Commuting to and from work is the most hectic time of the day for many Arizona drivers. As the fourth largest city in the nation, Phoenix rush hour causes heavy traffic near popular exits between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m and from 4p.m. to 8 p.m. These are the most dangerous times to be on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Arizona ranks a shocking 61% above the national average for fatal car crashes each year, most of which occur during rush hour. It is your duty as a driver to take all precautions to ensure the safety of not only yourself, but your fellow drivers as well. To help you stay safe, we have compiled five useful tips to keep in mind next time you hit the road during rush hour.
Find alternate routes to your destination.
If you experience large amounts of rush hour traffic on your way to work, consider avoiding your usual route. Use Google Maps or a navigation app that accounts for traffic expected along different roads or highways to your destination. If you can dodge such heavily congested areas, taking a different route can make your commute a safer experience and possibly get you there in a shorter amount of time. Your new route will also provide you with a change of scenery you may not have even known you needed.
Leave your home earlier.
Allowing yourself some wiggle room in your travel time will help eliminate the stress caused by sitting through heavy traffic. Knowing that you will make it to your destination on time or early will allow you to think more clearly as you are driving, leading you to make safer driving decisions. Leave your home a little earlier; those few minutes can definitely make a difference.
Listen to music or a podcast while you are driving.
Listening to music or an educational podcast can make your time spent in the car a more productive and pleasant experience. “Road rage” is an ever-existing issue during rush hour, but you can avoid it by playing your favorite artist’s album, or maybe by turning on a podcast during your drive. This will allow you to learn something and make good use of the time that may have otherwise been fill with anger toward your fellow drivers. Using your time wisely may even make your commute become an enjoyable part of your day.
Keep your eyes on the road
You are not driving attentively unless the road is your only focus. Distracted driving is responsible for hundreds of thousands of car accidents every year. Distractions can include texting, eating, talking on the phone or to passengers in the car, and even messing with your stereo or navigation system. Rear-end crashes are commonly the result of distracted driving, which accounted for 25% of fatal accidents from 2013-2015. Arizona is one of the very few states that has yet to enforce laws restricting distracted driving. Texting and driving is particularly dangerous; some even consider it the “new drunk driving.” In the city of Phoenix police officers can fine drivers anywhere from $100-$250 for texting and driving, although statewide bills are still waiting to be passed to ban cellphone usage while operating a vehicle.
When on the road, it is sometimes unpredictable what the drivers around you may do. While there are many factors at play while driving, the only one you can control is yourself; be sure to take all necessary precautions. One mistake drivers often make is quickly weaving in and out of lanes in attempts to bypass traffic. However, this commonly leads to accidents that could have easily been prevented. Darting from lane to lane at high speeds is inherently dangerous, so be smart. Stay in your lane, use your turn signals, and always check your blind spots before making a lane change!
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident it is important to obtain sufficient legal representation. At Torgenson Law, we handle car accident cases every day and we are the best at what we do. Do not hesitate to submit your case on our website or call at (602) 759-0012 for a free review. Always remember, keep your eyes on the road!