The weather’s heating up and tempers are starting to flare. It seems like more and more drivers are on the road and impatience is their co-pilot. Maybe it’s the weekend and the highway is jammed. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated on your morning commute. Whatever the reason is, if you’ve found yourself slowing to a crawl on the road here are a few tips that could help you keep your cool.
Know Your City’s Rush Hour Times
The best way to avoid getting angry during rush hour is to avoid rush hour traffic altogether. If you need to run errands, try doing it during the early morning or late evening. If you’re driving to or from work during rush hour, leave a little earlier in the morning or a little later in the evening. Depending on the time of day, even 15 or 20 minutes could make a big difference.
Avoid Merging Lanes
If you see two lanes merging, avoid being in either one if you can. Merging tends to slow everyone down, so staying in a separate lane can help you outpace others jockeying for a spot in the remaining lane.
Follow with Caution
Your driver’s ed teacher probably taught you to leave at least one car-length between yourself and the car in front of you at all times. While this distance might seem unnecessary in some situations, being able to stop with plenty of room in front of you is a must during rush hour.
It helps you in two ways. First, if the car in front of you stops suddenly, you’ll have plenty of room to come to a stop and avoid rear-ending them. Second, even if the car behind doesn’t follow the same rule a forceful bumper tap from them won’t cause you to rear-end the car in front of you. (Because let’s face it: even if you do have good low-cost car insurance, you’d probably rather not go through the claims process.)
Always Wave “Thank You”
If another driver is nice enough to let you change lanes ahead of them, give them a quick wave. You don’t need to roll your window down to do it, but showing a little appreciation can go a long way when tensions are high.
Pay Attention to the Road
To reduce the likelihood of getting in an accident during rush hour, avoid distracted driving. Having the radio turned on to de-stress is probably fine, but eating your breakfast, making calls, checking your hair in the mirror, and texting are all extra dangerous during rush hour. A split-second reaction could be the difference between a safe stop and a fender-bender.
Keep Your Windows Up
If you do feel the need to vocalize your frustration, keep your windows shut. Yelling at other drivers when traffic is bumper-to-bumper will only increase tensions.