On February 5, a police officer was directing traffic around a fallen tree when another driver hit into the officer’s vehicle. Luckily, neither the officer nor the other driver were seriously injured. The officer’s vehicle, though, suffered minor damage, and the other vehicle suffered moderate front-end damage. This accident is a reminder of what you should do if traffic slows down or stops.
- Of course, the first step is to slow down or stop, along with traffic. If you have been scanning the road ahead, you will likely see that traffic has slowed down or stopped before you come to the slow-moving or stopped traffic.
- Scan the road ahead to discover the source of the traffic delay. If you cannot see the source of the problem, you may want to consider an alternate route. Accidents on the freeway may back-up traffic for several exits, so it might be best to exit the freeway as soon as possible. Even in the city, taking an alternate route can help you avoid an accident or other road delay. Taking an alternate route may not always be possible, and if traffic is only delayed for a short time, it may not be your best option.
- Look for someone directing traffic. If there is road construction, it might be a construction worker. If there was an accident or if something is blocking the roadway, a police officer or other emergency responder might be directing traffic. Pay attention to that person’s directions.
- On multiple lane roads, sometimes at least one lane will still be clear. When possible, get into the clear lane right away. Even if a lane is not blocked, if there was an accident on one side of the road, it is best to give the accident victims and any emergency responders as much space as possible.
- Be especially aware of what is happening around you when going around an accident or anything else that is blocking the roadway. At an accident scene, small children might run in front of your vehicle without watching. If a tree has fallen or power lines are down, be careful to avoid them.