Posted by: safedriver | February 12, 2017

It’s all about good timing

a6c7747c461991988aea23433ca4They say the key to good comedy is timing. I’m not really sure who “they” are, but it’s an accurate statement. It could also be said that the key to surviving on the road is also about timing. Sometimes the timing is good and sometimes not so good. Drivers have to time their maneuvers in traffic to remain safe. Sometimes our timing doesn’t happen while we’re driving.

How many times have you washed your vehicle only to have it rain the next day? It’s about timing. I do like my vehicle looking clean so I tend to check the weather forecast before I wash it. This includes during winter weather as well. Washing my vehicle in winter helps to keep the grime off the vehicle helping it to look its best and to help keep the lights and windows clear. However, washing the vehicle on a cold day on the way home from work is just not good timing. Everything can freeze on it as it sits in my driveway overnight and makes opening the frozen doors the next day more difficult. I tend to wash it on milder days or at the start of the day so the vehicle doesn’t just sit there and get frozen.

Hamilton 2-20130613-00365Each time a driver makes a turn across the path of oncoming traffic they have to time their maneuver. Judging the speed of the traffic is a huge part to making a successful turn. Just because you know the speed limit, don’t assume the oncoming traffic will be doing that same speed. You can judge the speed of other vehicles as they pass stationary items alongside the road. If it appears they are moving faster than the other traffic, they’ll reach you sooner. This means your timing with making a safe turn may be off. (More info about judging vehicle speed and movement can be found here.)

Sometimes timing isn’t very good when you’re driving in poor weather. I often hear about vehicle crashes during an ice storm, snow storm or during a very heavy rain storm. The rough part is that the bad weather can be over in a day or two. At least the roads can be drivable in many cases. Was it worth driving in those conditions or could you wait?

The commute I make to my office each day is roughly 90 minutes and the drive home is longer. I have a plan that if the weather is bad that in some cases I can either work from home if I haven’t left yet or, if the weather gets bad while I’m in my office, to stay the night in my office. That wouldn’t seem so bad if I worked at a hotel, but sleeping in my office at least would allow me to avoid the timing of the severe weather. So far I haven’t had to go that far, but I’m prepared for it.

And I thought of this one to finish off this post. For those who sit in a drive-thru, timing plays a role. If you sit with your window down, especially in the rain, no one shows up to collect your money or to provide you with your order. The moment the window goes up, someone shows up. I often wonder if they’re watching you just to throw your timing off.

Posted by: safedriver | January 31, 2017

What everyone should know about airbags

airbagFor the decades that I’ve been involved in road safety, there always seems to be a debate about airbags. Are they safe or are they risky? Well, it depends on who you ask. Part of making an opinion is finding out the facts first.

The goal of the airbag is to stop the forward motion of the occupant as quickly as possible to reduce serious injuries. Airbags are also designed to work along with the seatbelt. When airbags were first in vehicles they were designed to prevent serious injury in frontal collisions only. Seatbelts were still needed because of impacts from other sides. Side airbags are now common as are curtain airbags coming out of the pillars in the vehicle. Some vehicles are now being equipped to have 10 or more airbags. There’s now more protection from serious injuries because of the addition of airbags. However, the airbag isn’t a big pillow that slowly comes out to protect you.

The force of the airbag can and do hurt anyone who is sitting too close to them. It’s been determined the first 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) from the airbag when it first deploys delivers the most “punch”. Airbags generally deploy at 200 mph (320 km/h) and anywhere between 1/25 and 1/30 of a second. Pretty fast, huh? So many times I’ve seen drivers sit extremely close to the steering wheel. The impact of the airbag would do so much injury to them if it deploys. I knew someone who sat that close. When I asked them why, they said it allowed them to look further up the road. I explained to them about the airbag and suggested they sit at least 10 inches (25 cm) from the airbag. That would allow it to do the job it’s designed to do. They changed their habit and sat further back.

When it comes to small children, it’s always been recommended that children 12 and under should be sitting in the rear seat. (More of where kids should sit and why can be found here.) An airbag can seriously injure or perhaps kill a small child if they’re sitting too close to the airbag, even if they are over 12 years of age. (Remember the 200 mph/320 km/h?)

steering-wheel-1Let’s come back to the driver. Proper seating position can make the world of a difference for airbag deployment and safety. When I’m driving, I’m not thinking about sitting in a position that protects me from any possible injury if the airbag deploys. I’m sitting in a position that will allow me to control the vehicle so the airbag doesn’t need to deploy.

There’s also debate where you hold the steering wheel. 10-2, 9-3 or even 8-4. Regardless of where you hold the wheel, your arms and hands will be thrown away from the airbag. Watch how the airbag deploys in this video clip. https://youtu.be/8YB6sPVJHj0 The airbag itself is wider in diameter than the steering wheel. Therefore, in that split second, the driver’s hands would be thrown off from the steering wheel to the sides. That’s going to happen no matter how the steering wheel is held. The worse position would be holding the steering wheel at 12 when the airbag goes off as that would smack you in the face. Ouch! My advice – hold the steering wheel that gives you the best steering control so you can avoid having the airbag deploying. Don’t drive in fear. Drive with confidence.

Posted by: safedriver | January 27, 2017

Defensive driving or offensive driving?

tailgateFor many years, the phrase “defensive driving” was associated to the best way to drive on public roads. Defensive driving was a term which defines a series of common sense driving techniques that can help reduce the risk of vehicle crashes by anticipating actions of other road users. It pretty much still means the same thing. If you were told you were “offensive” it was never perceived to be a compliment. But times have changed. In many ways, it could be a good thing to be an “offensive driver”. However, you should know it’s not the same as being an aggressive driver.

Generally speaking, to be a defensive driver means to look out for the other driver, cyclist, pedestrian – the other road user. When they do something that affects your progress, you respond to them by slowing, honking, changing lanes, or by stopping. Defensive driving as thought by many was to drive slowly and to brake when something unexpected happens. That doesn’t always work. There are times where you really need to make the first move. I was recently speaking with a colleague about the difference between defensive versus offensive. In short; offensive driving is putting your vehicle is a safe place after anticipating possible problems to your vehicle. It’s you making the first move.

The same can be said with sports. There’s an offensive side and a defensive side to many team sports. The defensive side essentially responds to what the offensive side does toward them. When it comes to driving, it seems to be similar, but it doesn’t have to always be that way.

Being a sports fan I understand the saying “the best defense is a good offence”. This often means the offensive side controls the play. The defensive side responds to their moves and sometimes they get trapped. This can also work while driving. Driving is a team sport. Instead of waiting for another driver to do something, you respond early by doing something first to avoid the entire situation.

For example, purposely driving beside open space will allow for the driver in the next lane room to move in case they have to swerve or if they lose control. This means you took action before you needed to, as opposed of waiting for a driver to swerve before doing something. Another example is leaving additional space in front of your vehicle while stopped in traffic. The added space in front means you have a place to go if the driver behind was sliding on the wet road and needed more time to stop. These examples are what you would do first; before the other drivers around you screwed up.

Offensive driving in the past was perceived as forcing vehicles around you to respond to you. Offensive driving has changed, or at least should change. You have the power to change it. Being an offensive-defensive driver is the new trend. Think of offensive driving as proactive driving. It’s not about always slowing and being passive any longer. It’s also about accelerating and taking the first actions to avoid a crash or possible risky situation.

Despite what name you call it, it’s more important to be proactive. Make the first move to protect you, your passengers, other road users and your vehicle. Be in control. It’s the new trend.

Posted by: safedriver | January 2, 2017

Texting while stopped at a light is still dangerous

textingLife is busy, I get that. Taking the opportunities to get things done when you get the chance is part of our daily routine. However, chances are being taken that can create major problems that many fail to realize. What am I talking about? Many people are still texting in the vehicle, but not just while in motion, but also texting while stopped at a red light. But is that so bad?

A recent Canadian poll conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) asked over 2000 drivers if they text while stopped. Roughly a third of those polled said they do. The plus side is that roughly two-thirds of those polled say they do not. Whether or not those who said they don’t text while stopped are telling the truth is another story. (Information can be found here https://www.caa.ca/many-canadians-admit-to-texting-at-red-lights-2/?sf51632905=1)

Is it a big deal if you’re stopped at a red light and you check your phone for messages? BIG. Your mind is now taken away from the entire driving environment. You’re distracted. When you look up and see traffic moving, you’ll move instinctively, but it may not be safe to do so. It’s a reaction, not a thought-provoking decision.

Many times over the years I would see traffic stopped at a red light. Traffic in the left turning lane would have an advanced green light and they begin to move while the rest of us have a red light. Suddenly, a driver facing the solid red light begins to move and goes straight through the intersection on a red light. Why? Because they looked up and saw traffic beside them moving. Yes, they were moving, but they had the light that allowed them to make that left turn.

The driver who was distracted with their cell phone looked up and was disorientated with their surroundings. You may have done it yourself. It will generally take a few seconds to get your mind back on track after focusing on something else for a few seconds. Luckily, some of those drivers who went through the red light went through without incident, but that doesn’t always happen. Others aren’t so lucky.

Think of this; you’re the first person in line at a red light in the right lane. You look down to your phone to text or read a text. You look up to see a green light and hit the gas because you feel you’re already late in moving. The only problem is that it wasn’t clear to proceed. A pedestrian or cyclist wasn’t through the crosswalk yet, but you hit the gas. Your mind was on. You jeopardized the safety of other road users.

Checking the phone for messages while stopped still may not seem like a big deal to many drivers, but after getting into the habit of checking while stopped, things can escalate. The next thing they’ll do is check their phone when they’re traveling the speed limit with no one around them, maybe as they drive on a quiet residential street. After that, they’ll begin checking their phone when traffic is near them. It can start small and then grow into major issues. **How distracted driving really affects us can be found HERE.

So why is it so important for some people to check their phones while driving? They often feel like they’re missing out on something. In many jurisdictions using a hand held device while in the driving position is prohibited by the law. A charge can come with a big fine and demerit points. But people still do it. Being stopped at a red light or stop sign is you still being in the driving position. You’re still in control of your motor vehicle – theoretically. Wait until you’re safely parked before checking your messages. Trust me, your messages can wait. Our lives are more important.

Posted by: safedriver | December 17, 2016

Vehicle electronics makes clearing off a vehicle more challenging

20161217_115330Winter comes and winter goes. Depending on where you are, you’ll either get snow and ice or you won’t. To those of us who get a lot of snow, clearing snow off your vehicle is something we all have to do, but it will take on a whole new meaning if you have a modern vehicle. Let’s start with the fact that your entire vehicle should be cleared of snow; not just the windows. Many drivers take the easy road and barely brush off enough glass to see. Clearing off the vehicle takes more effort than that, especially with our modern vehicles.

Many new vehicles come equipped with modern electronics to help drivers become safer on the roads. Some of these electronics include back-up cameras, blind spot indicators and lane departure warning sensors…just to name a few. These vehicle advancements won’t help you if they’re covered in snow, ice or just the everyday winter grime. The first thing you’ll need to do is find out where these sensors and cameras are located. Your owner’s manual can help you with this. Knowing where they’re located will aid you with ensuring they are cleared from the elements before driving away. They won’t help you if the sensor or camera can’t locate what you’re trying to see or avoid.

Once you know where these sensors or cameras are located, don’t think that clearing them of snow, ice or grit once will do the trick. If the roads become slushy or more snow falls they can easily get covered up again. Each time you’ve parked after reaching your destination, check these sensors and cameras to ensure they are clear before driving away again. For example, if you have blind spot indicators and they’re covered in snow, the light won’t flash to let you know a vehicle is next to you. If you tend to trust these devices over time to let you know if it’s safe to change lanes, you could be in for a rude awakening.

20161217_115353The same could be said for the back-up camera. If it’s covered in snow, ice or grime, you won’t be able to see anything and that could mean backing into another vehicle, garage door or pedestrian. Take those extra 2 seconds before entering your vehicle to clean it off before you begin to drive away. If your vehicle is equipped with a Lane Departure Warning camera, it’s often positioned on the top of the windshield. Like many drivers, they may use wipers to clear off the windshield. Using just the wipers doesn’t allow you to maximize your visibility, plus the snow you leave on the top of the windshield will stop the Lane Departure Warning camera from identifying if you’re beginning to wander in your lane. Don’t be that type of driver; clear off the entire windshield before driving away.

Since the automotive industry has given drivers additional safety features, they can only work when the sensors and cameras are usable and clear. Knowing they are all clear before you drive away can aid you in driving more safely. Or…you could drive like we did 20 years ago by relying on your own abilities and not the intelligence of the vehicle.

Posted by: safedriver | November 27, 2016

How a zipper merge is supposed to work

zipperWay back in the early 1900’s a man by the name of Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American engineer, invented the modern zipper. A few years later, traffic gridlock was invented. It’s too bad the two couldn’t work together and solve a problem.

When traffic is merging into another lane, such as in a construction zone, a lane closure or a highway or freeway, it helps all drivers if they could safely and smoothly merge together. Sort of like how a zipper works. This is often been referred to as the “zipper merge” because drivers from two lanes blend into one in what appears to be a seamless process. Well…it should be seamless, but it often isn’t.

For many people, it makes sense to use the zipper merge to blend into traffic. It takes very little effort, but it does take effort from all those involved. If you’re already in the flowing lane it’s best to keep a proper following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. You can still drive as fast as the traffic ahead of you. You just happen to have a larger gap between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Although many drivers believe following distance is judged by car lengths, it’s not. It’s judged by how many seconds you are traveling behind the vehicle in front of you. Following distance can be explained more HERE.

100_2572For those who are traveling along the lane which is closing with the hope to enter the flowing lane, you also must keep a safe following distance. Keeping this space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you will help you to slide smoothly over into the next lane – aka like a zipper. You can really help yourself by keeping that extra space. Mistakes I see every day during my commute has drivers following too closely on the flowing lane and the same for those needing to merge with the other traffic. Neither side can allow the other side to slide over in the zipper merge. This is when frustration and unnecessary braking happens. It slows the traffic down even more. What happened to cooperative driving?

Traditionally, the zipper merge is often referred to and used by waiting until you reach the end of the closing lane and then slide over. Many drivers feel like those drivers are cutting off the drivers who are already in the flowing lane. Yes and no. Regardless of when you’re merging in, you’re most likely moving in front of another vehicle anyway, so what’s the big deal? Just do it and accept that other drivers will need to merge into your lane. Here’s how the zipper merge traditionally works in slow traffic http://journalstar.com/video-how-zipper-merge-works/youtube_c53c06cc-e77c-58a3-9b07-37af397163f4.html

Some drivers believe merging in early is the polite way to do it. Others believe merging in at the end of the closed lane allows for more flowing lanes before the closed lane. Whether you believe merging in early or merging in late is appropriate, creating a space large enough between vehicles to allow traffic to blend in together still needs to happen. So create the space… and zip it.

moneyThroughout life we try to protect ourselves. Many people try to eat healthy so they can lead a healthy life. Others look out for themselves financially so they can live a worry-free lifestyle in the retirement. It’s about planning out their future. The same can be said for the upkeep of your vehicle. Waiting until something goes wrong can often lead to financial issues. Vehicle repairs often happen well after the warranty expires and that can lead to major financial concerns for many people. Is there anything you can do to remove such a burden of high repair costs?

Have you ever thought of purchasing an extended vehicle warranty? An extended warranty is similar to insurance; it protects you from a major financial loss from unexpected vehicle repair costs. It helps to ensure repair costs are covered without the financial stress you would have if you had to pay for it all at once. This mental distraction can easily cause you to lose your focus each time you drive. An extended warranty can definitely pay off in the long run!

contractHow do you decide whether you should get one? The longer you keep your vehicle, the more wear and tear the parts may have. This wear and tear usually means major repairs are around the corner, and usually well after the manufacturer warranty has expired. These repairs would not necessarily be the usual $200. We’re talking hundreds or thousands of dollars. This makes the warranty something most drivers could really benefit from. However, there are a few things you should consider before jumping in with both feet to get that warranty.

Many extended warranties will cover most major vehicle components, but they are not as detailed as the “bumper-to-bumper” warranties which accompany new vehicles. Many extended warranties will not include items such as the windshield, headlights, or light bulbs. The daily wear items are vehicle parts that deteriorate over time from normal use. This will also include tires, brakes, and shocks.

Modern vehicles are more complex than older vehicles of just 10 years ago. These vehicles are equipped with expensive technology and computerized equipment, so when any of these systems fail, it can be expensive to diagnose and repair the problem. Since new vehicles are more mechanically reliable than ever before, a vehicle’s computerized systems represent one of the main reasons to purchase an extended warranty.

So who should think about getting an extended warranty? An extended warranty is ideal for someone who is on a fixed budget and does not want to be surprised with expensive repair bills. With that budget in mind, don’t always look for the cheapest coverage. Look for the coverage that gives you everything you need. Many companies can offer some form of discount. There’s no harm in asking and you may be surprised what you may get. Let them know your budget.

To know if an extended warranty is for you, add up how much you would have typically spent for repairs on your previous vehicles and compare the total to the price of the warranty. For example, if you’ve paid roughly $500 for repairs, compare that against the cost of the extended warranty. It would also be a wise choice if you searched the history of repairs for vehicles like yours. If the history determines high repair costs as the vehicle ages, an extended warranty may be a wise investment. You may also want to speak to a trusted automotive technician to determine which repairs would be common for the type of vehicle you have. This conversation would clarify if an extended warranty would work for you. And getting a quote is easy!

Once you’ve decided to purchase an extended warranty, you’ll have a contract with that warranty provider. In many cases, the warranty provider will offer a trial period of the warranty. Look over the contract carefully to ensure it’s what you really need and want before you decide this is for you.

Making modifications to your vehicle may put your warranty at risk and repairs may not be honored. Verify with the warranty provider before making any changes to your vehicle to ensure those changes would be covered under the warranty. Certain changes could be honored but the value of the warranty may be increased. Most extended warranties require you to perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. You need to show you’re looking after your investment.

Think of an extended warranty like health insurance or house insurance. You hope you never have to use it, but it’s comforting to know it’s there if you do. It’s SO worth it. Low monthly payments are often easier for most people to accept than having to pay out thousands of dollars up front for the repairs. In our financial world, we need vehicle protection. Not just for the safety of driving a vehicle, but for the financial security in our lives. The added benefit is with an extended warranty, you take your vehicle into the repair shop, and they deal directly with the warranty provider administrator, so you won’t have to deal with deciding on the price of expensive repairs. Sounds like a plan to me.

**To try an online quote from Endurance Warranty, click HERE.

Posted by: safedriver | November 9, 2016

The facts about nitrogen filled tires

Hamilton 2-20130926-00585More and more vehicles are being sold with nitrogen in their tires compared to having the tires filled with compressed air. Is this the way of the future when it comes to our vehicles? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to using nitrogen instead of compressed air? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Nitrogen is less likely to leave through the tire rubber than compressed air would. This means your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term. Passenger vehicles can benefit from the more stable air pressures. But there’s more that drivers should be aware of. Some air pressure pumps will carry water inside it, usually in a vapour format. This humidity (water) is not a good thing to have inside your tire. Water, whether it’s present as a vapor or as a liquid, can cause more pressure changes with changes of temperature than dry air does.

When the tires lose pressure it can become a serious vehicle handling issue. An underinflated tire has less tread making contact with the road surface. This reduction in traction can seriously affect the way you brake and steer. Not only that, those spots on the tire wear down quicker than the rest of the tire and that uneven wear means new tires sooner.

Tires are generally inflated with compressed air which is a combination of roughly 78% nitrogen (N2), 21% oxygen (O2) and 1% other miscellaneous gases. Here’s a fact: all gasses will expand when heated and will contract when cooled. Tire inflation pressures tend to rise and fall with changes in outside temperature by about one PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10° Fahrenheit, or 6° Celsius, change in outside temperature. For these reasons, it’s recommended you check tire pressures early in the morning before temperatures really change significantly. The natural radiant heat of the sun or the heat generated by driving can actually cause the tire pressure to increase.

nitro-picPure nitrogen has been used to inflate tires because it doesn’t support moisture or combustion. The challenge facing filling your tires with nitrogen has been its method of supply and cost.

So, is it worth it to inflate your tires with pure nitrogen? If you can go somewhere that provides free nitrogen, then absolutely. However, many service providers are offering prices around $5 per tire to a less reasonable $10 per tire or more to fill your tire up with pure nitrogen. Some service providers provide air compressors for free or you may have to pay a few coins to fill up all of your tires.

However, rather than paying extra for pure nitrogen, you would be better off buying an accurate tire pressure gauge to allow you to check each tire pressure regularly. Fuel economy will depend on how well you can maintain proper air pressure in all four tires. It doesn’t really matter what type of gas is in the tire. If the tire is properly inflated, the fuel economy will be consistent.

Posted by: safedriver | October 29, 2016

Be a good role model…in life and while driving

driving-tips-car-games-2009-01-711x260I try to be a good role model. With 4 kids, plus their friends, watching me, it’s sometimes tough to do the proper thing as a parent. Being tired or frustrated leads us into doing the wrong things at times. We know as parents we shouldn’t follow the rule of “Do as I say, not as I do”. There’s often that little voice in the back of my head that tells me “Don’t do it! The kids are watching!” which helps to keep me in line when I may be tempted to do the wrong thing in front of my kids. That same voice also lets me know I’m doing the right thing. That’s reassuring. Maybe you have that same voice in your head?

Despite the number of years you’ve been driving, there are always temptations to perhaps not do the proper thing while driving. Having a bad day or a bad moment may temp drivers to verbalize their displeasure toward another driver. Bite your tongue and say nothing. Be patient. I remind myself of the same advice I’ve given to thousands of drivers about letting it go. I honestly do feel better when I do let the frustration pass by, even if it does take a few minutes. Not only does it help to let it go so you can make better driving choices, it helps to send the message to your kids who are in the vehicle with you that staying calm is a better idea while driving.

I’m not sure how I would feel if any of my kids got in trouble from something they did while driving and all they did was act the same way I normally do. I take that back. I know exactly how I would feel. I would feel like I let my kids down, especially if they said to me “Dad, I only did what you do all the time.” Doesn’t really sound fair to them now does it?

I recently watched the dad of friends of my kids show a poor driving style. Being a positive role model is more than just keeping your temper in check, it’s also about how much of the traffic laws you follow. Driving behind them I witnessed the dad rolling through 4 stop signs. He wasn’t even close to stopping when he needed to. It was like the signs weren’t there. Both of his kids were in the vehicle with him. Does this mean when they learn to drive it’s okay for them to do the same thing?

Remember, when your kids learn to drive, the role model they’ve had their entire lives when it comes to driving is you. If you roll stops, they will too. If you talk on your cell phone while driving they will too. If you constantly speed, they will too. The list is endless. So make the best of it and show your kids how to be the best driver there is. Your kids are depending on you.

Posted by: safedriver | October 19, 2016

Driving in rush hour isn’t that bad

toronto-trafficLike millions of people every day, I have to drive in rush hour traffic. Maybe I’m blessed because I get to do it twice. How lucky am I? Instead of rush hour, I would prefer to drive in rush minute, but that will never happen. I joke because in reality, why get upset about it? It is what it is. Some of us have to spend over an hour to reach our destination in rush hour. It can take a toll on us, but there are things you can do to help keep your stress level down.

The first thing to do to help you keep your sanity is to accept it. You don’t have to like the fact you need to drive in rush hour traffic. You just need to accept it as part of your driving life. Just like driving in snowy weather. I may not like it, but considering where I live, I do accept it.

Let’s face facts, driving in rush hour will mean a lot of stop and go traffic. Remove your distractions within your vehicle before starting your commute. Many drivers will have their coffee with them, so decide when it’s best to have a sip. If all the traffic around you has stopped and so are you, take a quick drink. Tilting your head back while in stop and go traffic may cause you to be late responding to brake lights ahead of you. You should also set up your music ahead of time if that’s what you like to do. It stops you from being distracted while in motion trying to get that good tune. Put your phone on silent and put that away as well. Loose objects can also distract you, so keep those secured as well.

Choosing the lane that will allow you to easily reach your destination is obviously helpful. Plan your route to ensure you’re in that lane soon enough to avoid making last minute lane changes. Many drivers make the error of last minute changes. This adds risk to themselves and other road users. Early lane changes mean less risk of collisions, less stress for you and a calmer driving environment.

Speaking of lane changes, are you the type of driver who tends to weave in and out of traffic, trying to get ahead? It’s not worth it. I see it happen just about every day and I often pass that driver who was trying to get ahead. Stay patient and choose that lane which flows the best. On the expressway, I choose the lane that allows other drivers a safe entry onto the freeway. It helps with the “zipper effect” so traffic can blend in and flow nicely. And avoid tailgating. You need time to see brake lights, time to get your foot from the gas to the brake and time to stop. More about tailgating here.

Drivers make mistakes. I get that. We all make mistakes from time to time. Remember that if a driver cuts you off, they most likely didn’t do it on purpose. Don’t take it personally. They were just trying to do a lane change; maybe to avoid another driver. Perhaps they thought they had more room than they actually had. They weren’t trying to annoy you….as much as you may think they were.

Let’s talk loss of time. There will be slowdowns that aren’t always there each time you make that commute. There may be added road construction or a collision that slows down traffic. Leave early enough that will allow you to reach your destination on time just in case there are slowdowns. If the slowdown causes you to be later than normal, take a deep breath. It’s better to be slightly late than involved in a collision or get a ticket because of aggressive driving. Talk to your employer about making up lost time if that was to happen.

If driving in this traffic isn’t your thing, try alternatives. Use public transit if it’s available. It gives you time to relax before you reach your destination. Another option is to share the drive by carpooling. It can reduce the cost of fuel, maintenance and perhaps parking costs if you share the drive with other people. It can also help reduce your stress level since you get to relax as the passenger from time to time.

Removing this kind of stress can help you make better driving choices, whether you drive in rush hour or rush minute.

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