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How Can I Avoid a Collision in Rush Hour Traffic?

March 21, 2022

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You After a Serious Rush Hour Accident.

While many workers are optimistic about returning to work and putting the coronavirus pandemic behind them, they may not be quite as enthusiastic about resuming their daily commute. Rush hour traffic is stressful for many reasons. To start, there are more drivers and pedestrians on the road during these hours. In many cases, they are more aggressive because they are in a hurry to get home or get to the office on time.

More vehicles and more commuters rushing to and from work means more car accidents. According to police crash data, 47 percent of motor vehicle accidents in happen during the weekday morning and afternoon rush hours. Rush hour traffic lasts a few hours, peaking between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the morning and between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at night. Accidents are more likely to occur during rush hour for a few reasons:

  • There is an increased risk of aggressive driving.
  • Drivers often speed to get to work and home.
  • Drowsy driving is more common at the end of the workday.
  • Greater traffic volume increases the chance of crashes.
  • There is less room to maneuver on crowded roads and highways.
  • The morning sun glare makes it hard for drivers to see.

Most car accidents are entirely preventable. While road conditions are out of your control, there are many steps you can take to avoid a car accident in rush hour traffic.

Eliminate Distractions

Distracted driving accounted for an average of seven percent of all fatal car accidents in a single year according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That amounted to 3,142 lives lost that year.

Cellphones are not the only deadly distraction. Anything that diverts your attention from the primary task of driving is a distraction. Wait until you park to eat breakfast, make a phone call, or comb your hair. You may just save a life.

Drive Defensively

Defensive driving enables motorists to recognize and address hazards in a predictable manner. By staying alert and anticipating how other drivers might react in advance, drivers can make necessary adjustments to avoid potential collisions.

Defensive driving means staying focused, checking mirrors frequently, and scanning conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead. A defensive driver never assumes other motorists are going to make smart, safe choices. They maintain a safe speed and following distance, so they have time and space to react to hazards.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Rush hour car accidents often boil down to the fact that commuters are stressed, aggressive, and in a hurry to get where they are going. Drivers who are not in a hurry are less likely to speed, get stressed, and engage in other risky behaviors to save time.

There are countless reasons to make your commute less stressful. Stress not only impacts the decisions you make behind the wheel, but it also affects your physical, mental, and emotional health too. Take the edge off by leaving a bit earlier in the morning and consider waiting a bit to leave at night to avoid the evening rush.

Maintain Your Vehicle

If you have every been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with your fuel gauge on empty or the check engine light glaring back at you, you know that anxious feeling of wondering if you will make it to your exit. Have your vehicle serviced regularly and keep up with routine maintenance to avoid inconvenient and potentially dangerous mechanical failures during your commute. Check tires monthly for proper inflation and excess wear and tear. Change your oil on schedule, and check fluids, wiper blades, belts, and hoses on a regular basis.

If something does not look, sound, or feel right while driving, have it checked out by a reputable mechanic. Think of the expense as an investment.

Try a New Route

If the frustration and monotony of the rush hour drive is wearing on you, try a new route to and from work. Other roads may not be as busy during the peak traffic hours. Another route may shave some time of your drive. You can also take another way that might be slightly longer, but not as congested.

Follow With Caution

The constant stop and start of rush hour traffic can be frustrating. You can crawl along the highway for what feels like an eternity, only to have moved a few feet. While it is tempting to stick close to the vehicle ahead of you in heavy traffic, that only increases your chance of a rear-end collision. During rush hour traffic, you should actually increase your following distance so you have room to avoid hitting the car in front of you if traffic comes to an abrupt stop.

Stay Calm

It is important to stay calm and composed during rush hour traffic. However, that is easier said than done. Think of it as a skill that takes practice. Be aware of how you feel during the rush hour drive. Are your neck and shoulders tight and tense? Not only are you increasing your stress and anxiety levels, but you are increasing your chance of being involved in a car accident.

To help you say cool and calm behind the wheel, listen to your favorite music or an audio book to pass the time. Take a few deep breaths before you react. If you feel truly overwhelmed in rush hour traffic, take a break. Wait for an opportunity to pull over safely or get off the highway. Allow traffic to die down before you resume your commute.

Do Not Engage With Angry Drivers

Now that you have mastered the art of staying calm during the rush hour drive, what about everyone else on the road? You cannot control other drivers’ behaviors. You can only control how you respond to them. The best thing to do is not respond at all to an angry driver. Road rage events are on the rise, and they can be violent.

If you come across an aggressive driver, do your best to remove yourself from the situation. Slow down and let them pass if possible. Never confront or engage another driver. If another driver is threatening you or you have any concerns about your own safety, call 911.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You After a Serious Rush Hour Accident

Even if you make safe decisions in rush hour traffic, a careless driver can still injure you. Our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help you after a rush hour accident. Our legal team at East Coast Trial Lawyers understands that serious injuries can happen even in low-speed accidents, such as rush hour accidents, and we can help you. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

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Virginia Beach VA 23452
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-994-8910