Heavy Traffic: Do's And Don'ts When Stuck In Traffic

By Omid

If you're still new to driving or just started taking driving lessons, driving in heavy traffic can be intimidating. But don’t worry. It's something that you will get used to. Some drivers may be impatient and drive recklessly on the road. So watch out for these types of situations. 

Here are some tips on what you should and shouldn't do when driving in heavy traffic. 

Driving in heavy traffic can be frustrating due to various reasons. It can be because of your long, tiring day at work, the scorching heat of the sun, or drivers cutting in and out of your lane. 

Here's what you should not do when driving in heavy traffic:

  • Frequently merge from lane to lane whenever there's an opening.
  • Blocking other drivers who are trying to merge or enter a highway.
  • Tailgating - getting too close to other vehicles.
  • Distracted driving - using phone or loud music.

When driving, you should consider other drivers and avoid doing these mistakes to avoid accidents on the road. Listed below are things you should do when in heavy traffic. If you apply these tips, you'll be able to avoid trouble and reduce stress when stuck in a traffic jam. 

  1. Slow down. It is expected for vehicles to move slowly in heavy traffic. But you should remember to reduce your speed. By doing so, you'll be able to avoid a sudden collision.
  2. Keep your distance. Make sure you maintain about a 2-second gap between you and the vehicle in front. This will give you enough time to react in case you need to perform any evasive manoeuvres.
  3. Stick to one lane. I know you want to get through the traffic fast. And so you're zipping through every lane that has an opening. Doing this can be dangerous and will not make that much progress in your travel. It can even cause more delays in traffic since other drivers will have to slow down for you. You can choose the centre-most lane so you won’t need to merge through traffic to make an exit. 
  4. Remain calm. Driving through a traffic jam can really test how long you can hold your patience. Sad to say, some drivers aren't successful at this and drive carelessly due to anger or frustration. Road rage is not the solution to getting out of traffic. Remember to stay calm even if it’s difficult to do so. For example, you can listen to music or a podcast that relaxes you - not too loud that you'll lose attention on the road.
  5. Be attentive. Don't lose your focus when driving. Obviously, you should have your attention on the road at all times. But there are things that can take your focus off the road. What are these? It can be your mobile phone, eating or drinking, tiredness, or loud passengers. If you can't help checking your phone's notification, you should put it on silent or out of your reach.
  6. Use signal lights. You must let other drivers on the road know whenever you want to change directions. So remember to turn on your signal before changing lanes or making a turn. And check your mirrors and blind spots before making a turn.
  7. Use defensive driving. No matter how careful we are on the road, we can't avoid being surrounded by careless drivers. So you should always drive defensively. Think of possible scenarios that might happen and find a way to safely remove yourself from that situation. For example, the vehicle in front suddenly changes into your lane without signaling. Are you able to safely brake to avoid a collision? You should always observe other cars in your area and assume the worst-case scenario. This way you can perform your evasive manoeuvres when needed.

Additional tips for you on how to avoid heavy traffic.

  • Learn which routes get heavy traffic. 
If you are a frequent commuter, you'll get to know which roads tend to get busy at certain hours. But if you're unfamiliar with the area, you can use road navigation apps to guide you on the best route to take. For example, Google Maps or Waze shows the traffic flow and possible routes you can take so you can avoid heavy traffic. 

  • Plan ahead.

Aside from learning which roads have heavy traffic, you should also plan your travel time. If you want to beat the rush hour, you can travel before the rush hour so you won't get stuck in traffic. Or leave plenty of time for your trip so you won't need to think about running late for your appointment.

Of course, nobody wants to get stuck in traffic but if you are in such a situation, then make use of the time. Listen to some audiobooks or plan out tasks you need to do for the day. Try to do something to take your mind off the frustration caused by traffic. But remember to still be attentive to your surroundings. 

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