Avoid Traffic Jams

Traffic jams - the bane of your existence, and a perfect waste of time. This article will review a few ways you can try to cut traffic jams out of your life (and preserve your sanity).


  1. Map out some alternative routes. Look for at least two additional ways you can complete your commute. Ideally, you can come up with five (even if some of them are different by only one street).
    • Review maps, both online and offline. Use different colored highlighters on a paper map to explore routes. Online, many map sites offer alternate routes and "no highways" options.
    • Ask co-workers, or other people who make a similar commute. They may know of a shortcut.
    • It also helps to know how to switch from one route to another, at various points of your commute. That way, if you find out there's a sudden traffic jam ahead, you can adapt.
  2. Try the alternative routes. Do this on days when you can afford to be late, if the route should turn out to take longer. The important thing is to leave your home at the same time you normally would, because if you leave early, you might be fooled into thinking that route is faster when it was really that it's just less crowded at that specific time (which most routes are, anyway--see the next step).
  3. Play with your timing. If your commute is one that is seemingly always slow moving, consult with your employer about the ability to shift the start and stop time of the work day. Sometimes a shift of just an hour can significantly reduce the amount of time spent in the vehicle.
  4. Check traffic reports before you leave. Traffic updates are available on the radio, news, and Internet. Once you hit the road, continue listening to traffic reports on the radio.
    • Use Clearflow if it is available for your city. Clearflow technology is considered to be more innovative than other traffic features because it's based on the analysis of several years' worth of real-world traffic data.[1] Go to http://www.bing.com/maps/ and click on "get directions". Enter your starting and ending address, and make sure you check off the "Use Clearflow to route based on traffic" option.
  5. Use a GPS device with live traffic updates during your commute. These devices will usually cost at least $200, and some require an additional subscription cost. A smartphone is strongly recommended as it can come with free applications to automatically route and re-route to avoid traffic. Factors to consider in a GPS are ease of use, screen size, and whether street names are spoken.
  6. Get traffic updates on your phone. Be careful with this, however--checking mobile phone updates can be distracting while driving.
    • Use Twitter. Find out how people are tweeting about traffic in your city and have those alerts sent to your phone. For example, updates with "@commuter" and your city's airport code will turn up tweets from people who are sharing traffic info on the Internet.[2]
    • Rand McNally also offers traffic updates sent to your mobile phone.
    • You can also browse the web and check for live traffic updates on various websites, but this draws your attention away from the road and is not recommended. Even if you're in a traffic jam, you might still bump into the person in front of you, or contribute to the jam by not moving ahead when a space opens up in front of you because you're too busy looking at your phone.
  7. Ditch the car altogether. Not only is it better for your sanity, but it's better for the environment, too.
  8. Motorbike. If you live in the UK or California, riding a motorcycle between lanes is permitted as long as it is done in a safe, prudent manner. You can drive right through traffic and not have to change your route.
  9. Move. The best solution may be to move to a city with less congestion.


  • Many roadways have "HOV" (High Occupancy Vehicle) or similar type lanes that remain mostly clear of traffic congestion. Operating in these lanes requires that vehicle has at least a certain number of passengers. If there is a lane like this on your commute, carpool.
  • If working from home isn't an option see if you can't start your day at home. Or see if you can work slightly different hours such as starting early or late.


  • Always follow rules, signs and speed limit so all vehicle will go in flow & traffic would not be stuck.
  • Alternative routes clog up fast if a major accident happens on the highway; fifteen minutes after the accident, it may not be worth it to switch to an alternate route.
  • Don't drive when you feel drowsy, fatigued, or otherwise distracted. You could cause an accident and be the one who causes a traffic jam.
  • In many countries and regions, using a phone while driving is illegal. Keep up to date with fast-changing laws about this activity.
  • Focus on your driving instead of gossiping, using your cell phone, or doing other things.
  • Don't honk at somebody if they switch lanes or get in front of you.

Related Articles

Sources and Citations