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Staying safe when driving in heavy traffic

Houston is home to some of the busiest roads and highways in the nation, which means traffic backups are common. The roads tend to become busier during certain times of the year, such as summer holiday weekends or around Christmas and New Year’s.

Driving in heavy traffic or being slowed down by traffic jams make many drivers nervous. You may be one of these drivers. While you might do your best to follow traffic laws and drive safely, you might be anxious about other drivers on the road, whose actions you cannot control.

Here are some tips for driving in heavy traffic.

Watch for aggressive drivers and do not become one yourself

Aggressive driving can increase during heavy traffic, likely because the traffic slows drivers down and results in hasty, impulsive decisions out of impatience. Be patient and do not become an aggressive driver yourself.

This could be challenging if you are running late to work or another appointment or tired after a long day and just want to get home. However, aggressive driving is only going to increase your risk of an accident and overall will not save you much, if any, additional time.

Impatience also usually leads to cars driving bumper to bumper. This is extremely dangerous since it significantly increases the chance of a rear-end collision. Additionally, driving too close to other vehicles usually means you must use your brakes more often, which can wear them down.

Pay attention and stay focused

You should always avoid distracted driving, but this is even more important when you are driving in heavy traffic. Traffic jams can be unpredictable. You may be stuck at a slow crawl one minute and have clear roads the next minute only to hit another traffic backup the next.

This can cause constant slowing down and speeding up, which means you must have your attention completely focused on driving. Put your phone down and avoid eating, using your navigation system or talking to other vehicle passengers.

Keep an eye on the traffic directly in front of you as well as slightly ahead of you. Use your mirrors to check areas around you and always check your blind spot before changing lanes.

The sight of several brake lights ahead should be a sign for you to slow down and eventually put on your own brakes. Do not keep traveling at the same speed and slam on your brakes at the last minute.

Follow all traffic laws, even if it may seem unnecessary in slow traffic. Use your blinker when moving from one lane to the other and follow the posted speed limit.

You will get where you are going eventually

Feelings of frustration, anger and impatience and natural and understandable when you are stuck in traffic. Stay calm and remember that you will eventually reach your destination if you drive at the speed limit, pay attention and keep a safe distance between other vehicles.

No matter how safely you drive in Houston’s heavy traffic, you may find yourself in an accident because someone else was driving dangerously.

Injuries from a car accident can cause you major physical, emotional and financial damage. The driver who caused the accident should be held responsible for their actions and the legal system can help.