Traffic Jam Etiquette

Ever get into one of those traffic jams that happen for seemingly no reason? Seriously, why is everybody stopped? There’s no accident. There’s no backed up exit. What is it? Did everyone just decide all at once that it would be fun to slow down my commute? I’m going to be late for my morning meeting, and my boss is going to put this on my permanent record, and the guy in front of me has no idea how to drive, and I’m out of coffee, and…

Anyway, you get the picture. Traffic jams are no fun, and they can make tempers flare. It’s easier than we’d like to admit to be rude to the guy in the car next to you when you’re surrounded by a couple of tons of steel. But laying on your horn and hurling a few choice expletives at your fellow motorists isn’t helping anyone — including you. So how do you get through a traffic jam as painlessly as possible? Here are a few tips on how to navigate congested roadways in a way that helps you and everyone else who’s in your shoes.

Avoid Traffic Jams Altogether

Listen to the radio. Watch the local news before you hit the road. Your friendly local traffic reporter will tell you which roads will wreak havoc on your schedule each morning. If you’re in a time crunch and can’t watch or listen to traffic reports, check out some of the best traffic apps for Android and Apple devices.

Stay Calm

OK, so you find yourself in a traffic jam despite your best efforts to avoid it. Your first reflex may be to get angry or tense. Try to avoid that by following these tips for staying calm. Taking 10 deep breaths while sitting with good posture is enough to relax you so that your blood pressure doesn’t go up.

Contribute to the Solution

This Seattle driver has come up with several solutions for traffic jams. Have you ever been in his shoes? Give some of his suggestions a shot.

Drive Safely!

Avoid the temptation to drive too closely to the car in front of you. You never know when the driver in front of you might hit the brakes, causing a rear collision that will be — guess what? — your fault. Then you’ll be even later for work, and so will the hundreds of cars behind you.

Have Some Fun

Listen to your favorite song. Sing along at the top of your lungs. Hey, you’ve got the time anyway, right?

How do you deal with traffic jams? Tell us in the comments.