A Message to Our Clients About COVID-19Read More »

How Can I Avoid Rush Hour Traffic Accidents?

Posted on: May 6, 2022

Rush hour is the busiest and most stressful time to drive your vehicle. Whether you are going to and from work and just got caught up in rush hour traffic, you generally run a greater risk of a collision.

There are two rush hours that greatly affect driving in New Jersey. The morning commute to work usually is very busy, but the traffic is spread out a bit more with workdays often starting between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The evening rush hour often is worse, with the majority of drivers leaving work at 5 p.m. Joining the off-duty workers are other drivers who were running errands and doing tasks that they had to complete by the 5 p.m. quitting time at many places. That puts a lot of traffic on the road. If the weather is bad and the traffic is heavy, motorists run an especially high risk of car accidents.

Despite all of its dangers, the vast majority of drivers have no problems staying out of car accidents. The following tips could help you to handle the rush hour better and avoid a car accident, too.

Have Multiple Routes Available

The more options that you have to go to and from work, the easier it is to handle rush hour traffic. Most drivers get on the main road and use it day after day. That puts them on the busiest roads at the busiest time of the day.

But if you have one or more alternate routes, you could avoid the heavy traffic and possibly get home sooner. A route that covers a little more distance might be ideal for avoiding the heavily-trafficked main roads.

If you can plan different routes that enable you to do different things on your way home, that could help. A stop by a grocery store one day could cut down on the heavy traffic while you are in the store buying food and other necessities.

If you work out, a stop by the gym could give the traffic time to die down. If you use coin laundry machines, you could stop at a laundromat to do your wash one day per week while rush hour goes on outside without you.

Planning alternate routes and alternate activities can help to cut down on the stress of driving during rush hour.

Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained

You cannot drive safely if your vehicle is in poor mechanical condition. It is important to only use good tires that are balanced and rotated regularly to provide the best traction, handling, and stability. That will help you to react to traffic disruptions and avoid an accident that might otherwise occur.

You also need good brakes that will help you to stop safely and slow down as needed. If your brakes and tires are in bad shape, you run a high risk of causing an accident by rear-ending another driver during rush hour traffic.

All of your lights should work properly. Your headlights will help you to see and be seen while you are driving in the evening rush hour. Your brake lights should be in good working order so that other drivers can tell when you are slowing down or stopping.

The turn signals also are important to tell other motorists what you intend to do before you do it. If your turn signals are not working, another driver might cut you off or possibly rear-end your vehicle while you are slowing for a turn.

And the wiper blades need to be in good condition and the washer fluid topped off so that you can see in the rain. Some general maintenance and preparedness will help to keep your vehicle in good condition for rush hour traffic.

Check the Local Traffic Reports

Many local news sources provide traffic updates that will give you an idea of how heavy the traffic flow is and its general speed in different locations. Many urban areas have multiple sources of traffic updates.

You can check online prior to leaving to see if any accidents, road construction, or other issues are causing unexpected delays. And listening to a local radio station that regularly updates traffic reports could inform you of any changing conditions.

Some basic knowledge of current road conditions could help you to avoid trouble spots and stay safer while driving to or from work.

Stay Calm and Pay Attention

Nothing helps to prevent rush hour accidents more than staying calm while you are driving and paying attention to the vehicles that are around you. If you become stressed and impatient, you might drive aggressively and increase the odds of an accident.

When you stay calm, it is easier for you to pay attention and identify problem spots. Maybe another driver is being especially aggressive and weaving in and out. It would be wise to give that vehicle a lot of space.

You might hear a big rig with a thumping wheel next to you. A thumping wheel on a tractor-trailer indicates a bad tire and potential tread separation. It would be wise to avoid driving next to or behind a semi that is rolling with one or more bad tires.

Many potential dangers could become more apparent when you stay calm and pay close attention to the changing driving and road conditions.

Turn Off the Cellphone

You need to minimize your distractions as much as possible while driving in rush hour traffic. The cellphone is the single greatest source of distraction. You can eliminate that potential distraction by turning off the phone.

You also should limit other distractions while you are driving. Something as simple as enjoying a cold and non-alcoholic beverage on your drive home could become dangerous if it were to spill in your lap.

Fiddling with the audio, climate control, and other vehicle controls also could cause you to become distracted while driving. Most distractions come from inside your vehicle and could include objects or other passengers. The less distracted that you are while driving, the more you can pay attention and drive safely during rush hour.

Try to Avoid Changing Lanes

Changing lanes is a common cause of accidents during rush hour. The more vehicles that there are on the road, the less room drivers have to change lanes.

Many drivers will try to force their vehicles into spaces that are too small. They just cut off another vehicle while running the risk of causing an accident. Many will not even bother using turn signals prior to changing lanes. And that increases the danger.

You have probably seen motorists who are so intent on changing lanes or turning onto another road that they will violate traffic laws to do so. That is an especially risky mistake to make during rush hour.

You need to know where you are heading and which lanes get you there, and stick with them while driving during rush hour. If you continually change lanes trying to stay in the one with the fastest flow of traffic, you could cause an accident.

Many times, one lane will appear to be faster than the others. By the time you get into that lane, it might become the slowest. Traffic flow is not continuous during rush hour, and the flow rate in lanes can change quickly. 

It always pays to limit your lane changes to only when necessary. The rest of the time should be spent maintaining a safe distance, observing traffic, and staying calm.

Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law, P.C., Help to Build Strong Cases for Accident Survivors

The experienced Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law, P.C., can help you hold a negligent driver liable for causing an accident. You can call 732-308-0200  or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Freehold, New Jersey. Our clients are located in Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.