Regardless of the time of day, you could find yourself stuck in heavy traffic. This is most common during rush hour, but you never know what could happen when you’re behind the wheel.

Even though traffic is moving slowly, you’re still at risk of an accident. Here are some tips you can follow to maintain your safety in heavy traffic:

  • Stay in your lane: Don’t move from lane to lane in an attempt to save time. It’s not likely to get you to your destination quicker, and it definitely increases the likelihood of causing an accident.
  • Don’t drive aggressively: Forget about what everyone around you is doing. It’s best to drive defensively at all times, and especially in heavy traffic.
  • Leave more space: Leave an extra car length or two between your vehicle and the one in front of yours, as it decreases the risk of a rear-end collision.
  • Avoid distractions: With traffic moving slowly, you may look for ways to pass the time. From texting to talking on the phone, from eating to drinking, there are many distractions that increase the chance of an accident.
  • Beware of changing speeds: For example, when traffic breaks up on the highway, your first thought is to hit the gas pedal to make up time. But don’t do this before you’re sure of what lies ahead. Sometimes, heavy traffic is stop and go, so you need to maintain a safe and steady speed.

Even if you follow these safety tips, you’ll find that other drivers aren’t always doing the same. For example, the person next to you is driving entirely too aggressively, while the person behind you is riding your bumper.

If another driver causes an accident in heavy traffic, look for the quickest and safest way to move your vehicle to the side of the road.

Don’t get out, as doing so puts you at risk of being struck by a passing vehicle. Instead, examine yourself for injuries, call 911 and wait for help to arrive.

Only after you receive treatment and understand your injuries should you turn your attention to the insurance claims process and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.