Handling Heavy Traffic: Summer Traffic Safety Tips

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Handling Heavy Traffic: Summer Traffic Safety Tips

Welcome to the third article in our series, “Summer Driving Safety Tips and Tricks.” Today, we’ll explore essential strategies for navigating heavy summer traffic safely and efficiently. If you missed our previous articles, be sure to check out Beating the Heat: Keeping Your Car Cool and Efficient and Safe Summer Road Trips: Planning and Preparation.

Navigating Summer Traffic Jams: Patience is Key

Summer often brings increased traffic, especially on weekends and holidays. Here are some summer traffic safety tips to help you navigate congested roads:

  1. Plan Your Route: Before heading out, check traffic reports and use navigation apps to plan the most efficient route. Apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze can provide real-time traffic updates. Always set up your navigation before starting your journey and avoid interacting with your phone while driving.
  2. Time Your Travel: If possible, avoid peak travel times. Early mornings or late evenings often have less traffic.
  3. Maintain a Safe Distance: In heavy traffic, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the “3-second rule”: choose a fixed object ahead of you and count the seconds it takes you to reach that object after the car in front of you has passed it. In ideal conditions, it should be at least 3 seconds. In heavy traffic or adverse weather, increase this to 4-5 seconds.
  4. Stay in Your Lane: Frequent lane changes rarely save time in heavy traffic and can increase the risk of accidents. Pick a lane and stick to it when possible.
  5. Use Turn Signals: Always signal your intentions, whether changing lanes or merging. This helps other drivers anticipate your movements.

Staying Calm and Focused in Heavy Traffic

Maintaining your composure in frustrating traffic situations is crucial for safety. Here are some tips:

  1. Practice Deep Breathing: If you feel stress rising, take deep breaths to help calm your nerves.
  2. Listen to Calming Music or Podcasts: Prepare a playlist of soothing music or interesting podcasts to keep you relaxed and engaged during slow traffic. Important safety note: Always set up your audio before starting your journey. Never adjust your music, change playlists, or handle your phone while driving. If you need to make changes, pull over to a safe location first.
  3. Take Breaks: If traffic is at a standstill, find a safe place to pull over and stretch your legs. This can help refresh your mind and body.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Keep water in your car and drink regularly, especially during hot weather. Remember to stay focused on driving; if you need to take a drink, wait until you’re stopped in traffic or pull over to a safe location.
  5. Avoid Aggressive Drivers: If you encounter aggressive drivers, don’t engage. Let them pass and maintain your calm driving approach.

Utilizing Navigation Tools and Planning Alternative Routes

Technology can be a great asset in managing summer traffic. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  1. Use Real-Time Navigation Apps: Apps like Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps provide live traffic updates and can suggest alternative routes. Always set up your navigation and enter your destination before you start driving. If you need to make changes to your route, pull over to a safe location first.
  2. Plan Multiple Routes: Before your trip, familiarize yourself with several possible routes to your destination. This allows for flexibility if one route is congested.
  3. Monitor Traffic Reports: Listen to local radio stations or use traffic report websites to stay informed about accidents, construction, or other delays. If using a website or app for this information, always do so before you start driving or have a passenger assist you.
  4. Consider Traffic Patterns: Learn the typical traffic patterns in your area. Some routes might be less congested at certain times of the day.
  5. Be Flexible: If possible, be open to changing your plans. Sometimes, delaying your trip by an hour or two can make a significant difference in traffic conditions.


Navigating summer traffic requires patience, planning, and a calm mindset. By following these summer traffic safety tips, you can reduce stress and ensure a safer journey for yourself and others on the road. Remember, no matter how frustrating traffic might be, safety should always be your top priority. Avoid any activities that could distract you from driving, and always follow traffic laws and safety guidelines.

Stay tuned for the next article in our series, where we’ll discuss protecting your skin and eyes while driving in the summer sun.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic accident, Stillman & Friedland Attorneys are here to help. Our experienced team can guide you through the legal process, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Call our Nashville team at 615-244-2111 for a free, confidential consultation. You can also reach out via our live chat or online contact form.

Stay safe out there, Nashville.

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Stillman and Friedland