Traffic jams can be terrible. It doesn’t matter whether you are driving an affordable Toyota Camry or a luxury car like the Range Rover. A typical traffic jam in Lagos State could have you turn a 40-minute ride into a 4-hour ordeal. It is extremely frustrating for residents who need to get to work and get back home on a daily basis.
Due to the rush to get out of menacing traffic jams, drivers become ruthless and reckless and this can sometimes lead to collisions, road rage and endless episodes of frustration.
Some drivers get so frustrated that they just abandon their cars on the road and walk away. Yes! It gets that bad. Here are some helpful tips to help you deal with traffic jams.
1. Drive Defensively
Traffic jams are not the time to drive in a leisurely way. This is the time to drive with the unexpected in mind. This could mean someone cutting you off, a motorcyclist speeding through the lanes or a danfo (commercial bus) driver trying to squeeze himself in front of you, even when there is barely enough space for a car to do so. Heavy traffic makes people do whatever it takes just to arrive at their destination on time and you should be prepared for a great deal of craziness from drivers during moments like this.
However, defensive driving will help you to better handle whatever other drivers and road users throw your way and you won’t be caught unawares.
2. Look Out For Gaps
Getting ahead in heavy traffic demands that you should be watchful of gaps. This does not mean trying to squeeze your way into other people’s way or cutting others off. What it means is that you must acknowledge the fact that if you must get home on time, you cannot hesitate one bit when there is a gap in front of you.
Maintain a close watch on other drivers and keep an eye on the mirrors. Do this so that when space opens up for you to pull in safely, you can do so after signalling.
Be courteous to other drivers and road users so that they can be courteous to you too, as some can even give you space willingly.
3. Eliminate Distractions
A traffic jam is not the place to entertain distractions, except you are deliberately trying to delay your arrival at your destination. If you want to get home on time, you need to contribute to cushion the effect of the traffic by moving while others are also moving.
Regardless of how slowly the traffic may be going, do not check your Facebook and Twitter feed for distractions. This is not the time. Keep the flow of traffic by moving little by little like others on the road.
4. Keep a Decent Distance
This is the era of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, However, drivers have always been advised to keep a safe distance from other cars during a traffic jam. This will help you to avoid collisions from sudden stops, accidental pressure on the gas pedal or a moment’s distraction.
There should be at least three seconds between you and the car in front of you.
5. Don’t Give in to Tailgaters
There will be pressure from those behind you to move faster even when there is no space ahead. When they get so close behind you that it seems they are going to collide with you, don’t panic. Move when it is convenient to do so and don’t get distracted.
6. Prepare in Advance
There are certain areas that traffic jams are just an inevitable occurrence. For these kinds of roads, neighbourhoods and locations, it helps if you can plan your move ahead of time to beat the traffic.
Leave your home or office early if you can to avoid unexpected delays. This would go a long way in helping reduce your stress level.
Final Thoughts on Dealing With Traffic Jams
Using web mapping services like Google Maps, you can plan your movement better even before you set foot on the road or drive out. These Apps and tools offer you satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for travelling by foot, car, bicycle and air, or public transportation.
The use of these tools has become prevalent by car owners today and this is largely due to how efficient they have become in dealing with traffic in congested cities like Lagos.