Traffic jams are the worst! Nearly every driver feels there’s nothing he or she can do to avoid them and in most cases, that’s true. However, there are things that every driver can do to avoid contributing to congestion on the roads.
- Lay off the brakes. Hitting your brakes too frequently forces the drivers behind you to slow down as well. Each time this happens it creates a ripple effect that, in some cases, can last for miles. This is especially relevant on a typical highway with everyday congestion, where traffic can easily snarl, but it also comes into play in stop-and-go traffic. Instead of constantly braking, find a moderate speed that reduces the need to brake, but also doesn’t run the risk of hitting the car in front of you.
- Watch the lead foot. The counterpart to easing up on the brakes is to avoid speeding up too much every time there’s a brief break in congestion. This wastes gas (yours and other drivers’) and in heavy traffic, you’re not getting anywhere faster than anyone else.
- Give yourself space. Tailgating won’t get you to your destination any faster, either. The rule of thumb is to maintain one car length for every 10 mph. This allows for adequate time to react to traffic ahead and avoid slamming on the brakes or worse, crashing. After all, a car accident is one surefire way to ensure traffic gets worse.
- Mind your own beeswax. Rubbernecking is one of the most common causes of traffic jams. New York law requires vehicles to slow down in work zones and to move over for emergency vehicles, both of which will inevitably create some delays. Slowing down too much in order to gawk and stare will only exacerbate the situation.
- Put away distractions. It is both illegal and dangerous for drivers to text, make phone calls, or even put on makeup while driving (not to mention play smartphone apps and take selfies). If you need another reason not to do these things, though, know that they also are also major contributors to congestion on the road.
- Use the appropriate lane. Ever make it through a traffic jam without any sign of what caused it? Many such slowdowns are caused by inappropriate lane use. For example, if you don’t plan to exit the freeway any time soon, get out of the merge lane and into the thru lane(s). On the flipside, get out of the left-most lane if you can’t or won’t keep up with the other cars. Plus, many states are cracking down on cars camping in the left lane, so you also risk a ticket by staying in the left lane without passing.
- Change lanes strategically. Once you’re in the appropriate lane, stay there. A lane change can force the cars behind you in your current lane and the lane you’re entering to slow down, so don’t do it unless you need to. If you plan to exit, make sure to give yourself enough time to avoid sudden lane shifts, which could potentially cause an accident.
- Zip it up. Traffic engineers recommend what’s known as the “zipper method” for merging lanes. To employ this method, the driver in the merging lane should continue to the end of the lane at the same speed as the second lane. Drivers in the second lane should alternate, allowing one car in and then advancing. Unfortunately, many drivers race to the end of the merging lane or merge prematurely, both of which are inefficient and increase congestion.
If you or someone you love has been ticketed or arrested for a moving violation in New York, you need a skilled attorney to help fight the charges. The lawyers at the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.