lanes, turn on your turn signal, check all your mirrors, and take the extra second to look over your shoulder to avoid an accident. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, it’s much easier for collisions to have a domino effect and make traffic much worse, so make sure you practice caution!
Safer Driving With CIESC’s Driver Ed
At CIESC Driver Ed Safety, we provide high-quality driver education and traffic safety programs for Indiana students. Reach out today to learn more about how we can serve you!