San Diego traffic is no light matter. 130 San Diego County residents died in car accidents in 2021, and hundreds of others were injured. 

Safe driving in San Diego can be the difference between life and death. But many people don’t know what safe San Diego driving entails. In order to make things easy on yourself, you should study a few safe driving tips. 

What does defensive driving look like? What roads and situations should you avoid? How can you minimize distractions in your car? 

Answer these questions and you can navigate through San Diego traffic safely for years to come. Here is your quick guide.

Be a Defensive Driver

Defensive traffic techniques can help you drive safely in traffic and avoid road accidents. The most important technique is to drive at a similar speed to the cars around you. This will help you avoid rear-end collisions, and it will make it easier to judge where people are. 

At the same time, you should adjust your speed based on what you see around you. If you are driving on a wet road, you should go a little slower, as your car will need more space to stop. You should also go slower when it is raining or foggy. 

Before you turn or change lanes, you should look in your mirrors and signal where you are going. Keep in mind that you have blind spots around your vehicle. Turn your head and look behind you to make sure that no one is following too closely before you change lanes. 

Maintain several seconds of following distance behind cars. To see how much distance you have, pick an object on the road. Once the car in front of you passes by it, start counting until you pass it and adjust your speed accordingly. 

Avoid Rush Hour Traffic

San Diego has a morning rush hour period and an evening one. The morning period lasts between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., with traffic peaking at 8:00. Traffic in the afternoon starts to get worse at 1:00 p.m., with congestion being the most prominent between 3:00 and 6:00. 

Driving in San Diego can be nearly impossible during rush hour traffic. You may be at 10 miles per hour for an hour or longer. An accident can cause even longer delays or unsafe road conditions. 

If you can shift the hours you work so you travel before or after the rush hour periods, you should try to do so. You should also try using public transportation so you avoid road traffic entirely. 

The freeways tend to be the most congested roads. Try to find a route that takes you along backroads or suburbs. Though these routes may be indirect, you may save time as you are not driving in traffic. 

Remove All Distractions

Many San Diego drivers get into accidents because they are distracted. Your car may travel hundreds of feet in the time it takes you to adjust the radio or take a sip of water.

Do not eat or drink while you are driving. If you’re feeling hungry or thirsty, stop your car at a rest area and eat and drink until you are satisfied. 

It is okay to use a GPS in the car, but you should not use one that you have to adjust while you are driving. Pick your destination and input your features before you start driving. Set a function that lets you listen to directions so you’re not looking down at the GPS for guidance. 

Keep your conversations with other people to a minimum. If your phone rings, let someone else in the car respond to it. Avoid talking to other drivers or pedestrians, though you can use hand signals to indicate where you are going. 

Avoid Driving While Impaired

Never drive after drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or taking prescription drugs that can make you sleepy. If you need to take a pill, pull your car over, take it, and wait for the side effects to pass. 

Being sleep deprived is as bad for you as being intoxicated. Your reaction time may be extremely slow, and being tired can distract you and make it harder for you to see. If you become tired on the road, pull over and take a nap.

Stay Calm 

If something happens on the road that upsets you, you should not become angry or distracted. Take a few deep breaths and stay focused on driving. 

Defensive driving techniques can help you avoid other aggressive drivers on the road. But you may make another driver upset with an action you commit.

If a driver starts to become angry at you, ignore them. Responding to them in any way can escalate the situation, and they may follow you or brake check you. 

Do not panic if you notice an accident or an aggressive and unsafe driver. Call 911 and report what you have seen.

If you are involved in an accident, you should also call 911 and wait for San Diego police to show up. Hire these professional lawyers so you can have a legal representative interact with the police on your behalf. 

Navigate Through San Diego Traffic

San Diego traffic can be a nightmare, but defensive driving can keep you on time and out of trouble. Signal before you turn or change lanes and check your mirrors frequently. Get off the freeways during rush hour. 

Never drive while you are talking on the phone, eating, or fiddling with a GPS. You should also avoid driving while intoxicated or impaired. Stay calm during emergencies or frantic situations and call 911 to report bad drivers. 

You can find the best routes home by studying San Diego roads. Read more guides on San Diego driving by following our coverage.