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How to Avoid Getting Stuck in a Traffic Jam

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If you’ve ever felt like you’ve wasted hours of your life stuck in traffic, you’re not alone. The average American who commutes to and from an urban workplace will spend 42 hours of sitting in traffic, according to recent statistics from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Scorecard. While no one can avoid this unpleasant situation altogether, there are some practical ways to reduce the chance that you’ll encounter a traffic jam on your route.

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Tips for avoiding traffic jams

Gather information beforehand

Tune into the radio or your local news station well in advance of your departure. That way, you’re aware of any gridlocks before you even hit the road.

Tweak your commute times

It’s important to remember that most of the U.S. workforce operates on a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. If you’re able, tweak your work hours so that you start and end work before peak congestion times of 8 and 5. Or make a habit of arriving at work early and leaving late. These two strategies will help you avoid some of the day’s worst traffic jams.

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Take the less-traveled route

Sometimes the shortest distance to your destination isn’t the fastest. If your usual route to work is congested, use Google maps or a similar map to help you find a detour via back roads.

Use a real-time traffic app

Use an app like Waze for the latest traffic updates during your drive. It will alert you to nearby accidents and roadblocks on your route in time for you to avoid them. It will also increase your situational awareness by providing updates on the accident’s cause and/or severity. For instance, it will let you know if a collision is a fender bender. Traffie Navigation & Alerts is another helpful app that also includes a head-up display feature for safer driving.

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News Sources:,, 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard