While not all of us are being raised in a busy city or in an area that typically has heavier traffic flow, at some point in each of our lives we will have to deal with traffic that is comparable to sardines packed in a can.
To be sure, it certainly isn’t the most pleasant experience in the world; other drivers aren’t always considerate, you may or may not miss your street or exit due to a lack of areas to merge in, and if you’re stuck in traffic during summertime with no heat, it’s so unbearable that you’d almost rather abandon your vehicle and walk the rest of the way to your destination.
This means that you constantly and effectively expect the unexpected.
In a heavy traffic situation, this could mean someone cutting you off, a motorcyclist speeding through between lanes, or others attempting to squeeze themselves into spaces their car just will not fit into in order to get a little ahead.
What can I say? Traffic makes people do crazy things.
Driving defensively will help you better anticipate these things, no matter how unthinkable, and be prepared to handle something if it comes up.
Take Advantage Of Gaps
Now, this doesn’t mean squeezing into the smallest gap possible or cutting other people off, but in heavy traffic, you also can’t hesitate too long, otherwise, you’ll never get to where you’re going.
Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your mirrors and other drivers, and when a space opens up enough for you to pull into it safely, put on your signal and go.
This goes without saying, but in heavy traffic, the road is literally packed with other vehicles.
No matter how slowly the traffic is moving, it is still moving, and keeping the flow of traffic going is something you all have to work together to make work.
No matter how tempting it may be to check your Facebook during a traffic stop, resist the urge and pay attention to what’s going on around you so you’re prepared when traffic begins to move again.
Have An Exit Strategy
If you get uncomfortable at any point during the traffic jam, make sure you can get out safely and find another route to your destination.
It may not seem like it, but your emotional state has a huge impact on your driving ability, and anxiety can impede your ability to properly handle heavy traffic situations.
If there isn’t a clear way out, you can turn your emergency light on and pull off to the shoulder of the road to relax and make yourself more comfortable before getting back onto the road.
Reduce Your Speed
Not all heavy traffic will be at a standstill, and it’s better to proceed with caution until you have a bit more room to work with.
Keep your speed a bit below the standard speed limit – about 5 mph should do just fine – and keep your eyes on the road and the drivers around you as much as possible to anticipate the unknown.
Some other drivers may get antsy about this, but your main goal when driving, especially in heavy traffic, is being safe and cautious, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
Don’t Give In To Tailgaters
There’s just no way around it – some people just aren’t considerate, no matter what the road looks like.
When people get so close behind you that it seems like your vehicles might merge into one soon, don’t panic.
When you’re able to safely, make a little more distance between you and the car behind you, and if you drive a manual transmission – especially if you’re stuck in traffic on a hill – give your car a bit more gas when shifting and slowly let the clutch out to keep from rolling back and hitting them.