Imagine you’re on the highway headed out of town with your family. You can see the heat rising off the asphalt in front of you. Suddenly you’re in bumper-to-bumper traffic, horns are honking loudly all around you and you can really sense the hostility building among the drivers on the road.
With sunshine and hot weather come more vacations and road trips. On the one hand, this is awesome! On the other, fantastic weather can sometimes create an incredibly high volume of traffic on the roads – especially in densely populated cities. So while you’re stuck in traffic headed to your next destination, keep these 5 tips in mind for staying safe in a traffic jam this summer.
Understand that what’s going on with the traffic in this moment is completely out of your hands. If you have somewhere to be, accept that you may not be on time. Letting frustration get the better of you will only stoke the fire of hostility that might already be present on the road. Keep in mind that, most likely, the drivers around you all have somewhere to be as well. Staying calm is absolute safest bet in this situation.
According to our east coast friend, David Resnick & Associates, who are experienced car accident lawyers in New York City, last year alone there were roughly 225,000 car accidents in New York. It’s important to leave enough space to help prevent running into the back of the person in front of you, especially when you’re in a city where traffic is usually bad enough on a normal day. You also want other drivers to know that you’ll let them merge into your lane if need be. Part of the traffic jam could be stemming from a blocked lane and drivers being worried about merging into a different one. It’s probably not their fault that they’re in a lane that’s blocked, so it’s safest for everyone if you kindly allow them to merge. It’s just a matter of common courtesy.
It doesn’t matter how slowly traffic is moving – don’t use this time to pull your phone out and start texting or surfing the internet. If traffic picks up you want to be paying full attention to what’s going on, and if it comes to a complete stop suddenly, you could run in to the back of the car in front of you.
You want to be in a situation where you can see as clearly as possible what’s going on in front of you, but that doesn’t mean you need to switch lanes constantly. Try to hold tight where you are unless you’re trapped behind an 18-wheeler and feel slightly unsafe. The less swerving and moving around in bumper-to-bumper traffic the better.
Keep your car radio tuned in to the traffic report so you have a little bit of an idea about what’s going on. Even though it probably won’t make the wait any easier, you’ll at least know what the reasoning is behind the jam, and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect as far as when things might start to ease up.
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