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5 Tips To Prevent a Car Accident During Rush HourRush hour can seem like chaos bordering on anarchy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) reports that approximately half of all reported traffic accidents occur during rush hour, with rush hour being defined as 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 6 PM. The following 5 tips can help you prevent a car accident during rush hour.
During rush hour, your fellow drivers will be less generous about yielding. They may not want you to pull in front of them because they’re highly motivated to get to their destination. They may also be driving with a short fuse and may become outraged if they view you as trying to “cut in” or “cut them off.” There is s slippery slope from outrage to road rage so be careful. For the reason above, always be more cautious about changing lanes during rush hour. Check your blind spots twice for good measure. Put your turning signal on BEFORE you change lanes and pause long enough for other drivers to have time to see your signal and adjust their speed and expectation.
Obviously, this is easier said than done when you’re out in the rush hour traffic trenches! However, you may be more motivated to use good manners if you keep in mind at all times that doing so can help save lives, including your own and those of your passengers. A nice smile and/or a friendly hand wave is contagious and this good will can spread. If you accidentally cut someone off or make another driving mistake, if it is safe to do so, a little mea culpa gesture can go a long way toward diffusing the situation. Try to be more willing to yield to other drivers, especially at four-way stops and intersections where drivers may be trying to turn left or beat the light.
Nothing makes a driver more anxious, and therefore more willing to take risks that affect themselves and other drivers, than thinking they may get to their destination late. You can sometimes solve this issue by simply leaving a little earlier. You can also alter the time that you leave for work to a time when there is less traffic. Some people even make special arrangements to start work a little earlier (or later) for this reason. If you are a supervisor/boss, try to accommodate these special requests.
This can be especially important in the evening commute if you have a stressful job or you’ve had an exceptionally stressful day. Some commuters find it helpful to de-stress for a few minutes before they start driving home so they are in a better frame of mind to cope with rush hour madness. Taking these few minutes to lower stress can definitely prevent car accidents. Some people find a couple of minutes of yoga style deep breathing helpful. You could also close your eyes and listen to a favorite song or two on your mp3 player before you start the engine. Alternately, you could drive a short distance to a nearby park and take a leisurely stroll before you head home.
Tailgating is one of the leading causes of rush hour accidents, especially on the freeway. If you are tailgating and have to stop suddenly for some reason, you may slam into the car ahead of you or swerve out to miss that car and hit someone else. Try to leave more space between you and the car ahead, even if that means a few people cut in front of you.
If you have been in an accident due to the carelessness of another driver, you may be eligible for compensation.
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