Rush hour is a dangerous time to be driving. One in four car accidents occur in rush hour traffic, according to Drive Safely. The mere fact of the increased numbers of vehicles out on the road contributes to an increase in accidents. Add to that the reality that people are trying to get to and from work or school on time, resulting in congested and stressful driving conditions. Bumper-to-bumper traffic increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions and multi-car pile-ups. Sideswipe and head-on collisions can happen when drivers in a hurry run through stop signs or red lights to save a few minutes.
For new and older drivers, rush hour can be intimidating, but the risk of an accident is higher for anyone driving in rush hour. Review the following safety tips to help you avoid a car accident in rush hour traffic.
Allow Adequate Time for Travel
During rush hour, there is an influx of drivers trying to get to their destinations. Leaving enough time to get to yours can significantly reduce your stress level and means you will not have to speed, tailgate, or run through yellow lights to be on time. Any unsafe driving behaviors put you at risk for an accident. If being on time in the morning is a problem, try setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier than usual.
Stay in the Middle Lane
The middle lane is the safest place to be as the right lane has the most merging activity, and the left lane is bound to be full of cars moving at the fastest speeds. Whatever lane you choose, try to stay there and do not dart between lanes to find the faster one. Other drivers could hit you if you move suddenly and catch them off guard.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Distracted driving is a leading factor in many accidents, and rush hour accidents are no exception. In the morning, some drivers try to accomplish many tasks while driving in their cars, including eating breakfast, putting on makeup, attending to children, and checking cellphones for texts and email.
The slow tempo of bumper-to-bumper traffic tempts many people to multitask when their full attention and focus need to be on traffic and driving. Put your cellphone away before you get in the car, leave yourself plenty of time in the morning to eat, and get ready at home.
Allow Enough Following Distance
To be safe, you need at least one car length between the car ahead of you and your vehicle. In heavy rush hour traffic, this is crucial so that you have time to react to unexpected movements from other vehicles and plenty of room to come to a stop if necessary.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Good vehicle maintenance always makes for a safer drive. Be sure to follow the manufacturerâ€™s recommendations for maintenance, including oil changes, brakes, and fluid replacement.
Check your tire treads and pressure. Clean your windows and mirrors to reduce dangerous glare. Replace your wiper blades if worn out to ensure good visibility in inclement weather.
Rush hour traffic can aggravate any driver, but remember that everyone is trying to get through it as well. Practice techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or playing soothing music to lower your stress level. It is essential not to let yourself be driven to aggressive driving tactics, like tailgating or speeding.
If you encounter an aggressive driver in rush hour, give them a wide berth by moving out of the way to let them pass you. Never try to confront an aggressive driver, as this could escalate the situation into a fatal accident.
Consider experimenting with alternate routes that are less congested, or try to leave early enough to beat the rush. You may be rewarded with quiet time to yourself at the office before everyone else gets there.
What Injuries Result From Rush Hour Accidents?
Rush hour accidents can cause severe injuries to drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Many rush-hour accidents happen at intersections when a driver in a hurry fails to yield the right-of-way. This can result in catastrophic injuries to those involved, including:
- Head and neck injuries.
- Back injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Broken bones.
- Internal organ damage.
- Severe scarring and disfigurement.
Many of these injuries are life-altering and could require lifelong care. Your ability to earn a living could be significantly affected. Rush hour car accident injuries could leave you with a mountain of medical bills and other losses that impact you financially. Some people have issues with chronic pain even after recovering from their injuries. Some people succumb to their injuries, leaving their families with the emotional and financial toll of the accident.
Practicing defensive driving can help you stay safe during rush hour traffic, but it is not always possible to avoid an accident caused by a negligent driver. Stay calm and call 911 for help if you get in an accident. Never get out of your car in rush hour traffic unless it is safe to do so. If your injuries allow you to, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles and any other property, the road and weather conditions, and other evidence related to the accident, such as skid marks. Consult a lawyer who can investigate the cause of the accident and hold the responsible person accountable.
Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Provide Legal Counsel to Clients Who Have Been Injured in Rush Hour Traffic
You may be eligible for compensation if you have been injured in a rush-hour car accident caused by a negligent driver. One of our skilled Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you determine the best course of action. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.