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10 top tips when stuck in a traffic jam

Being stuck in traffic is possibly the most pointless waste of time ever. Follow these tips to make it slightly more bearable.

1. Avoid it

Ok, ok, we know – a smarmy start. But you can limit the amount of traffic you have to endure by avoiding driving during rush hour. Obviously if you are a 9 – 5 commuter, by this point you are seething, but if you’re planning a longer trip, you’d do well to plan it off peak. Driving in traffic is a very expensive way of getting from A to B, as each time you stop and start your car requires first gear and uses up a whole heap of petrol to get moving again.

2. Don’t stop

Obviously there will be points where you have to stop or you’ll ram into the car in front, but wherever possible conserve fuel by slowing down rather than frantically accelerating and braking. This “technique” actually has a name: accordion driving. You essentially wait for the car in front to move a suitable distance, then move very slowly behind and try to time it so by the time you reach them they are moving again. Do bear in mind this could be incredibly aggravating for other drivers if you overdo it!

3. Get a hybrid

If you’re one of the aforementioned commuters who have to deal with rush hour traffic on a near daily basis, it could be worth investing in a more fuel efficient car. A hybrid will use much less fuel than a normal petrol or diesel in such situations. Fuel for thought.

4. Turn off the engine

Ok, I know we just told you to not stop, but if things are at a standstill it’s time to turn your engine off and sit tight. If it looks like you won’t be moving for the next few minutes, it’s worth doing as it’ll save you fuel and lower emissions.

5. Listen to the radio

If you’re in slow-moving traffic, tune into your local station and listen out for traffic updates so you can change your plans if necessary. You might want to rethink your route or you might hear the end is in sight. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

6. Ignore the radio, turn on your Sat-Nav

If you’re getting nowhere with the radio, use your navigation system to look up detours instead.

7. Update

If you’re supposed to be at an important meeting or a child’s birthday party you should probably inform the appropriate person of the increasing likelihood of your absence.

8. Embrace the downtime

If you’re stuck with no exit in sight, try and spend your newly gained downtime wisely. Perhaps you could play your favourite iPod playlist and have a sad karaoke party for one, tuck into your packed lunch and have a car picnic or maybe you can think of something a bit less depressing? The point is, there is no point in getting angry about the situation if there is nothing you can do. A good attitude will go miles (sorry).

9. Don’t beep your horn in anger

It’s futile and will make your new auto-neighbours angry. Don’t do it.

10. Practise gratitude

It could always be worse. You could be stuck in the infamous 2010 Chinese traffic jam that lasted 11 days and created a mini roadside economy forcing drivers to pay inflated prices for items such as bottle water, instant noodles and cigarettes. 

Driving Tips  27/10/2015 09:08:39

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