The traffic condition in southern California is unpredictable at best and deadly at worst. You probably know someone that has been in a car accident or know someone that knows someone who had. In 2016, there were 3,680 car accident related deaths. One in every four car accidents happens during rush hour traffic. These are senseless deaths that can be avoided when people make a conscientious effort to be careful, cautious and responsible drivers. Unfortunately, you cannot control other drivers, however, you are able to control the way you drive. While you are taking precautionary techniques to be a more responsible driver, please feel free to pass along safe driving measures to friends and family.
Clear Your Mind
We all have our bad days but don't take it out on the road (or the people on it, for that matter). Driving upset can lead to dangerous situations. Hello, road rage. Be an objective driver by not allowing your emotions to drive. This applies to positive excitement too.
Avoid going behind the wheel when emotional. Breakups, hearing bad news, or getting fired, are some examples. Remember, even positive emotional impacts such as getting a promotion can be harmful to driving. And if you become emotional during the drive, safely pull over and give yourself some time to calm down. Take a moment to catch your breath and refocus, before hitting the road.
Avoid exciting music
Music can be an emotion setter - both positive and negative music. It may entice you to drive faster, perhaps carelessly, and even taking your focus off the road. When driving, select music that is easygoing and neutral. Leave the hype stuff at home.
Distractions Equals Danger
I get it, when there is traffic on the road, I immediately want to fidget with something. It’s a normal reaction. But avoid grabbing your phone, changing your music, or anything else that takes your eyes off the road.
Don’t touch your phone
Just don’t. Can’t express this enough.
Create a music list prior to driving and eliminate any music choices you have to make during the drive.
Steer Clear of Traffic (Pun Intended)
Granted you are fortunate enough to select the times you will be on the road, choose to avoid traffic. But if you must drive during those horrid times of the day, then try these tips.
Do something else
Go to the gym or sign up for that Pilates class after work, and chances are, you will miss all the traffic by the time you are done.
Perhaps you are not so lucky and can't make leisure stops? Try carpooling with a coworker or a neighbor that works nearby.
Defense is the Best Offense
This is true in sports, this is also true with driving. Defensive driving will help prepare for unpredictable occurrences. Keep your guard up and be on the lookout.
Stay focus and scan the road around by checking the rear and side view mirrors. Being aware of the surroundings will assist in eliminating dangers that may surface.
Identify vehicles that appear unsafe
: Look out for drivers that are erratically merging across lanes, speeding dangerously, or drifting within a lane. Avoid these drivers as safely as possible.
Follow the flow of traffic
If it appears to be unsafe to do so, then try to take another route. Sometimes the flow of traffic, on the highway, will exceed beyond the speed limit. (And, we wonder why there are so many accidents.) Just exit and re-enter the freeway after a few minutes.
Use the signal lights
Before switching lanes or turning, be courteous (not to mention law-abiding) by letting other drivers know, by using signals. while it may seem obvious you are turning, use your signal anyway.
Put some space between you and other drivers. Allowing plenty of space between you and other vehicles/structures will provide room and time to react to sudden potential danger.
Allow 2-3 seconds between you and the car ahead of you.
Switch lanes if someone is tailgating you. Although it is not in your control, try to drive in front of someone that is also giving you personal space.
There are many ways to drive impaired. You can drink and drive, you can be under the influence of drugs, you can be sleepy, you can drive after taking certain medications and the list goes on. Please be sure you are driving impaired. And use the tips above to look out of those that are.
Yes, it’s true. Driving tired is worse than driving impaired. Pull over, get some caffeine, take a cat nap, or get an Airbnb for the night. Whatever you have to do to not drive tired.
Under the influence
The federal law mandates the legal blood alcohol level is .08%. This isn't a lot. It's one beer, one glass of wine. Remember drugs and alcohol will entice you to “feel” brave, so even if you think you are “ok” to drive, if you have been drinking or smoking weed (or worse), just take a Lyft. That $15 ride is well worth an accident avoided.
Give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Giving yourself some cushion time will help relinquish some stress. Your drive will be more pleasant and relaxing when you are not in a hurry to get to your destination.
Leave 5-10 minutes earlier.
Check the route
Ask your handy device assistant to tell you the route time.