Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How to Drive In a Traffic Jam? - Vol.393

Traffic jams are an everyday reality for millions of people around the world. Many drivers plan their day and model their lifestyle according to traffic congestion. The list of things that you can do inside the car while being stuck in traffic grows impressively longer with only our creativity being the limit.

This is not a bad thing, but checking your make up, calling your mother or getting some work done on your laptop isn't going to get you out of that queue. When they are not a result of some unpredictable event, traffic jams follow a certain pattern. The morning and the late afternoon rush hour are times notoriously associated with road congestion.

Tips for a Smooth Passage
So, the first and best thing to do is to try to avoid traffic jams altogether. Keep yourself informed about the current road conditions or any planned works involving the road infrastructure. For this, there are many smartphone apps available. The good old radio is still a solid option too.

If your previous experience allows you to find an alternative route to get from A to B, by all means, use it. However, if staying out of it is impossible you should probably look for some advice about how to cope with a traffic jam. Here are some useful tips:

- Try to predict your route few steps ahead so that you can choose the best lane (changing lanes can be difficult in a traffic jam)
- Stay focused, keep your eyes on the road and check the mirrors
- Signal - make sure that you use the lights, blinkers, and the horn when needed
- Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and follow the traffic flow
- Don't get distracted - loud music or the cellphone ringing constantly can be both distracting and agitating

The Impact on Society
Traffic jams are affecting the individual's quality of life but they are also affecting societies. Longer time spent in the car greatly contributes to pollution, through higher CO2 emission. The noise levels in urban areas are increased. Traffic accidents are also more likely to happen in the stressful, traffic jam, environment.

Some studies have shown that the average American driver, yearly, spends 42 hours more inside the car due to traffic jams. Big cities and frequent inter-city highways are places where traffic congestion most often occurs. For many years, there have been initiatives and attempts to resolve this issue. Introduction of congestion fees was one of the first measures.

A good example of this is London, UK. There, a weekly £50 congestion fee has resulted in a decreased number of vehicles passing through the central areas of the city. Other proposed solutions focus on better planning during the construction of the road infrastructure. Better public transport connections have also been proposed, and a lack of parking was identified as one of the important culprits as well.

Is There a Future for Traffic Jams?
In the future, many traffic experts are hoping that new technologies will enable better traffic control. Drones are already being used to provide real-time information about occurring traffic jams. Systems of smart traffic signals are tested in an attempt to allow for traffic signals to adjust to road conditions at a given time during the day.

Automated vehicles are also seen as a possible solution. Their use will not necessarily decrease the number of cars on the roads. But the hope is that such "smart vehicles" will contribute to smarter travel planning, a decrease in the number of accidents, and a better use of the traffic infrastructure and resources.