Getting stuck in traffic jams is an unavoidable reality of modern urban living. Here’s how to be a safer driver about it.
Nothing frustrates a driver more than getting stuck in a traffic jam. And that frustration and anxiety can negatively affect the driver’s attitude and performance on the road, sometimes even leading to an accident. Here are some helpful tips to get through a traffic jam safely.
DON’T DRIVE MAD
An angry driver is not a rational driver. Keep a cool head and know that everyone else is facing the same predicament as you. No use getting all worked up and doing something rash, such as weaving in and out of lanes just to get ahead of other drivers — this makes it impossible for other drivers to predict what you’re going to do and vice versa. There are no winners when you drive mad.
UPDATE AND INFORM
If you have an obligation or appointment that you are keeping, use the hands-free function and update the other party of your current situation when your vehicle is stationary and safe to do so. This way, you will not be getting anxious messages and calls that can distract you while you are driving.
You may not be travelling at great speed in a jam, but it’s important still vital to stay alert. Keep an eye on other motorists, especially the one in front, and don’t tailgate. Always give enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you have the distance and time to react safely should they brake suddenly. Look ahead to determine the cause of the traffic jam if possible — this gives you time to filter to the least affected lane and avoid getting stuck.
SIGNAL YOUR INTENTION
Drivers often forget to use their indicators. Even if you are driving in a stop-start environment, it’s still important to let other drivers know what you intend to do regardless of the speed at which it’s done. At the same time, if you see a driver signalling their intention to filter into your lane, do give way to them — don’t aggressively speed up to close them down!
TAKE THE LONGER ROUTE
Some drivers don’t feel comfortable driving in a crowded environment. This has an impact on their emotional state, which in turn affects their ability to drive. This sometimes happens to new drivers not yet used to bumper-to-bumper traffic. If you feel overwhelmed, find the next available exit and make your way to a safe spot to calm down. You can then search for another way to your destination. Even if it takes a longer time to get there, at least you get there safely and in a calmer state.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
If you seem to be getting into traffic jams on your daily routine, it’s time to change the time that you leave home. Sometimes, leaving 15–30 minutes earlier can help dramatically reduce the chance of getting stuck in a jam. You can determine the best times to leave your home to get into these little pockets of reprieve that make your routine that much more pleasant and safe.
AA SINGAPORE’S ECO-DRIVING WORKSHOPS
By adopting smarter behaviours on the roads, drivers can help reduce and minimise the risk of a crash. That is why driver safety and eco-driving goes hand-in-hand. The potential impacts of crashes include fuel and oil leaks into the environment. Traffic jams are more often than not a result of these accidents, contributing to even more carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.
Sign up for AA’s Eco-driving workshop and learn how to maximise fuel economy while reducing the risk of a car crash. Find out more here: https://www.aas.com.sg/events-activities/talks-courses-events/354-eco-driving-workshop.html.