How Can Drivers Avoid Rush Hour Traffic Accidents?

rush hour

Commuting to and from work is not a pleasant experience for most people. It can be frustrating and cause you to miss time with your family. Most Americans spend over an hour commuting round trip to work each day. That is time spent doing something you probably do not enjoy.

It can also be time spent dealing with bad drivers and trying to avoid a car accident. By following the tips below, you can attempt to remain calm and safe while dealing with a frustrating commute.

Safety Tips for Rush Hour Commuting

Time your commute. If your company has flexible scheduling, you can time your commute to avoid the worst of rush hour. Leaving your house in the morning at 9:00 instead of 7:00 or 8:00 could mean you avoid most of the heavy traffic, reducing your commute time and frustration.

When you return home around 7:00 in the evening, you will again avoid the worst of the evening rush hour. This can alleviate your stress levels and give you more social time, as you will spend less time in traffic each day.

Avoid distractions. It is against the law to text while driving, so putting your phone away is a good idea. It will also help to keep you safe.

Avoiding other distractions is also key. Although you may want to get into a good audiobook or learn a new language, you still need to keep your focus and attention on the road when dealing with so many other cars and people who want to get home.

Keep your distance. Even though many people find rush hour to be safer because traffic usually moves much slower than normal, accidents happen more frequently in rush hours simply because there are so many vehicles on the road, all packed in together. That is why it is best to keep your distance from the car in front of you. 

Although that may mean some aggressive driver will cut in front of you, because you are leaving space and traveling at a safe speed, you will be able to slow down and avoid a collision. When cars are very close to one another, even at slow speeds, glancing down for just a second could cause you to ram into the car in front of you.

Travel at safe speeds. While it may be tempting to speed up at the first sight of a clear path, keeping a safe speed will help ensure you have time to slow down if someone cuts you off. Even though you are probably already traveling well under the speed limit during rush hour, it is a good idea to not pound the gas and try to weave in and out of traffic.

Doing that can be dangerous and could be a reason that someone else hits you. Keeping with the flow of traffic is your best bet to get home safely.

Have an alternate route. Because rush hour tends to have more accidents, have an alternate route or two ready to go. Using your phone or car GPS will help you route around any accidents, but knowing the area and having a plan can help as well.

During your commute, you are probably not too far from work or home at any point. Therefore, you may be familiar enough with the area and know how to get around accidents on your main route. Just be aware that there could be accidents on your alternate route.

Keep supplies in your car. Especially in winter, you never know what you will encounter. While not expected, even major interstates, such as I-95, have been shut down in bad weather. You need to be prepared.

To help you stay safe in the event that you get stuck or stranded in your car for an extended period, make sure you have a flashlight and extra batteries, some food and water, and several blankets to keep warm. Candles are not a good idea, as they can be a fire hazard.

Keep your vehicle well maintained. Good advice no matter what the weather is like, keeping your car well maintained is a great way to keep you safe during rush hour. Make sure your tires are at the recommended pressure, your fluids are topped off, and your battery is healthy.

You may be able to handle these tasks on your own. If not, find a trusted mechanic who can keep your vehicle well maintained all throughout the year.

Listen to uplifting music and audiobooks. Do not let yourself get distracted from driving. That is the most important thing you need to focus on while you are behind the wheel. 

But you can use the rush hour time you have to be productive. Whether you choose to listen to your favorite music, an audiobook, your favorite podcast, or work toward learning a new language, this can be a great use of your time and keep your frustration down as you deal with rush hour traffic.

Carpool. Another great way to pass the time during rush hour is by talking with others. If you are driving, make sure your main focus remains on the road and traffic, but carpooling is a great way to pass the rush hour time.

Whether you carpool with colleagues or people who work nearby, it is a great way to save money, besides making for good conversation. Just make sure all the passengers know that if traffic gets bad, conversation should stop so the driver can focus.

Go to the gym. Instead of adjusting your work hours, you could adjust your commute time. Whether during your morning or evening commute, instead of going straight to work or home, you could go to the gym.

Taking a detour could allow you to miss the worst of the traffic. The gym also has the added benefit of keeping you healthy and refreshed.

Staying Safe Means Staying Prepared

Even if you take all the above precautions and you have set up your commute to keep you calm in the face of adversity and bad drivers, you may still end up in an accident. If you do, you should not panic. First, make sure everyone is safe. If not, call for emergency medical care. That is your biggest priority.

Then make sure you get a police report. Even if you are in a minor accident, calling the police is a good idea because the police will create an accident report that will detail how your accident happened. Although the officers may not assign fault, they will create a record of the accident and everyone involved.

Finally, call a lawyer. A lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind after a rush hour car accident, but you may need legal guidance, especially if the other driver denies they were at fault. The insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with because all they care about is increasing their profits. They do not care whether you have suffered property damage or injuries and need help to cover those expenses. Your lawyer can help you battle the insurance companies and work to get you full and fair compensation.

Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Clients after a Car Accident

Rush hour in the Baltimore area is rough. Whether your work is a few miles or longer from your house, you could spend many hours per week in your car commuting. Even if you have taken all precautions, you could still find yourself in an accident. If you do, speak with the Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will be your advocate to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.