The 4 P’s for Dealing with Heavy Holiday Traffic

The 4 P's For Dealing with Heavy Holiday Traffic | 911 Driving SchoolThe holidays are a magical time of year with the lights, sights, and feeling in the air. One thing that isn’t so fun about the holidays is the extra traffic on all the roads. It is frustrating to try and get anywhere.

If you find yourself in some extra heavy holiday traffic this year, keep in mind the four P’s for dealing with it; plan extra time, practice good driving habits, proactive driving, and patience.

Plan extra time.

Times of heavy traffic like weekend evenings, dinner time, rush hours, and around special events, it is important that you allow some extra time for driving. Leave early to reach your celebration on time and don’t rely on estimated GPS travel time. Car crashes, construction, and more drivers on the road at once add up to heavy delays during the holidays.

If you want to make sure you reach your holiday work party, family function, or any other get-together on time, give yourself some extra time to get there. This will help you feel happier and less stressed behind the wheel, which decreases risky maneuvers in traffic and road rage during your travels.

Practice good driving habits.

Following proper driving etiquette is more than just good advice, it’s the law. During times of heavy traffic, it is especially important to follow procedure. Make sure that you signal before turning, switching lanes, or waiting for a parking spot.

Don’t follow the car in front of you too closely and give them plenty of room to drive. Watch how fast you are traveling. Drivers tend to drive too fast when they have been feeling stuck to make up time. If there is the typical holiday weather of rain or snow, it is especially dangerous.

Proactive driving.

While no one can read minds, you can anticipate the actions of other drivers. Stay safe by watching cues, like attempting to switch lanes, not watching the light change at an intersection, or staying vigilant for a driver suddenly pulling into traffic. If you are watching other drivers, chances are good that you are giving the road your attention and not paying attention to a cell phone.

Patience is a virtue.

While the holidays are full of fun and giving, there is also a lot of stress. People are out buying gifts, everyone out rushing around to the different sales, and others are trying to travel for the holidays to see their family and friends. It isn’t easy to get everything done and can leave you feeling tired and impatient on the roads.

Remember to slow down, bring things to keep kids busy in the back seat, and find ways to make your time in the car more enjoyable, like audiobooks, podcasts, or listening to a new Christmas album. Keeping yourself calm and trying to be more patient can lead to a more enjoyable experience on the road, even during heavy holiday traffic.

 

These four tips are a great starting point when dealing with heavy traffic during the holidays. Following them can help guide you to make better choices behind the wheel and having a more successful holiday this year.

Parallel Parking in 5 Simple Steps

Parallel Parking in 5 Simple Steps | 911 Driving SchoolNothing sends chills through the spine of a student in driver’s education like parallel parking. Thanks in part to Hollywood, this form of parking has become notorious for being difficult. But what if it isn’t as difficult as you might think? With some patience and practice, parallel parking can be mastered by remembering these five simple steps to doing it right.

Selecting a Space

The first step to parallel parking can really impact how difficult the parking job will be, so pick carefully. Choose a spot to park your car that has enough space to fit your vehicle. While this might sound like an obvious consideration, many people struggle with parallel parking because they pick a space that is too small.

As you pull up to a spot, notice how much room you will have in front and behind your car once parked. There needs to be a comfortable amount for you to back into the spot and straighten out, but also enough room for the cars around you to pull out easily. If you aren’t sure the spot is big enough, it is usually better to just pass and go find a different parking space.

Signal and Pass the Spot

Parallel parking isn’t done by pulling in with the front of your car first. You must pass the spot and back into it to do it successfully. Let the drivers around you know that you intend to park there by turning on your blinker. Pull up next to the car you will be parking behind and line up your back bumper with their back bumper. This puts you in the prime position for parallel parking.

Pull-In

Slowly begin to back up into the spot, aiming toward the back-right corner of the parking spot with your bumper. Turn and watch over your shoulder, but also utilize your rear-view mirrors to get a clear picture of your surroundings. Once you are lined up with the bumper of the car in front of you, you are in the spot and ready for step four.

Straighten the Tires

Once you are in the spot, straighten out the tires by centering the wheel. This will help you finish pulling all the way in without hitting the cars around you.

Center the Car

Do your best to center your vehicle between the front and rear cars. Again, you want to make sure that both drivers will have enough space to pull out without hitting your vehicle. Once you are centered, you can put the car in park.

 

After completing these five steps, you have successfully parallel parked your vehicle. You may safely exit your car and go about your business. This may all seem like a lot to remember at first, but after a few practice parking jobs, you will start to feel more comfortable doing it.

When just starting out, it might be best to do some practice parking between two orange cones that give you a generous amount of space between them. Move them closer together as you get better at parking between them. This will help build your confidence and help you stay calm during your driving test.

How to Pass a Semi

How to Pass a Semi | 911 Driving SchoolDriver’s education covers a lot of important topics, but one thing people seem to panic about and do incorrectly is passing a semi-truck. Since these trucks are bigger and slower, they intimidate a lot of drivers.

Too many others get impatient and do improper maneuvers to get around or ahead of the trucks. Here are some basic things you should know before, during, and after passing a semi.

Before You Pass

As you approach a semi-truck, there are some things you need to know. One of the most important things to remember is that there are massive blind spots for truck drivers. Because of the height of the driver, the length of the trailers they pull, and their inability to have a good view behind the truck, there are blinds spots on the sides, front, and back of the trucks.

Some trucks have stickers on the back indicating the distances you should give them, but not all do. As a good rule of thumb, if you can’t see the driver of the truck in their side-view mirrors, they can’t see you. If you are in front of them in the same lane and can’t see their face in your rear-view mirrors, you might be too close for them to see you.

It is especially important between the times of 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, which is when 37% of fatal crashes involving a truck happen because visibility is drastically decreased.

As You Pass

Once you begin to pass, don’t linger in their blind spots for too long. Drivers are more likely to see you if you keep moving quickly past them. If they do not know that you are there, the driver might try to merge into your lane and right into your car. Accelerate as you pass and don’t slow down until you have passed them completely.

Another important thing to remember is that you should always pass trucks on their left. The biggest blind spot for a semi driver is on the right of the truck. Chances of the driver not seeing you are increased if you are on that side of the truck.

It is also good to remember that you should always pass cars on the left because those are the passing lanes. According to law, slower traffic is supposed to stay right. If there are more than two lanes going in the same direction, it should range in slowest traffic in the far-right lane with each lane to the left going a little faster. This traffic pattern keeps traffic flowing smoothly.

After You Pass

Once you have passed a semi, you should not merge immediately in front of it. Instead, give them a lot more room than a normal car because of the blind spot on the front of the truck. Merging too quickly is the same as cutting the truck driver off. This is not only rude, but it is very dangerous.

The typical truck weighs over 10,000 pounds and when traveling at 60 miles per hour on the freeway, it takes the length of about 3 football fields to come to a complete stop. This is the second most common maneuver that drivers do around semis that is unsafe. If you merge and then brake suddenly or slow down, it can be a dangerous situation for you and the semi driver.

 

If you can remember the steps of passing a semi, driving around them doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Don’t get impatient with the truck drivers and give them plenty of room. Treating each other with respect and being considerate will help ensure everyone reaches their destination safely.