Traffic Safety Tips for Texas Drivers
Driving on the wide open Texas roads can be an incredible, exhilarating experience – but once the cars start crowding the highways, it can be a frustrating time. Indeed, driving in slow-moving traffic may seem safer than blazing down the road at 80MPH, but it actually requires a considerable amount of attention to the road.
Watch for Target Fixation
Most motorcyclists are well aware of the dangers of target fixation, but did you know that it can happen in automobiles too? Target fixation is the act of being so intently focused on an object in front of you that you end up subconsciously driving – and thereby crashing – into it.
While target fixation for automobiles happens more commonly at night with lighted objects, it can also happen during periods of heavy traffic. Getting caught in the routine of “stop, go, stop, go” traffic can keep you fixated on the automobile in front of you. This, combined with the mind-numbing monotony of traffic, can make it hard to gauge the distance between you and the vehicle, especially when the car in front deviates from the “stop-and-go” routine with a sudden stop.
When you’re in stop-and-go traffic, make sure to stay alert. Don’t look at the car in front of you – look through the car in front of you, and stay focused on what’s ahead.
If You’re Tired, Pull Over
Isn’t it convenient that traffic typically happens early in the morning or late into the afternoon, when there’s a good chance that drivers are going to be drowsy? Driving while tired is an ever-growing problem that gets exacerbated by the slow-moving monotony of heavy traffic. Stop-and-go traffic can be like a rocking chair lulling you into sleep, and the lack of any movement or airflow can make drivers instantly drowsy.
We may not think much of driving while drowsy, but studies have shown that it’s just as dangerous as driving while drunk or intoxicated. If you feel your eyelids getting heavy, don’t risk a potential accident – pull off to the side of the road and take a short nap, or exit off the nearest ramp and get yourself a cup of coffee. Not only will you be refreshed and more alert, but traffic may have dispersed by then too.
Stash the Phone, Even If You’re Not Moving
Everyone knows the dangers of using a phone while driving – it’s one of the major causes of accidents in teens and young adults. However, most people assume that it’s okay in traffic – after all, if cars are barely moving, there’s no chance of any danger, right?
Wrong; using your phone while you’re in traffic is just as dangerous, if not more so, than using it while driving at high speeds. In fact, it’s actually making traffic worse for others on the road. According to a study by the University of Utah, people who use their phones while in traffic tend to drive slower in traffic and be inattentive when traffic does pick up speed. This causes longer, slower traffic jams – and a great chance of an accident on the road due to distraction.
Don’t give in to the false sense of security that occurs when traffic is barely moving. Regardless of speed, you still need to be aware of everything that happens on the road, as one small mistake can result in an expensive fender bender or pile-up.