China’s ‘Golden Week’, a week-long practically nationwide vacation celebrating Chinese National Day, is a traffic disaster waiting to happen. With an estimated 750 million Chinese, roughly half of China’s population, going on vacation, massive traffic jams seem inevitable. But it’s doubtful anyone expected the rumored 10-hour delay on China’s 50 lane G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau (Jinggang’ao) Expressway.
It is estimated that some 125,000 cars entered Beijing that day, but most people blame the October 6th, 2015 traffic jam on a new checkpoint in Liulihe, which is a town located about 35 miles from Beijing. This checkpoint significantly reduced the number of lanes from 50 to less than 20, creating a bottleneck and one nightmare of a traffic jam. It got so bad it seems some people left their car and started to meander around the highway.
It has been reported that several other highways in Shanghai and Nanjing saw similar if less severe road conditions. Even more frightening is that this isn’t China’s worst traffic jam. Forbes reported that in August 2010 China saw a 62-mile long, 12 day traffic jam.
While such traffic jams rarely occur, they are unpredictable and could technically happen to anyone. Most people will face a traffic jam in their lifetime, though, hopefully on a less dramatic scale. Regardless, any traffic delays tend to frustrate us and breed more accidents, which only delays everyone further. Here are some tips you can try to avoid road rage.
It’s not personal
One key thing to remember is that most people feel some level of road-rage. So, when you become the victim of road rage (cut off, tailgated, flashing lights, middle-finger, etc.), remember that it’s not personal. It may feel like a personal attack, but the reality is the driver exhibiting aggressive behavior is not targeting you as a person.
Do not respond in kind
If you’re the victim of aggressive driving, just let it slide. Do not retaliate, which will only serve to escalate instead of diffuse the situation. According to Geico, 66% of all fatal car accidents are the result of aggressive driving. “Getting back” at the person who cut you off is not worth anyone’s life.
Often people drive aggressively in fear of being late. Avoid such stress by giving yourself an extra ten minutes. This will help give you peace of mind and make you a safer driver and your drive less stressful.
Create a peaceful environment
Listening to calming music like classical or jazz instead of rock or rap will help relax instead of aggravate you. Putting the windows down (weather permitting) can also help you relax.
Practice anger reducing techniques
Breath in and out slowly. Don’t clench the wheel. Keep your thoughts positive. Remember, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to be late than injured or worse.
As always, it’s wise to drive defensively. Let people into your lane, don’t cut people off, don’t hit the gas at yellow light, and do not tailgate. These, among other techniques, can help keep you and the road safer. If you want to lower your insurance or freshen up on defensive driving techniques, take one of our online defensive driving courses.
For more on the causes of and ways to avoid road rage, check out this article.
Apps To Avoid Traffic Jams
One way to avoid jams? App assistance! Many app developers are trying to solve traffic problems by allowing drivers to make informed decisions before they even leave the house. Many of these traffic-avoiding apps only work within a specific geographical location, so we suggest you do a quick Google search if you haven’t found the perfect traffic app for you yet. Regardless, here are some apps that are available for all Americans.
This free app will help you monitor traffic from a bird’s eye view and alert you if an accident occurs on your route. You can personalize the alerts and reviews for both the iPhone and Android version of this app . Reviews say it offers an accurate traffic report, which is regularly updated. And the best part: it’s free.
Beat the Traffic
This free Android app is meant to help drivers beat traffic and take alternative routes from areas prone to jams. Offering turn-by-turn instructions and a smart route feature that reviews claim actual works, this is a useful app to have. The app exists for iPhones as well, but receives significantly worse ratings.
While this app doesn’t necessarily show you a traffic pattern, it lets people report traffic incidents and conditions in their area. The more people who use this app in one area the better it will work. The Waze traffic app is available for free on iPhone and Android.
While China suffered a horrible traffic jam, the headlines focused on the jam itself, not the causalities. While we don’t recommend getting out of your car and taking a stroll, we can learn from this incident and remember that it’s important to remain calm in any traffic situation.