How to Avoid Traffic Jams, or at Least Getting Stuck in Them

How to Avoid Traffic Jams, or at Least Getting Stuck in Them

Every time we get behind the wheel we’re at the mercy of a multitude of variables that are simply out of our control. Weather, crashes and highway design flaws can all conspire to turn a short trip a drawn-out nightmare. But what is being done to minimize congestion? Municipalities can do a few things to reduce on-road problems, and so can you.


Like calamine lotion on poison ivy blisters, real-time traffic displays can help alleviate uncomfortable congestion. Lighted billboards located alongside highways can alert motorists of potential delays and advise them to take alternate routes, saving time and helping reduce congestion.

Massachusetts is one state that’s implemented a system like this. So far 48 light-up message boards have been installed along their turnpike, Route 3. The displays operate seven days a week, from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Massachusetts-Route-3Another way to help smooth out the flow of traffic is something known as ramp management. Traffic signals, signs or gates can be used to control the flow of vehicles entering and exiting a highway. Allowing traffic to merge at a steady, even pace helps balance demand with capacity, reducing incidents and delays.

When cars and trucks enter roadways in clumps, they introduce turbulence to the flow of traffic, which leads to slowdowns on both mainline highways and access ramps. That’s a double negative that results in NOTHING positive.

HOV-LaneThe implementation of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes is another strategy that can be put into practice by transportation agencies to help reduce problems. HOV lanes encourage people to carpool. If more individuals travel in fewer vehicles it results in lower overall congestion, plus drivers that take advantage of carpool lanes can generally expect shorter commute times and fewer hassles.

Beyond these strategies, municipalities can ration road space based on license plate-numbers. These restrictions prevent certain vehicles from driving in certain areas at certain times. It’s sounds like an uncertain plan but apparently it works.

Of course there are many other approaches to reducing traffic slowdowns. Governments can open up highway shoulders to handle extra traffic during peak travel times; they can charge greater fees on toll roads as necessary to help reduce congestion; they can even invest in reversible lanes that allow the flow of traffic to change direction based on demand. Believe it or not there’s a lot that can be done.

In spite of these congestion management plans there’s no magic bullet that will eliminate the issue. Funding and the space to build more roads is limited and increasingly drivers will simply have to deal with clogged highways.


Sometimes roadway congestion is simply unavoidable; it’s rush-hour, you’ve got to get somewhere across town and there’s only route available. However, if you’re headed to a destination and there are several different ways to take how do you choose the best one? Which course has the least congestion? Well, some more advanced navigation systems offer real time traffic data, but if you have an older car, don’t have navigation, or just don’t want to pay for a fancy new Nav unit, like just about everything else, there’s an app for that.

Waze is a nifty smartphone program that’s available for the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms. It connects drivers and allows them to work together by sharing information about the road. It can help you steer clear of traffic, find time-saving routes and even avoid police speed traps.

Waze-GraphicHow does this electronic sorcery work? Well, it couldn’t be simpler. You just open Waze, input your destination and drive. The app runs in the background and passively transmits road data and traffic information to other drivers using Waze.

Waze-App-02But motorists can actively contribute as well. Waze allows them to report accidents or other hazards, which gives their fellow drivers a major heads up. Users can also go online and edit maps of their local area to make sure they’re up to date. They can even report gas prices so you can find the cheapest place to fill up.

All of this feel-good altruism may seem like a bit much, but it actually works. Millions of people use Waze – supposedly it’s the largest community of drivers in the world – and the little app has saved users untold hours of frustration.

As a sign of just how good Waze is, Google recently purchased it for $1.1 billion!

Traffic jams aren’t going away any time soon, or more likely any time ever. As more people hit the road congestion will likely become an ever-increasing problem. But as a driver you don’t necessarily have to take things sitting down. Aside from steering clear of peak travel times or poorly designed stretches of highway, smartphone applications like Waze are one tool you can use to help avoid on-road aggravation.

  • Ela Gefen

    I have Waze and I absolutely love that App!!!!!! It’s awesome when looking out for cops and traffic.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. * is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of, 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked