5 Tips for Driving During Rush Hour in Houston

Rush hour in Houston typically lasts from 7:00 to 9:00 every morning and 4:00 to 7:00 every evening. It is unfortunate that so many commuters start and end their workdays with rush-hour stress. For many Houstonians, there is simply no avoiding Houston’s rush hour traffic.

While you cannot control how others behave on the road, use these 5 tips for driving during rush hour in Houston, to keep yourself as safe as possible.

1. A Safe Commute Starts Before You Begin Driving

Getting a late start is a surefire way to increase anxiety and adrenaline, and neither of these is good for safe driving. Avoid a late start by planning an early one.

Heading out the door 10 to 15 minutes before you absolutely must be on your way will keep you calmyou have given yourself a time “cushion.”

A calm mind promotes better driving. You will take fewer risks and make better driving decisions. This also gives you time to set up your driving app before you start driving.

2. Keep Your Tires Inflated and Your Gas Tank More Than One-Quarter Of A Tank Full

To avoid unexpected vehicle problems that can quickly slow you down, keep your car well-maintained. Do not ignore “check engine,” “maintenance required,” or other warnings that appear on the dashboard.

Delaying maintenance can leave you broken down on the side of the road and definitely late for work or wherever you may be heading.

Rush Hour Traffic Houston 610 Galleria Area3. Prepare for the Worst and Learn Alternate Routes

Sometimes, your route for getting through rush hour does not work. An accident or construction may be slowing traffic down even more than usual. Or maybe you normally drive through a high traffic area such as the 610 Galleria area. If you know alternate routes, you can avoid a lot of stress.

In short: Prepare for these eventualities by developing familiarity with alternate routes.

You can also use traffic apps for real-time updates and rerouting. Just be mindful of Texas’ cellphone-use-while-driving laws. Never attempt to set up a traffic app while driving.

4. Protect Your Emotional Well Being

Aggressive driving, especially during rush hour, is dangerous. While you might be anxious to get to your location – along with everyone else on the road – aggressive driving will, at best, save you a minute or two. At worst, it will cost you much more, such as a costly ticket for a driving violation. You lose time as you wait for law enforcement to issue the ticket and then lose money when you pay the fine.

Aggressive driving could also lead to an accident, bringing the expense of medical bills, lost wages during recovery, pain and suffering, property damage, and – if you are to blame for the incident – the costs of the victim’s compensation.

According to a 2019 study on driver temperament”

“Results of mixed analysis of variance (M-ANOVA) indicated that the effects of music genre and driver character on driving performance were significant.

The arousal level perceived mental workload, standard deviation of speed, and frequency of lane crossing were higher when driving under the influence of rock music than that when driving under the influence of light music or an absence of music.”

work zones

Take measures to protect and even improve your emotional well-being during rush hour. Practice breathing exercises to keep you calm, unbothered, and driving safely.

Just be sure that as you listen, keep the volume low so you can still hear the sounds around you. Being mindful of your surroundings is an important defensive driving technique. Next are 10 more defensive driving techniques.

5. Practice These 11 Defensive Driving Techniques

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) encourages Houston drivers to follow specific defensive driving techniques, especially during rush hour, including:

  1. Stay focused on driving: It is easy to become distracted while driving, especially during rush hour drudgery. Phones become tempting distractions, as does rooting around for a snack or managing that snack while steering. As reported by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), distracted driving accounted for 487 deaths and 2,824 injuries in Texas traffic crashes during a recent year.
  2. Buckle up: Stay buckled. Minor fender benders can cause serious jolts that lead to injury, and, of course, more intense crashes bring even worse outcomes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to protect yourself in an accident.
  3. Be mindful of your surroundings: Know what vehicles are behind, beside, and in front of you. Stay aware of the distance between your car and the one in front of you and maintain enough room to come to an abrupt stop if needed.
  4. Anticipate: As you observe your surroundings, anticipate other drivers’ moves. This way, you can react if someone suddenly tries to cross into your lane or otherwise encroaches on your space.
  5. Keep a steady speed: Move with the flow of traffic and do not exceed the speed limit, should the opportunity arise. Sudden speedups when you finally have a little room to move generally demand a sudden slowdown a few yards later. Stay steady.
  6. Know the blind spots: You might know your car’s blind spots, but be sure to recognize those of other vehicle operators as well. Trucks cannot always see you, so take care before attempting to pass them. Always check your mirrors and over your own shoulder before changing lanes, merging, or turning.
  7. Do not get boxed in: If you are traveling a multi-lane road, try not to get boxed in by vehicles on each side, in front of, and behind you. Do careful speedups and / or slowdowns to avoid getting stuck in a pack. Such proximity increases the chance for a collision, and if one occurs, there will likely be multiple parties involved, creating a complicated accident aftermath.
  8. Approach intersections carefully: Never assume another car will yield the right of way and do expect that someone will try to race through a yellow light. Give yourself a second or two to determine whether you can proceed safely.
  9. Increase visibility: Keep your headlights and brake lights clean and operational. Use your turn signals and turn on headlights during rain and at dusk. The more visible you are to other vehicle operators, the safer you will be.
  10. Be cautious in work zones: Never ignore a construction traffic sign. Slow or stop upon road workers’ instruction, and if cones are marking a path, follow it carefully.
  11. Stay sharp: Never drive while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You need firing synapses and fast reflexes for safe driving.

We Are Here to Help You Through Rush-Hour Madness

You might do everything right but still end up in a rush-hour accident. You do not have to sort through the accident aftermath on your own. A Houston car accident lawyer from Dax F. Garza, P.C. can manage your case from start to finish, handling all legalities and communication with the at-fault party on your behalf. Reach out today for a free consultation. After that, we will take care of the rest.

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