How To Behave In Traffic, If You Know What’s Good For You

As our society becomes more about instant gratification and increased efficiency, the pains of traffic become even more aggravating. Unfortunately, many bad decisions that produce a long-lasting impact can result from traffic jams. In a fit of impatience, you can rear end someone, switch lanes without knowing there’s a car beside you, or even get into a “road rage” incident. All of these things can play havoc on your insurability and monthly premiums. To help you stay cool in a hot-headed situation, we’ve put together this list of wise traffic behaviors. Ignore at your own peril.


Allow Space For Merging.

When it comes to merging lanes, some drivers can get in to unhealthy competition with one another, leading to accidents. As Nationwide pointed out in a recent blog post, “Nearly all long delays require vehicles in a blocked lane to move into a free-flowing one. What keeps this from happening? Motorists’ perception that it’s dangerous to merge.”

Daniel Gray of told the company that “You need to kindly leave enough space to signal that it’s fine to merge into your lane.” That may seem hard to do when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, but slow down for a moment and ask yourself whether the few seconds that you lose are going to be that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. (The answer: no, they won’t.)


Don’t Be A Lane Jumper.

Lane jumpers can tie up traffic for themselves and other people, even though they think they’re being very clever and getting to their destination quicker. Wrong, Nationwide claims. “As bad as a jam can be, drivers who incessantly shift from one line of vehicles to another only increase the length of the backup.”

It’s best to focus on “the path of least resistance,” according to Patrick Barrett, a former president of the North American Driver Education Association. “This is the path that lets you move and lets you see. But this doesn’t mean you constantly lane-jump. Often, choosing the path of least resistance means choosing to stay in your lane.”


Calm Down.

Traffic is just a hard fact of life. As the population increases and there are more cars on the road, it will only get worse. And it’s not a problem that is unique to you. Every American driver will have to encounter it at some point in their lives.

Every American driver will even have to deal with it in situations where there is an actual emergency. You may feel hot under the collar while you’re in it, but if you can step back and look at the situation with an all-world view, you’ll be able to see the value in keeping a calm head.

As Nationwide notes, “Cursing, fuming and honking will only elevate your sense of frustration and potentially create unnecessary trouble.”

“Remember that you’re not the only one who is late for something,” says Daniel Gray of, “and that you’re no more special than the person in the next vehicle.”


Don’t Even Think About Texting.

(Or playing on your smartphone, period.)


In Summary

While traffic may never get better, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, and that most people understand that you can’t control it, and so they won’t place those unreal expectations upon you. Just try to keep a level head and respect the other cars on the road as well as your distance in relation to them. Being focused will go a long way in ensuring that you reach your destination in one piece.

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