According to The Hill, both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore ranked among the top U.S. cities with the worst traffic delays. Navigating gridlock can be stressful and frustrating. Here are some tips for handling the inevitable traffic in our area:
- Follow at a safe distance. While it’s tempting to minimize the space between your car and the one in front of you to prevent others from merging ahead of you, it’s important to maintain a safe following distance. Allowing space between your vehicle and the one in front gives you time to react to any changes in the traffic flow.
- Stay alert. Avoid the temptation to reach for your phone when stuck in heavy traffic. It’s important to keep your eyes on the road. According to the non-profit In Control, “looking at one text has been found to tie up your brain for the next 27 seconds.” It is also necessary to stay alert during bumper-to-bumper traffic because the likelihood of an accident is higher when there are more vehicles around.
- Be patient. Remind yourself that traffic is a part of driving, and shift your mindset to using this extra time as an opportunity to relax. You can try some breathing exercises, like these from the Mayo Clinic, or put on relaxing music or a favorite podcast. Give yourself extra time to drive to your destination so you don’t feel rushed if you do get stuck.
- Try an alternate route. If you’re stuck in the same traffic every day, look at Google Maps for an alternate route. Although it may not be quicker, it can offer a change of scenery. Taking a different way may also be less stressful.
Traffic is an everyday part of living in the DMV, so make sure you’re prepared and have the tools you need to maneuver through it.
Here are some additional resources for driving in traffic: