Biloxi and other major Mississippi cities might not be considered very large when compared with others around the country. However, our cities here still see their fair share of rush hour traffic during certain times of the week and times of the day along specific roadways.
Driving among this traffic congestion can be frustrating and stressful, so we’re going to highlight just how big of an issue rush hour can be (including the times and roads where it’s most prevalent). Next, we’re going to highlight strategies you can employ to ease your navigation of Biloxi roadways during rush hour (and share tips for avoiding traffic congestion altogether).
When Is Rush Hour Traffic Most Prevalent in Biloxi?
Statistics published by GeoStat show that the morning commute in Biloxi can start as early as before 5 a.m. and linger on until just before 11 a.m. The times in which commuter numbers are highest in the Biloxi area are between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Our Mississippi city sees just under 10,000 commuters during that window. Most motorists’ commutes range from 10-24 minutes.
Of course, there’s an evening rush hour that can range anywhere from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., which varies depending on area residents’ line of work and associated schedules. There is often an uptick in traffic on the roadway around lunchtime, which can range between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. as well.
Which Biloxi Roadways See the Most Rush Hour Traffic?
Some of our coastal Mississippi city’s busiest roadways include:
- Popp’s Ferry Road
- Pass Road
- Highway 90
The above-referenced roadways have undergone re-engineering in recent years, yet they continue to be a focal point of road crews looking to reduce congestion along these roadways both during rush hour and when there are events in the area.
Strategies for Driving in Rush Hour Traffic
Driving in rush hour traffic can easily agitate motorists and cause them to become distracted. However, letting either one of these situations happen can be dangerous. Taking your eyes or mind off the road could cause a crash. Becoming frustrated or angry at the traffic’s lack of movement isn’t good for your physical or mental health, and thus can cause you to make irrational choices such as tailgating a motorist or otherwise engaging in road rage. All of these behaviors can result in catastrophic car accidents, which is why driving during rush hour is the most dangerous time you can be on the road.
There are tips you can use to avoid rush hour traffic and to handle it if you find yourself stuck in it, including changing up your commute.
Factors To Consider When Re-Envisioning Your Commute
As obvious as it may seem, one of the strategies for ensuring you don’t find yourself stuck in rush hour traffic is to change up your habits, which may include:
- Remaining updated on events or road construction in the area that may cause traffic congestion
- Changing your typical, busy route to a less-trafficked one
- Avoiding driving during the busiest times of the day
Steering clear of rush hour is often easier said than done. This is when employing the following tips for handling rush hour traffic may come in handy.
Many employees in Biloxi work an 8 to 5 work schedule. This means that the majority of people leave their houses and return back home at almost the same time every workday.
It may be in your best interest to speak with your boss about working a modified schedule that would require you to leave and return home at times different from the “majority” of other workers. Doing this would ensure that you would be sharing the road with fewer motorists, thus minimizing your chances of being caught up in rush hour traffic and potentially becoming entangled in a crash.
Alternatively, you may want to change your route. If you tend to travel the interstate or a two-lane highway to your workplace where there are very few ways around any potential accidents, road construction, or other hazards, then you might want to identify alternate routes on other surface streets that others don’t typically take. You might even want to ask to be reassigned to a different company office if possible if doing so would help you avoid the daily grind stuck in traffic.
What To Do When You Can’t Break Free From Rush Hour Traffic
There are a few strategies that you’ll want to employ when you find yourself inevitably (and indefinitely) stuck in rush hour traffic to keep yourself safe:
Keep Your Attention on the Road
It can be tempting to pick up your phone and take or make a call, surf the internet, or play a game when you’re stuck in traffic. It’s not wise to do so, though. You should instead keep your focus on the road ahead and everything that’s going on around you. You might miss traffic picking back up and moving once again, a car cutting in tight on you, or other actions that could cause a crash if you fail to do so.
There’s never a time for distractions when behind the wheel of your car. Always keep your eyes on the road, observe road signs, and keep an eye out for what other drivers are doing around you. Also, if your kids are riding in the car with you, have them sit in the back of the vehicle with the rear windows rolled up to keep them from distracting you or sticking their hands or heads outside the window, as doing so can also result in preventable injuries.
Maintain a Safe Distance Between You and the Next Vehicle
A significant percentage of accidents occur during rush hour traffic because drivers cannot resist the urge to drive close up to the next vehicle. After all, everyone is trying to push through the traffic snarl-up. It is important that you strongly resist the urge to closely follow the car in front of you when caught up in rush hour traffic. Employing the 3-second rule can help you maintain a safe distance between you and the motorist ahead. It helps you avoid a crash in case the car in front of you makes an emergency brake.
Observing Lane Discipline
When caught in rush hour traffic, avoid changing lanes to push through traffic. This may not only cause unnecessary accidents but also disrupt traffic flow, making the congestion worse. If you have to change lanes, use the appropriate indicator lights to notify other motorists and make sure you have enough space to merge.
Fatigue can set in as you’re stuck in traffic, whether it’s due to you not getting in much sleep the night before your morning commute or having worked a long day leading up to your afternoon or evening one. Do your best to stay alert while you’re waiting for the traffic to clear up, whether that’s by turning on the air conditioner and “freezing” yourself out, singing along with songs on the radio, sipping your morning coffee, or something else.
Accidents That Happen in Rush Hour Traffic
Some common accident types that occur because motorists fail to incorporate the different driving techniques described above as they navigate rush hour traffic include:
- Rear-end accidents
- Chain-reaction crashes
- Sideswipe collisions
- Truck crashes, like underride accidents
These crashes can cause significant injuries, depending on the size of the vehicles involved, speed, and the point of impact. Most of these occur because of a motorist’s failure to keep a safe distance from other drivers or to ensure they have adequate clearance to merge in or navigate into an adjoining lane.
What To Do if You’re Involved in a Rush Hour Accident
Rush hour is not the place anyone would wish to be. At any given time, you’ll find yourself among people who are anxious to get to work or people who are fatigued and frustrated after a long day’s work. We all share the responsibility to drive as safely as possible to avoid causing or becoming involved in a crash.
Even if you follow the tips above for handling rush hour traffic in Biloxi, you may have the misfortune of ending up involved in an accident because someone else didn’t. Mississippi law may allow you to recover compensation if that happens. Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, can provide you with a free case review necessary to advise you on what your legal rights are. Schedule a free consultation today.