You are cruising along as you eat your breakfast burrito and listen to your favorite morning show when all of the sudden…you are not cruising anymore. Traffic jams take you by surprise and ruin your commute, not to mention your entire day. If you frequent a major interstate highway, especially in a metropolitan area, you are probably no stranger to the dreaded, hated, utterly despised traffic jam. No matter how much you gripe, there’s nothing a driver can do about a traffic jam. Nevertheless, here are ten tips to make your next freeway stall a little less loathsome.
Improve your ‘tude! Keeping the right attitude while stuck in traffic can prevent a fact of modern life from driving you mad. Since there’s nothing to do but sit and wait, you might as well enjoy your couple of hours of free time!
Inform your boss, family, waiting girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. as soon as possible. This is particularly important for work and school related obligations. As soon as you come to a complete stop, use your cell phone to tell whoever is expecting you that you will be later than you planned.
Unless it is blazing hot or frigidly cold, turn off your engine if you do not plan to move in the next few minutes. This saves fuel and lowers emissions. Traffic jams in urban areas are a major contributor to smog and poor air quality. Roll the windows down or bundle up.
Tune your radio to the local Department of Transportation station. This frequency will relay traffic information and make drivers aware of any alternate routes around the jam. If you do not know the DOT radio station, try listening for a traffic update on a local station. Just remember to turn your battery off after a few minutes. A dead battery equals a stalled car and you do not want to be the cause of yet another traffic jam!
Stay alert. Sure, you have not moved an inch in thirty minutes. But if you are asleep when things start moving, you are going to be in for a rude awakening by other drivers. Do not recline in your driver’s seat, no matter how temping it is. Your eyes will be off the road and that will put you in a vulnerable situation in the open freeway.
For Pete’s sake, don’t blow the horn! It is bad enough listening to cars in the opposite lane of traffic whiz by. Do not contribute to the noise with futile toots of your horn.
Keep a book, magazine, crossword puzzle, or journal in your vehicle just in case you have time to burn in a traffic jam. Before you realize it, the nuisance becomes leisure time.
Communicate with other drivers. If you are unable to figure out the source of the traffic jam, roll down your windows and see what other drivers are saying. You can bet that there is a conservation travelling among stranded vehicles about the accident, spill, or road construction in the distance that is causing the headache. Just make sure that you…
Don’t exit your vehicle. Standing in the middle of the road is never a good idea, even when all the vehicles are stopped. You never know when things will get moving again and you don’t want to be dodging cars. Additionally, leaving your vehicle unattended may attract dishonest individuals.
Have a snack. Savor that granola bar or slowly sip that soda you were planning to consume on your lunch break. It will keep your energy and your spirits up.
It’s just a traffic jam and they happen all the time. If you keep these tips in mind, you might just get excited the next time your speedometer plunges!