Safe Driving In Rush Hour & Heavy Traffic

Safe Driving In Rush Hour & Heavy Traffic
Did you know… One in every four car accidents happens during rush hour traffic. Between the volume of cars on the road, people rushing to get to and from work, and the slow movement of traffic increasing distracted driving, rush hour can be a very dangerous time to drive.

However, since most people have to drive in rush hour everyday, rush hour safety is an important part of the curriculum of Texas adult online drivers education.

Here are some great tips to get you safely through rush hour:

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Always Stay Calm

Rush hour is an incredibly stressful time. In the morning, people are anxious to get to work on time so they don’t jeopardize their jobs, and at night, they are in a rush to get home away from the stress of the day and may be driving fatigued.

This heightened level of driving anxiety, coupled with the increased volume of vehicles on the road, can create high tensions that can often lead to road rage.

Not to mention, people are more distracted while driving than ever before. They are worrying about the events of their day, they are often very tired, and may even be eating while driving, talking on the phone, or texting, so they are not as alert as they should be which increases the risks to other drivers on the road.

All of these factors can increase your tension and lead to accidents. So it is very important that when driving during rush hour you stay calm and focused, so that you do not get into an accident. Here are some quick tips on staying calm while driving:

  • Give yourself extra time to get to your destination. A few extra minutes will keep you from feeling rushed and will reduce the stress in case of unexpected situations like accidents and construction that can add time to your commute. It’s amazing how much this tip alone will reduce your stress level when driving. If you’re not in a hurry, you’ll be far less stressed.
  • Try taking different routes. The route that may take the least time without traffic may actually take more time during rush hour. Plus it is good to mix up the scenery so you don’t feel so trapped.
  • Listen to music or books on tape or bring a favorite beverage. Think about joining a carpool so you have company. Add something to your rush hour routine that makes you feel good.
  • Remember that everyone is going through the same stress. So if someone does something dangerous or illegal on the road, do not take it personally.
  • If you find yourself getting very angry or frustrated, take a few deep breaths and try to analyze the situation before reacting. Getting mad is dangerous for everyone on the road. So think if it is really worth putting everyone at risk to get mad at another driver.
  • If the stress becomes overwhelming, get off the road. Try to take another route or pull over until the traffic dies down. Nothing is worth you putting your life or the lives of others at risk.
  • If rush hour stress becomes too overwhelming, try to avoid it. See if you can change your hours at work or even take a different route. Maybe driving through neighborhoods or taking back roads will add time to your commute but if it reduces your stress, those extra few minutes are worth it in the long run.

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How To Drive Safely During Rush Hour

  • Start by choosing a vehicle with a high safety rating. That way if you do get into an accident, then you will sustain less injury.
  • Always maintain your vehicle. If your brakes are not functioning properly or you cannot accelerate quickly, you are more likely to get into an accident during your commute.
  • Take a safe route. Perhaps there’s a very dangerous intersection on the way or a confusing interstate merging lane where there are always accidents. If possible, plan your route so that you only take safe roads.
  • Never get distracted. It’s easy to get bored during stop and go traffic, do not use your time to check your phone or groom yourself. Always keep your mind focused on driving. Distracted driving is incredibly risky, especially during rush hour where a few seconds can make a difference.
  • Be mindful of other drivers. Even when another driver is doing something risky, you may want to yield the right of way to avoid an accident. Also give yourself adequate braking distance between you and the car in front of you. This will prevent pileups in case you get rear-ended.
  • Be aware of your route and try to get into the lane you will exit as soon as possible. If you have a long stretch on a three-lane highway, stay in the middle lane. The middle lane is the safest lane because it has less stopping than the right and is not typically used for passing like the left lane. Lane shifts are often a major cause of accidents during rush hour.
  • Be prepared for the sun. The sun is low during rush hour times and can reduce your visibility. Bring sunglasses and keep your visor down when you can to block the sun so that you do not end up in an accident because of sun blindness.
  • Be prepared for condensation. There are dramatic temperature changes in the mornings which can create condensation. Condensation can also block or your reduce visibility. Make sure your defrost works well and that your windshields are free of any condensation before driving.
  • Check your mirrors. Make sure your rearview and side mirrors are positioned correctly to give you the best possible view.
  • Be very aware of “blind spots.” Proceed cautiously when in another driver’s blind spot and always check yours before merging.
  • Always use your turn signals. This basic safety measure will help other drivers understand your intentions. Besides, not using your signal is just plain bad driving manners!
  • Never engage in aggressive driving. Aggressive driving causes 4% of all fatal car accidents. No matter how frustrated or angry you are, it is not worth the risk.

Rush hour can be a very dangerous time to drive. It is important to stay calm and drive defensively to avoid accidents.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to drive in rush hour, consider taking a Texas adult online drivers education course.

These courses will teach you how to react to specific situations that can occur during rush hour so develop the skills to stay safe.

Is Driving in Rush Hour Dangerous?

Almost everyone hates rush hour. It’s not just the drivers who suffer between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. on weekdays, everyone does. But the question here is, is driving in rush hour dangerous?

If traffic crashes being a common occurrence during rush hour is your basis, I’d say that yes, it is indeed dangerous.

And if you combine rush hour with extreme weather conditions, it becomes even more dangerous.

Several factors increase the risk of getting into an accident during rush hour, but, if you are aware of these risk factors, it may not be that dangerous after all. So what are these factors? Let’s get into the details.

Why is rush hour extremely annoying? It’s because it’s the period when almost everyone is in a hurry. It’s either they’re late for work or they can’t wait to get home and rest. Impatience leads to drivers speeding up whenever they get the chance. They are always looking to change lanes thinking it will be quicker. 

So what can you do? Keep a safe distance away from other vehicles to avoid collisions. Don’t get caught up and try changing lanes yourself.

Aggressive drivers are also common during rush hours and worse, this kind of behavior often leads to road rage. If you come across one, just give way and stay away. Don’t meet their eyes in case they turn their rage on you. Just keep driving until you get away from them.

During rush hour, there will be less room to maneuver as well. You have to be careful as drivers may unexpectedly stop or enter your lane. When that happens, you’ll have less time to react, making it difficult to avoid a crash. So again, try to keep a safe following distance at least from the one driving in front. I know this won’t make that much difference, but at least you can have that extra space.

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