Stop and Go Traffic - How to Stay Safe

Stop-and-go traffic can be extremely frustrating, especially when you are in a hurry to get somewhere. Even if you’re driving slowly, clogged traffic can present its own set of risks. Follow the tips below to stay safe when driving in stop-and-go traffic.

Slow down and accept that you’re going to be here awhile. Driving on the shoulder and weaving in and out of traffic are two risky behaviors we’ve all witnessed when sitting in heavy traffic. Take a few deep breaths and avoid the temptation to bypass the traffic jam.

Leave plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you. Even though the people behind you might silently cheer when your brake lights disappear and you quickly move into the vacant spot ahead, it does nothing to help the situation (and may result in a fender-bender, or worse). If you get hit from behind, your proximity to the car in front of you plays a major role in the extent of vehicle damage and potential injuries.

Put your phone away. It might be tempting to chat the time away, peruse Facebook, or check your email, but stop-and-go traffic is a terrible time to be on your phone. Even with your full attention, constantly braking and accelerating leaves room for error. Don’t be distracted. Save the phone calls and texting for later.

Don’t engage in “rubbernecking.” If you slow down to see the accident, you may end up joining it. This is just another distraction and the cars in front of you and behind you are just as likely to be distracted. Always keep your eyes on the road ahead.

Be kind to your car. Stop-and-go driving can actually damage your vehicle. Avoid accelerating quickly and then slamming on the breaks when it’s time to slow down. When you can, coast your vehicle. If stop-and-go traffic is a normal part of your commute, discuss this with your mechanic. He or she may be able to recommend ways of reducing the damage to your car, such as frequent oil changes.