Whether you are new at driving or a seasoned driver, dealing with heavy traffic is stressful and frustrating. Most people, if not all, go through this situation almost every day in Ballarat.
Knowing how to deal with heavy traffic properly is essential for everyone to avoid vehicular accidents and arrive at your destination safely and on time.
To help, we have put together seven tips for dealing with heavy traffic.
Keep proper distance
You may have missed hearing this from your driving instructor during your driving lessons. A good rule of thumb for drivers is maintaining a three to four second gap between their car and the one in front.
During heavy traffic flow, cars’ movement is unpredictable. You might find yourself continually having to start and stop your vehicle. Not leaving ample distance between vehicles is a common cause of accidents because drivers don’t get enough time to react due to insufficient space.
So how do you know if there is enough space for a three-second gap between your cars? It’s simple!
Look for an object you can use as a reference point like a lamppost or even a traffic cone. Begin your count the instant the car in front of you passes your point of reference. If you reach three seconds the moment you pass your reference point, you have maintained an appropriate distance.
Suppose you pass your reference point in less than 3 seconds. In that case, you are not leaving enough space between cars. Slow down a little to increase the gap and try counting again.
Preparing ahead of time
It certainly doesn’t hurt to prepare before leaving for your trip or your daily commute. It may help alleviate the stress of dealing with heavy traffic or avoid it altogether.
Either way, here are some pointers to consider preparing for before your drive.
- Time: Rush hour is something we all have encountered, and it usually doesn’t last for just an hour. Rush hour can range from 6 to 10 in the morning and 3 to 7 in the afternoon or evening. If you can leave and drive before and after rush hour traffic, you will avoid traffic congestion.
- Events: Any major event happening in your area can drive up the number of vehicles travelling on any given day. Some roads can be closed during an event so plan your route ahead of time.
- Construction: Be aware of roads getting constructed in your city and plan your route to avoid spending hours sitting in traffic.
Maintain focus while driving
In today’s fast-paced environment, maintaining focus is a quality which we often take for granted. You’d be amazed at how many people ignore this simple tip – focus on driving and put your phone down.
According to the United States NSC, more than a million accidents are caused by mobile use while driving each year.
People believe that quickly checking your phone while driving won’t harm anyone. With the high number of cars on the road, even a split second is enough to get yourself and other people in danger.
If you really can’t help it and need to use your phone, safely pull over first. Don’t put yourself and other people at risk.
Don’t let your road rage get the best of you while driving in heavy traffic as losing focus and letting your frustration get in the way is the last thing you want to happen while on the road.
Look for ways to keep yourself entertained while driving and get your mind off your frustration before you start driving. Try listening to a podcast or some of your favourite tunes. There are also plenty of audio books and podcasts available for downloading online that you can listen to while driving.
Whatever you do, don’t start browsing on your phone.
Make good use of your indicators
Communication is essential in all aspects of life and believe it or not; it is also important to communicate while driving. Your means of communicating with other drivers while driving are your indicators or your car lights so make good use of them.
Part of being safe on the road and being a good driver means communicating to other commuters ahead of time what you are about to do. Whether it’s switching your lanes or turning left or right, use your indicators to let them know that those lights are there for a purpose.
In line with this, every driver should make a habit of checking if all of your car lights are working correctly before leaving your house and start driving.
Staying alert and expecting other drivers’ irrational and impatient behaviour helps reduce your chances (even by just a little) of getting involved in a crash. In heavy traffic situations, people quickly lose focus, become impatient, and try anything to get ahead.
By staying alert, you won’t easily panic at unexpected movements. Always check your mirrors and always be on the lookout.
Be aware of your position
Always be on the lookout for “KEEP CLEAR” road signs to avoid stopping somewhere you shouldn’t. These areas that are marked to be kept clear are carefully situated on the road to ease traffic flow.
So if you’re already sitting in heavy traffic, don’t make it worse by blocking places that need to be kept clear.
These are just some of the many ways you can safely commute and deal with heavy traffic. If you would like to learn more, speak to our friendly staff today. Ballarat Driving School offers affordable driving lessons with highly experienced driving instructors.