Traffic is one of the most frustrating road hazards because it can be so difficult to predict. Oftentimes one doesn't exactly know how long it will go on once they get into traffic, with the uncertainty chewing into their daily plans and commitments.
This aspect of traffic is what makes it so stressful to deal with—you are suddenly thrown into a situation driven by fate without any say in the matter.
However, it doesn't always have to be this way. Though traffic is unpredictable in many ways that can't be changed, it is possible to see far enough into the future with certain strategies that you can avoid traffic whenever you can. This is why we've made this article so you can educate yourself about your traffic methods! By looking at local road reports, using traffic apps and paying attention to the weather, you'll be able to save incredible amounts of time.
Local Traffic Reports
The first place you should be checking to avoid traffic are local news and radio stations. This is because they typically have the minute-by-minute updates that you need, allowing you to hear about the traffic as it's occurring.
A local traffic report also supplies you with information about the traffic itself and its cause, something that can help you potentially re-route your trip or get an idea of how long it will take to move through the traffic. For example, if a local news report is describing a crash that is about to be fully cleaned up, then you shouldn't have to re-route your trip to get off the highway as you should be passing by the cause of the traffic quite soon.
It's also important to have the opinion of those experienced with both traffic reports in the area and how to analyze them, as there are likely patterns or trends that you can learn about that aren't as easily reflected on traffic services that try and give you specific, accurate information.
Possibly the most accessible way to see traffic in advance is to access a smartphone app that allows you to keep an up-to-date traffic map and conditions. This doesn't even have to be a specific application that you have for traffic, though—it's actually quite common that traffic apps are navigation apps that help you analyze traffic as much as they work as a GPS.
Using something like Google Maps can be a great way to avoid traffic in general. For example, if you're at work and deciding when to leave, just put in the address that you're traveling to. Google will be able to give you an accurate estimate of how long it will take based on the current traffic, making it easy to know if it's a suitable time to hit the road or not. If you can wait an hour and sit in little to no traffic, you might be saving time overall than if you were to head out anyway!
Another great navigation program is Waze, an application that not only helps navigate you to your destination, but also learn about the surrounding areas on your way there.
Regardless of whether you use Google Maps or Waze, both applications are also equipped to help you re-route in the event that you are suddenly caught in traffic that you couldn't have predicted before. This feature is typically applied automatically, with the program's goal being to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.
The Role of Weather on Traffic
As you can imagine, weather does have a role on traffic. This is because different road conditions require drivers to exert more caution, causing traffic. For example, snowstorms and thunderstorms typically require drivers to drive slower, with the law often stating that it's legally required to drive a certain threshold below the indicated speed limit during tumultuous weather.
However, some people might not listen to these rules and regulations, subsequently bringing more car accidents into the picture as weather conditions get more intense. Because the chance of car accidents occurring increases, so does the possibility of traffic being a problem in the area.