The New York Times recently had a piece on how we can all help to limit traffic jams, and I thought it would be nice to add to this. With the increased population in Colorado, especially in the metro areas, we have all certainly experienced the traffic jam. But there are a lot of habits or behaviors we either need to break or even start ones we need to be doing that can help lessen the congestion on the road.
So, here are a few tips to lessen the development of a traffic jam:
- If on the interstate or expressways, and you are slower than other traffic, move to the right lane. In fact, on highways in Colorado, you should only be in the left lane to pass. This is the law.
- Don’t slow down to look at an accident on the side of the highway, or in the lane of traffic bound in the other direction. It’s not affecting you, so just move along.
- Don’t change lanes as much. According to a study, weaving back and forth doesn’t get you anywhere faster, and it puts other lives on the road at risk. So, only change lanes when needed.
- Don’t brake so much, or put yourself in a situation requiring you to do so. If you are swerving in and out of traffic, braking will happen. You’ll need to quickly brake, or the person behind you will, and in turn that will cause the person behind them to brake. The continuous braking will slow down traffic, and continue all the way down the highway. I’m sure you have experienced it on I-25.
- When lanes narrow down, from two to one for example, maintain speed. What occurs in these situations is often referred to as a bottleneck. To prevent this from happening, use the zipper method. Drivers should continue to use both lanes of traffic until traffic slows, you don’t need to get over quickly and cut someone off. Now the person in the other lane needs to be nice, leave enough space so the other car can just glide in. All cars should let this “zippering” continue as the lane merges. For more you can watch this great video from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
- Pay attention. Keeping your eyes on the road and what is going on with other vehicles is crucial to preventing traffic jams. Additionally, don’t drive distracted. This can cause an accident, for quick braking, or any other issues. Don’t be the cause of a traffic jam or continue to keep traffic backed up.
- Plan ahead. If you can plan ahead, you can decide what roads you should take and when. If you know a particularly area is extremely congested at a certain time of day, avoid that area. That’s just one fewer car on the road there.
- Pull over quickly and completely if you have a problem. If something is going wrong with your car, or if there is an issue with a passenger, pull off quickly and make sure you are completely off the main road. You don’t want to cause an accident, or put yourself in a dangerous position.
- Don’t drive aggressively. Aggressive drivers and road rage only heighten traffic issues. Remain calm when you are behind the wheel. This should not only help with the ease of traffic, but it will help to keep you from becoming annoyed with the traffic jam you may be stuck in.
I know traffic jams are never pleasant, but try not to fret and keep these tips in mind.
If you enjoyed this blog, you may also be interested in the following:
- Physics 101: Semi-Truck Braking
- Preventing Rollover Accidents
- Did you Just Get Injured Catching Pokémon?
- 5 Bad Driving Habits We Should All Stop Doing