DC Traffic & Maintaining Your Sanity

Even DC isn’t this bad…

Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Traffic in the DMV

It is hard to maintain your own sanity while sitting in Washington, D.C. area traffic. We know, we live here too. We hate I-66 and the Beltway just as much as you do. You need a few tips and tricks to not rip your own hair out while you’re stuck in 4 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic with no end in sight. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas to help you get through the next rush hour without killing anyone.


Don’t Drive During Rush Hour

You don’t want to deal with this anyway…

This sounds flippant, but we are dead serious. If you know that traffic makes you upset; don’t drive in it. You aren’t doing anything out there except shortening your own lifespan with stress and anxiety. There are ways to avoid traffic, you just have to think creatively. If you can, change up your work schedule. Come in later and leave later or come in earlier and do the same. If you can miss rush hour, do so. One less car on the road is one less car causing congestion.

Stop Honking Your Horn

So Angry! Each honk on that horn is cutting a year off from his lifespan.

Did you know that honking your horn causes road rage in others and increases your own levels of frustration? The sound of your vehicle’s horn is designed to be jarring. It’s purpose is to warn other drivers, never to express your personal displeasure with their driving.

The way congestion works is that the guy in front of you has a guy in front of him who has a guy in front of him and so on and so forth. No one is able to move. You are just an angry person that is causing other people to become angry. You are the jerk here, knock it off.

Driving Isn’t A Competition

There’s no prize for first place.

You can’t ‘win’ against traffic. We know it may seem like you’re losing while you’re sitting there, waiting for someone to move, but the problem is that you cannot ‘win’ against it either. When people use the phrase, ‘beat traffic’ they mean that they want to get out of the way before or after the traffic gets there. It has nothing to do with fighting the actual traffic or winning against it. Turns of phrase can be confusing sometimes.

No one in the traffic jam is causing the traffic, that’s not how congestion works. There are just too many cars and not enough road. You aren’t going to beat any of them home and none of the other drivers are at fault. You have been defeated by the DC/MD/VA overpopulation and failing infrastructure, accept your fate and slowly inch toward your destination without the stress incurred by trying to bob and weave.

Plan Ahead

Look at how relaxed she is! She clearly had a plan!

You really need to give yourself extra travel time in this area. Everyone thinks they know how long it takes to get to a place and they forget that it can change on a dime. Living in this area, you need to know and understand the highway system to get anywhere. You should know the difference between the inner and outer loops of the Beltway. You should know that I-66 runs east and west. Those sort of basics will help you in your everyday travels.

Planning around the highways involves planning around rush hour itself. The morning rush is usually from 7am to 9am and the evening rush is usually from 4pm to 6pm. Plan to not be on a highway during those periods if you can.

Planning for traffic, because you know you will have to be in it, is also advisable. Have a snack and a drink in the car. Make sure you have an audiobook or entertaining music already downloaded and ready to be enjoyed. In the summer, have sunglasses and the air conditioner going. You want to increase your own comfort levels in order to decrease your discomfort regarding the traffic.