Driving in heavy traffic is one of the most frustrating activities, especially when you’re in a rush. Unfortunately, it is at precisely this time where small, but serious accidents can occur. According to a study by Nationwide.com, “The average urban commuter is stuck in traffic for 34 hours every year.” With that much time spent in traffic, it’s much more likely to experience a minor or serious car accident in such close proximity. If you live in a highly populated area and regularly experience heavy traffic on a daily basis, it’s important to know how to navigate this situation as safely as possible. Here are five tips for driving safely in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

 

  1. Limit distractions: In a bumper-to-bumper situation, you will have to move short distances regularly to maintain the flow of traffic. This will require your full attention to the vehicles around you and how you control your car. Avoid looking at or using your phone while behind the wheel, as well as seemingly small tasks such as changing the music, digging through your glove box or eating.

 

  • Pay attention to brake lights: Accidents during heavy traffic can happen at any moment. While it’s important to be aware and alert of your surroundings, it’s equally important to pay close attention to the brake lights in front of you. This can signal to you when to slow down your approach to the car in front of you. It’s also important to regularly check that your vehicle’s brake lights are operating correctly for the drivers on the road behind you.


  • Change lanes carefully: If you do need to change lanes during heavy traffic, be sure to alert the drivers around you with hand signals or your lights. One of the biggest factors in a traffic accident is a lack of visibility. According to a Boulder car accident attorney, traffic accidents lead to “…significant physical, emotional, and financial hardship.”  It’s easy to get lost in a blind spot when trying to change lanes. Before making the move, be sure to check all of your mirrors and appropriately signal before merging.


  • Keep your cool: While driving in heavy traffic can be extremely frustrating, it’s important to stay calm while interacting with other drivers. Avoid engaging in any road rage behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, angry gestures, and cutting off other drivers. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a few calming breaths or turn on relaxing music. 


  • Share the road: It’s important for everyone to play their part while traveling down a congested road. This includes allowing other cars and motorcycles to merge into your lane, as well as not to race other cars to merge into a spot. The most important thing is to get to your destination safely, instead of not at all. 


If you have to travel in highly congested areas, it’s important to take all of the proper steps to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of others. Learn more about safe driving tips in the Traffic Safety section of the Safer-America website.