6 Simple Tips for Dealing With Bay Area Traffic

by Staff | August 30th, 2021

If you live or work in the Bay Area, you know the reality of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 minutes or even longer and are familiar with the chronic congestion choking the area. The drive from San Jose to Mountain View can take more than 2 hours instead of 20 minutes door-to-door due to gridlock. 

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, freeway congestion has increased by more than 80% since 2010. Besides using public transit options like Amtrak, BART, and Caltrain, there are several other simple ways to deal with the brutal Bay Area traffic congestion.

1.    Plan Your Driving Routes

Whether you prefer to drive to work or your job involves driving, you know that the worst time to be on the highway is during rush hour. Peak traffic usually occurs on weekdays in the mornings between 7:00 to 9:00 AM and in the evenings from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.

Instead of taking the usual route and joining the traffic jams, take advantage of free phone applications such as Waze to plan your routes. While these apps often send you on the scenic route, they can guide you through different roads and streets to get you to work or back home faster than you would on the main road. Make sure you set your destination in these apps before driving to avoid being distracted.

If possible, avoid peak hours and the worst of the rush hour traffic for a shorter and less stressful commute.

2.    Keep an Eye on 511 Alerts

You may have seen blue signs advising commuters and motorists to call 511 for travel information. The 511 service also has a website that provides real-time alerts and a live map informing you of any traffic updates, jams, construction work, and plenty of other information, making it an invaluable tool for planning your route.

3.    Consider Biking to Work

If your commute is less than 10 miles, a bicycle may be a faster, healthier, and more economical mode of transport. According to the latest statistics, the average commute time in California has exceeded 30 minutes since 2019.

On average, a bike can achieve a commuting speed of around 12 mph. With more fitness and experience, it is possible to reach speeds of 15 to 18 mph, so you should cycle 5 miles in about 15-20 minutes. Even inexperienced cyclists can bike 1 mile in 6 minutes, which is 10 mph. 

4.    Use the HOV Lane

The Bay Area carpool lane system, known as High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, is the most effective in California and one of the best nationwide, significantly reducing commute times and increasing average speeds by up to 15 mph.

If you don’t already have a coworker or a neighbor you can ride with, you can still use applications such as Merge or Waze Carpool to match with a carpool partner and enjoy commuting on the HOV lane.

5.    Green Vehicle Advantages

You may already be familiar with the carpool lanes on the highway and the rules surrounding their use, but did you know that hybrids and electric vehicles can use the carpool lane even with no passengers?

As long as your car has the correct DMV sticker (green, white, or red), you can enjoy the benefits of driving on the carpool lane even when you’re on your own.

6.    When All Else Fails

Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding being stuck in traffic in your car, no matter what you do. In those situations, you can still make the best of the time in your vehicle.

Use the opportunity to listen to your favorite music, check out a podcast, or enjoy an audiobook, so you are less stressed and frustrated by the mind-numbing traffic.  

Remember that a significant percentage of traffic accidents happen during rush hour. This is often due to drivers speeding through yellow lights, merging lanes, road rage, motorcycles lane splitting, or distracted driving.

Should the worst happen, get the help of our San Francisco car accident lawyers; they are the most qualified to represent you and help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and lost income. 

Contact Our Legal Team Today

If you are involved in an auto accident, contact our car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have more than 40 years of experience representing victims and helping them win the settlements they deserve.