Best Ways To Drive In Traffic
Drive slower when there are many vehicles close together on the road. Otherwise stopping safely will be harder because you have less room. Drive slower so you can stop in the distance you have.
You should usually drive slower in these places:
- Shopping centers, parking lots, and downtown areas.
- Roads with heavy traffic.
- When you see brake lights coming on several vehicles ahead of you.
- Schools, playgrounds, residential streets.
- Narrow bridges and tunnels.
- Toll plazas.
How Fast Is Traffic Moving? Collisions tend to happen when one driver is going faster or slower than other cars on the road. If you are going faster than traffic, you will have to keep passing other cars. Each time you pass another car, there is more chance for a collision. The car you are passing may change lanes suddenly. On a two-lane road, an oncoming car may appear suddenly. True, it may not be a big chance, but if you are passing one car after another, the chances begin to add up. Studies have shown that speeding does not save more than a few minutes in an hour’s driving.
Going slower than other cars or stopping all of a sudden can be just as bad as speeding. It tends to make cars bunch up behind you and it could cause a rear-end crash. If many cars are pulling out to pass you, maybe you should increase your speed to the speed limit or move over into the right lane.
In order to avoid last minute moves, you should look down the road 10 to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. A driver needs to look that far ahead to see hazards early. Constantly staring at the road just in front of your car is dangerous. If you look ahead, you will be able to see important things that you can’t see later on, such as someone getting into a parked car.
In the city, 10 to 15 seconds is about one block. When you drive in city traffic, you should look at least one block ahead. On the highway, 10 to 15 seconds is about a quarter of a mile.
Take In the Whole Scene: Looking 10 to 15 seconds ahead does not mean looking only at the middle of the road. It means looking at the side of the road as well. “Scanning” the roadside helps you to see:
- Cars and people that may be in the road by the time you reach them.
- Signs warning of problems ahead.
- Signs giving you directions.
Keep your eyes moving: Look near and far. Turn your head before changing lanes because mirrors have blind spots. These blind spots can hide a motorcycle or bicycle. Watch for things about to happen like a ball rolling into the street; a car door opening; a swerving bicycle.
Watch for Hazards: Look beyond the car ahead of you. Don’t develop a “fixed stare.” Look around. Keep your eyes moving. Check your rear view mirrors frequently (every 2 to 5 seconds) so that you know the position of vehicles near you.
On the freeway, be ready for changes in traffic conditions. Watch for signals from other drivers. Expect merging vehicles at onramps and interchanges. Be prepared for rapid changes in road conditions and traffic flow. As you look ahead, think about what will (or might) happen on the road. Be alert for vehicles on either side, to the front and to the rear. Use your mirrors. Leave enough space between you and the vehicle ahead for safe stops. Always leave yourself an “out.” Mistakes cause collisions. To protect yourself, know which lanes are clear so you can use them if you need to.
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