The average American spends about an hour a day commuting to work. While accidents can happen at any time, drivers are more likely to be stressed, rushed and tired during their evening commutes, which increases their risk of getting into an accident.
In fact, 62% of fatal commuting accidents occur between 4 pm and 6pm, according to http://sigurdsonlaw.com/. The risk of getting into an accident is greater on Mondays and Fridays, when drivers are more likely to be distracted and less likely to pay attention to road conditions.
Although drivers are more likely to be distracted during evening commutes, accidents can also occur during morning commutes. Here are five tips for a safer daily commute.
1. Leave Early
No matter how long or short your commute, it’s important to leave early to avoid rushing. About one-third of traffic accident deaths are caused by speeding.
Leaving early, even by just a few minutes, will give you a buffer to get to your destination on time and without having to go over the speed limit.
Be prepared for any exits you may have to take, and make lane changes early on to ensure that you’re able to get off the highway safely.
2. Leave the Distractions Behind
Avoid anything that will take your eyes off of the wheel – even if only for a second – including:
- Using your smartphone
- Changing the radio station
- Fixing your hair or makeup
It’s easy to get distracted while driving, especially in today’s world where people are glued to their smartphones. But leaving the distractions will help you stay alert and focused, so you can more easily avoid potential accidents.
3. Take the Safest Route
If you know that the highway will be packed during rush hour, try taking back roads home or choosing a less-congested route. Alternative routes may be longer, but with less congestion, you may wind up getting home more quickly.
Back roads may also provide a more scenic route, so you can actually enjoy your ride home.
4. Avoid Aggressive Driving
It’s easy to get frustrated and angry when driving to or from work, particularly if there’s traffic, an accident or you’re getting cut off by other drivers. But it’s better to remain patient and courteous. Driving aggressively will only increase your risk of getting into an accident.
Avoid tailgating and cutting off other drivers. Give other drivers space. Try to avoid making gestures. Take deep breaths, and try to keep your cool to stay safe on your commute.
5. Prepare for the Sun
Depending on the season, you may be commuting to or from work when the sun is rising or setting. Sun glare can be dangerous and interfere with your vision while driving. Be prepared for harsh sunlight by wearing sunglasses and using your car’s visor.
Make sure that your windshield is clean and that your wiper blades are working properly.
One final tip: stay alert and focused. It’s easy to let your mind wonder during your morning or evening commute, especially if you take the same route every day. Make an effort to stay alert and focused so that you can react to potentially dangerous situations on the road.