As a fellow Charlotte commuter, I know how traffic can get during morning and evening rush hours. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re running late and I-77 is backed up, but don’t take your frustration out on the other drivers who are in the exact same position you are. Avoid causing or being the victim of a car accident by following these tips for a safer commute.
Mind the Time
The best way to avoid heavy traffic is to avoid rush hour all together. Try adjusting your schedule so that you’re driving during times when traffic is light and you’re not in a rush to get to work. It is worth getting up a little earlier in order to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic and other annoyed drivers. Additionally, the GPS app Waze can help you navigate around backed up roads by alerting you of road reports from other drivers. (Note: don’t use your phone while driving.)
Watch out for Construction Zones
Both I-85 and I-77 are undergoing major road construction in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Pay attention to the signs indicating shifts in traffic, closed or narrowed lanes, as well as the presence of construction equipment and workers. Not only can speeding in designated work zones result in a $250 penalty (plus court costs), it is also dangerous for yourself and those around you. Try mapping out an alternate route to avoid construction areas, and check out this interactive map of Charlotte roads to pinpoint construction zones and road closures.
Get Rid of Distractions
When you are driving, the only thing you should be doing IS driving. Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents across the US, so if you’re guilty of trying to multitask behind the wheel, it’s time to change your habits. Avoid eating breakfast, emailing or texting – which is not just distracting but illegal in many states, including North Carolina – or putting on makeup during your morning commute.
Don’t Be Aggressive
Road rage is dangerous for everyone on the road. If you find yourself getting frustrated on the road, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it’s better to arrive at your destination late and safe than not at all.
At all times, you should avoid these aggressive driving behaviors:
- Speeding up at yellow lights
- Not using a turn signal
- Weaving in and out of traffic
What to do if you’re in an accident
First, go to the doctor immediately, whether or not you “feel” fine. Often, accident injuries received from a car accident aren’t recognized or noticeable until days or even weeks after the accident. If the accident was not your fault, you may be able to receive compensation for any medical bills incurred.
The settlement process for a personal injury claim begins after medical treatment is complete and car repairs are made. Before you speak to the other driver’s insurance company, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.