We’ve all been there – bumper to bumper, bristling because of those seemingly endless brake lights. Whether you live in a small town or big city, gridlock can happen just about everywhere.

It happens before and after work. It happens when children are heading to and from school. It happens during holidays when people are bustling to the store or visiting family. So how can you stay safe when traffic is at its worst? Here are some tips that can help:

Plan ahead: Allow extra time for driving when traffic, for whatever reason, is expected to be heavy. You will be less likely to tailgate, weave across lanes or vent frustration on other drivers when you aren’t pressed for time.

Don’t follow too closely. Ever heard of the three second rule? When the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object, begin counting. You should reach the same object no sooner than three seconds after the vehicle in front of you. (Four or five seconds is even better!)

Minimize distractions: If you plan to drive on congested streets, make sure that your attention is on the road. Avoid behaviors such as talking on a cell phone, sending text messages, eating messy foods or putting on makeup in the car. Your chances of being involved in a crash will drop considerably by taking those steps.

Avoid rubbernecking: Just as there are distractions inside a vehicle, there can be distractions outside a vehicle as well. Don’t let your attention wander when passing a crash scene or anything else that’s happening outside your car.

Relax: Don’t take unnecessary risks to shorten your commute by a few minutes. You could end up spending a lot more time beside the road. Take it easy, be courteous and know that you’ll get to your destination safer and less stressed.