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How to improve your safety during rush hour

Rush hour rolls around twice a day, lasting for several hours each time. Even if you do your best to stay off the road during this time, it's not always possible. For example, if you work in downtown Columbia, there's a good chance you'll find yourself stuck in traffic at least once a day.

In addition to the way it slows you down, there's another reason rush hour driving is so stressful: It increases the risk of an accident.

Here are several steps you can take to improve your safety during rush hour:

  • Be patient: This all starts with leaving extra time in your schedule. When you're in a hurry, you're more likely to push the envelope. And when you do this, you're also more likely to make mistakes that result in an accident. Patience is important to your safety in rush hour traffic.
  • Change your route: If you've come to find that your current route is dangerous, maybe because you constantly come across accidents, make a change. Consider all your options, test them out and then stick with the one that provides the highest level of comfort.
  • Don't get too close: When traffic comes to a crawl, it's common to find yourself in close proximity to the vehicle in front of yours. Rather than get too close, leave a couple car lengths of space. This gives you more space to stop in the event of an emergency.
  • Choose a lane: Many people look for ways to beat rush hour traffic, often assuming that jumping from lane to lane allows them to do just that. This may save you a few minutes of time, but it also increases your anxiety and risk of an accident.
  • Practice defensive driving: There's never a good time to be aggressive when driving. Instead, defensive driving puts you in the best position to avoid an accident.

Even though it's frustrating to drive in rush hour traffic, if it's part of your day, you need to find a way to remain calm.

If you're involved in a rush hour accident, maybe because another driver strikes you from behind, pull to the shoulder of the road and call 911.

After you receive treatment, contact your insurance company and devise a plan to hold the negligent driver responsible for causing the crash.

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