Defensive Driving Tips to Stay Safe During Nashville’s Rush Hour Commute
Driving comes with inherent risks. Whether you are cruising through back-country roads or in the middle of a large city like Nashville during rush hour, there are plenty of dangers that come with operating a heavy piece of machinery like a motor vehicle.
One of the most common causes of a car accident is rush hour traffic. Depending on where you live and work, you might be sharing the road with hundreds or even thousands of other drivers during this time. This amount of heavy traffic, especially in an area like downtown Nashville, means that you have to be alert at all times to avoid colliding with other motorists.
Defensive Driving in Downtown Nashville
There is a big difference between being a safe driver and a defensive driver. Driving defensively means being proactive to avoid danger. Here are a few tips to join the ranks of defensive drivers during your daily commute through Nashville.
Avoid Aggressive Drivers
Heavy traffic jams can cause a lot of impatience. Nashville commuters may be anxious to arrive at work or get home at the end of the day. Sometimes, patience can wear thin and drivers start to make poor decisions. Aggressive driving causes many car accidents every day and often leads to road rage. When you notice another motorist behaving recklessly nearby, stay calm and do what you can to allow extra space between you. Their aggressiveness could lead to an accident with nearby cars, so steer clear of them.
Be Wary of Other Lanes in Heavy Traffic
On major highways and multi-lane roads in Nashville, you have to be aware of the lanes around you. With the hours that could be spent on the road in congested traffic, vehicles will be moving back and forth to change lanes for exits, turns, or just to get ahead of other cars. Inbound lanes and outbound lanes can lead to merges or congested yields. Pay attention to what is around you at all times. Make sure you check your blind spots frequently, especially if you need to switch lanes yourself. Maybe you should invest in a vehicle with blind spot detection if you often drive through the city of Nashville during your morning commute.
Control Your Speed in Rush Hour Traffic
A speed limit exists for a reason. It is meant to keep all drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and tourists alike safe. While major roads during rush hours may create traffic conditions that make speeding impossible, this doesn’t mean that you should accelerate when the roadways clear. Always follow the posted speed limit and stay in control of your car so you can react quickly to dangerous circumstances around you. Don’t rely on adaptive cruise control or automatic braking to protect you from the vehicles in front of and behind you. Stay in control during those morning and afternoon rush hours and allow adequate space in front of you.
Keep an Eye on Entryways
Paying attention to entryways on the road that you are using is a critical component of driving defensively. Many collisions occur because drivers do not adequately check both directions before entering roads or highways. It is even more complicated with multi-lane roads, of which there are many in Nashville. When you notice other vehicles preparing to enter the road you are on, keep your eyes peeled for danger. You never know when they might make the wrong decision.
Show Caution with Left Turns
When you are driving in the left lane and preparing to turn in that direction, a lot of things can go wrong. During rush hour, it could take a while before oncoming traffic clears to give you the space needed to turn. Keep your turn signal on and be patient. If you have to pass in front of multiple lanes, make sure no vehicles are approaching in any of those lanes before you turn. You may not be able to see all lanes, so wait if you are in doubt. Also, even if you have claimed the intersection and traffic lights start turning red, don’t rush to make that turn. There could be oncoming vehicles that try to catch that light and cruise through the intersection. Be patient and make sure the way is clear before turning.
Keep Your Head on a Swivel
A general rule for driving defensively during rush hour for your daily commute is to always keep your head on a swivel. This helps you keep track of your surroundings and know the traffic patterns around you. City streets can be congested with Nashville traffic made up of vehicles and pedestrians in crosswalks. By constantly checking your mirrors and noticing what is ahead, you can be ready to react to unexpected circumstances.
Consider Alternate Routes
Since the main roads will have a lot of traffic congestion in the music city during rush hour, you may want to find a way to stay off of those routes. Taking alternate routes can help you avoid other drivers and even shorten your commute time. Sometimes a different route is the safest route and if it takes a little more time to get to work, that is a small price to pay.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving can cause collisions easily. Driving laws dictate that you should not be using cell phones while driving unless you can do so hands-free. Make sure that 100% of your attention is on the road. Be ready to react to brake lights in front of you. Be cautious when approaching intersections since people run red lights often. Be cognizant of lane departure warnings and the actions of other drivers. The more alert commuters are, the safer this great city can be for all.
Driving Defensively Can Save Your Life
There are other strategies for being defensive as a driver to protect yourself, your passengers, and other motorists. Regular vehicle maintenance can ensure that your car will not experience unexpected issues while on the roads in Nashville. The last thing you need is for your brakes to fail when approaching a red light during your commute. Be cautious when passing a high occupancy vehicle. Avoid using dashboard mounts for devices that may obstruct your view of the road. Encourage all passengers to wear seatbelts at all times, including yourself.
Whenever you are experiencing significant traffic in the city, take a deep breath to focus on your driving. If there are two or more occupants in your car, then you are responsible for their safety. Drive defensively during your commute to avoid collisions that will result in serious injuries and property damage to multiple cars.