Handle Traffic Jam like a Pro
If you’re a professional truck driver, you already know that rush hour can be stressful. The ‘rush hour’ in some locations never ends, instead, the flow of traffic continues all night and day without ever slowing down. Cities like this are Los Angeles, NYC, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Dallas… But for the rest of the country ‘rush hour’ is usually between 8 and 9 am and between 5 and 6 pm. So trying to avoid these times for highway driving is not only good for you as a truck driver, but also for your trucking company as well. Everyone wants you to make it on time!
As truck drivers gain experience and as they drive somewhat familiar routes, they usually plan their schedules around rush hour so they can avoid dealing with it. However, besides regular traffic jams caused by a lot of cars and trucks on the highway due to peak time, there is, of course, many traffic jams caused by unexpected conditions, such as road work, road crashes, closures, weather, etc. Therefore, even the most experienced drivers can not fully predict traffic conditions. This all can be very tough and stressful on you in that driving seat.
Anyways, even with being a pro driver and with planning your trips wisely you will still hit the traffic many, many times. So, here are some small tips on how to handle traffic like a pro.
- First, use Google map and other smartphone apps to find out about the road conditions in advance. As you already know, sometimes taking a longer route can save you time in the end. So, try to do everything you can to avoid being stuck in traffic for hours.
- If re-routing is not an option, try to have some ‘down time’ before you enter a heavy traffic jam. You’ll be more focused and alert if you’re not tired, haven’t eaten in a while, or you are just in a crappy mood. Even a 15-minute break just to walk around and eat a high-protein snack can help you to be at your best.
- Once you hit that traffic, be completely focused on the road. Avoid snacking, using the phone, changing the radio stations, even this may seem like the best time to do so. Even a small distraction can lead to a fatal accident during the traffic jam.
- Keep a safe distance– no tailgating. Maintaining the correct space between your truck and the cars around you is easier said than done. Be ready for cars to pull to a stop out of the blue. Also, cars can suddenly to pull in front of you just because car drivers usually see a truck as the perfect opportunity for a lane change. So be always ready to respond appropriately.
- Follow the flow of traffic, minimizing lane changes. Pay close attention to blind spots. Drive in such a way that leaves enough time and space between you and all others on the road!
- Keep it cool. Another one that is easier said than done. We know that nothing can completely take the stress out of the driving in traffic, but do your best on keeping it under control. If you can’t change it, there is no need to stress over it.
With everything said above, it’s always better to leave some extra time when planning your driving. It will save your nerves and keep you safe. Planning on getting to delivery location even an hour or two early is always a good idea, especially when you have a firm delivery appointment time. A lot can happen out on the road that you can not predict, and there’s nothing wrong with being early. In a matter of fact, a habit of being early is in most cases going to give you many advantages.