How to stress less in traffic jam

Plan your driving times to avoid heavy traffic. In many cases, even leaving 15 minutes before the start or after the end of rush hour can decrease the flow of traffic on your drive. Photo by Godfrey Lugaaju

What you need to know:

Driving in traffic jam can be a nightmare for some motorists. It becomes worse if you drive a car that consumes more fuel. However, there are tips you can follow to make your journey more comfortable.

Driving in traffic jam can be a nightmare for some motorists. It becomes worse if you drive a car that consumes more fuel. However, there are tips you can follow to make your journey more comfortable.
Sheila Mirembe stays in Nansana. Every day, she is sure of finding traffic jam along the way as she drives to work, especially during school time. Quick to agree that it is annoying to drive in traffic jam, her car never runs out of novels to flip through the pages when the jam is not moving.
“When I realise that cars are not about to start moving, I open a novel or personal development book and I read. It keeps my mind occupied to stop thinking about the negative effects of jam like having to use more fuel and getting home late when my children have slept,” Mirembe says.

Be alert
Keeping alert is one of the hard things to do, especially when you have had a long day. After work, the only thing that you want is to get home as quickly as possible only to get stuck along the way. “Our roads have motorists of all kind. There are those who are patient and those who always believe that they are in a hurry more than others. If the jam is more intense than usual, I keep alert by lowering windows to get fresh air. When I can, I start conversations with other motorists to stay awake,” Mirembe adds.

Stay in your car
Anthony Katabazi, a motorist, says as he drives around Kisaasi areas in the evening as he goes home, the area sometimes has a lot of traffic jam that moving out of his car sometimes crosses his mind, but he holds back.
He faced the wrath of impatient motorists who hurled insults at him the only time he ever tried to get out.
“It was in the evening and no car was moving at all. As I was still at the kiosk buying an airtime scratch card by the roadside, the cars suddenly started moving. I was approaching a roundabout. By the time I got back to the car, many motorists were hooting from all directions,” Katabazi recalls.
“I was given a penalty receipt and from that incident, I learnt how to stay in the car even when the jam becomes annoying,” he adds.

Listen to traffic updates
During rush hours in the morning and evening, some local radio stations provide regular traffic updates on different roads. This helps you understand which direction of the city centre has traffic jam so that you avoid it.
In most cases, radio traffic updates also provide you with alternative routes to use so that you do not get stuck in the traffic jam for a long time. So, tuning in to one of the local stations could be a better option.

Due to the fact that traffic jam is unpredictable, you may at times get held up for longer periods than you had expected. In such a scenario, Katabazi advises that it is better to communicate to your workmates or those at home or to the person you are meeting that you will reach them past the agreed time because of unforeseen traffic jam.
This saves you from explaining yourself when you eventually get to your destination.
Talk to other road users
Much as it is not something easy if you are the type who minds your business, Edward Nsubuga thinks that starting a conversation with the driver next to you is one easy way of getting over the day’s tiredness. He believes that it is one way of networking and exchanging pleasantries for possible future relationships.
“It may not necessarily be a motorist in a private car as yours but it could be a passenger in a commuter taxi. As you get to know each other, you may find that your lines of business are the same. Conversations with strangers are the foundation for successful or meaningful business partnerships or any other relationships,” Nsubuga notes.
He adds, “When I realise that I am to reach home late, I get my diary and start planning for the following day. I write what I have to do at work, who I have to meet and other things. I sometimes use the time in jam to recall what is needed at home so that I get it from the nearest market.”

Moses Senfuka says because there is little or no movement, a number of motorists will keep switching from one lane to another since different lanes move at different speeds. Unfortunately, he says, motorists will sometimes not indicate when they are about to switch lanes
“Be on the lookout for such motorists. When they forcefully negotiate to join your lane, they may end up scratching your car and causing dents. This will cause endless arguments as to who was in the wrong. If you notice that someone is switching a lane, act defensive to your car and allow them join your lane,” Senfuka advises.

Similarly, goldmanlawatlanta, an online portal, says pick a lane and stay in it. Swerving in and out of traffic is only going to make things worse on you and other drivers. It also increases the chance of causing an accident. The portal also advises that you watch the traffic around you.
For example, do not speed up just because traffic begins to move a bit. Instead, slowly build your speed until you are sure that the jam has cleared.