• Tom Girardi

Navigating Southern California traffic jams takes experience

If you have lived in Southern California for any length of time, you have probably experienced the parking lots that comprise the freeways crisscrossing the Los Angeles area. Traffic jams happen far too often in this area and can provide a source of stress, frustration and even anger to the drivers who end up sitting on a freeway. 

Navigating these traffic jams requires some experience. Of course, the only way to get that experience is to get out there and do it. However, some tips are available for new drivers, such as teens, and those who are new to the experience.

The traffic pattern can change radically in a short time

You can go from cruising along at highway speeds to a complete standstill within a matter of minutes and/or miles. You must pay attention at all times in order to appropriately react when needed. The temptation to text, watch videos or do anything other than pay attention when you are crawling through traffic is often overwhelming. However, you need to ignore those inclinations because the environment often changes quickly. Pay attention to the roadway, even if it is boring.

Leave enough space between you and the car in front of you to avoid a collision if it suddenly stops or drastically reduces speed. Yes, another vehicle may take advantage of your buffer zone and move in front of you, but you have to weigh the higher probability of arriving at your destination safely and becoming aggressive or upset when someone does that. Keeping your guard up at all times will more than likely end up serving you well.

Anticipate that something will go wrong

If you prepare yourself to encounter a situation in which the worst will happen, it won't take you by surprise if it does. You probably already worked out ways to avoid hazardous and downright dangerous traffic situations in your head while you were sitting in traffic. These seemingly idle thoughts could end up saving your life. If you think of all the close calls you have had while behind the wheel up to this point, it was your mental preparation and experience that got you through unharmed.

Teenagers don't have the experience, but they could practice scenarios in their heads, which could help them get out of a sticky situation if one arises. Too many people, even new drivers, become complacent rather quickly. Don't let this happen to you, especially on familiar roads.

Make inquiries regarding your rights and legal options

Even the best drivers can end up as victims of serious car accidents. If this happens, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Warning: Don't accept the first offer an insurance company makes to you. Learn about your options.