How to be strategic when avoiding highway traffic jams

By dpa | 25 July 2019

BERLIN: Road works ahead: The traffic jam stretches around the corner of the highway. Do you wait and hope things start moving again in a minute or take the next exit for a detour?

Like deciding for a checkout at the supermarket, it's hard make the right call with traffic jams — but there's one rule of thumb that will help you be more strategic.

Generally, it won't be worthwhile taking a highway exit for a speedy detour unless the traffic jam is longer than 10km.

Studies have shown that drivers who stay on the highway usually make progress just as quickly as those who use their navigation device to bypass the traffic jam.

Many navigation systems such as Google Maps now even show display traffic jam messages in real time, highlighting the affected stretches of road in red, meaning you should already know well in advance.

While it might feel clever to use your navigator app to drive around the traffic jam, remember most other drivers behind and ahead of you are probably using similar navigation helpers, meaning there's also going to be a risk of slow-moving traffic on the alternative route.