So you’re going away.  You’ve got an action-packed week planned in a steamy waterfront location and these five days off work are your ticket to happiness that will drive you through the rest of the summer.  That is, if you make it there.  It seems like accidents happen more frequently in the summer, probably as a result of the increased number of cars on the road and drivers that are unfamiliar with the ways of the road.  There’s no discernible way to make traffic go away, or even a surefire way around it, we just have to deal with it.

However, what is the best way to deal with an increasing traffic problem?  Do we just creep along and ruin the vacation for our car mates with our incessant cursing and complaining?  Do we sink into the ultra-relaxed vacation version of ourselves and just take it all in as part of the experience?  The solid answer is that we do whatever works for us.  There’s nothing you can do to get through it faster.  You’re not going to make it any better; the only thing you can do is make sure you’re not making it worse.

  • Keep Your Eyes on The Road – Pay attention! The best way to contribute to traffic is by not paying attention and causing a fender bender that makes it all worse.  Don’t take your eyes off the road.  This means that you don’t get distracted by what is going on in your vehicle, you don’t use the abandoned car on the side of the road as your source of entertainment, and you don’t spend more time looking at the pretty birdies than watching the cars in front of you.  If the car in front of you moves six feet, and you don’t follow, you’re going to make everyone very angry.
  • Put Your Phone Down – Even if you’ve been living under a rock for several years, and you don’t completely understand that driving with your phone is dangerous, listen well. Driving while playing with your cell phone is incredibly dangerous, and distracting.  It is quickly becoming the biggest reason for car accidents, and no one in your life is important enough to risk your life.  When you’re sitting in traffic, put your phone down.  Stop texting.  Stop playing Candy Crush.
  • Follow Procedure – If you’re involved in a fender bender, and you can get off the road; do it. This is the proper procedure for car accidents that do not involve grievous injury or serious vehicular damage.  This helps clear the road for traffic to proceed, without an enormous interruption.
  • Go with the Flow – All traffic patterns have a flow, and it is the driver’s responsibility to keep up with that flow. This means maintaining the speed of the cars around you; moving with them and stopping with them.  An interruption in the flow of traffic makes it worse, and leaves drivers open to the potential of dangerous lane-switching maneuvers.  Keep up with what is going on around you.
  • Rely on Passengers – If you’ve got a passenger, let them wrangle the kids. Ask for their help with food and drinks, or with finding an alternate route.  Allow your passengers to play the role of DJ, and keep your head in the game.  Focus on the road more, and less on what’s going on in your car and on your radio.
  • Minimize GPS Distractions – When it comes to following a GPS, pay more attention to the road. No amount of directions can make up for good judgement.  Also, a ridiculous amount of focus on, yet another, tiny screen can cause accidents.  Don’t be the person who is so intent on finding an alternate route that you forget about all the rules of the road.

True, most of the above mentioned suggestions involve paying closer attention, but they need to be spelled out.  Traffic is difficult to manage for everyone; no one enjoys it, but there are ways to get through it with minimal damage.  There is no substitute for driving defensively and excellent judgement, but even using these tactics, accidents happen; traffic happens.  Keep your temper, you’ll get there, but if traffic is the start of your vacation, use the aforementioned suggestions to get through it safely.