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    Carmudi’s Guide to Avoiding the Headache of Christmas Traffic Jams

    Christmas Day is just a few days away! And while the season gives plenty of reasons to be jolly, there’s really nothing to be joyful about when you’re sitting for hours stuck in traffic. If you’re about to do some in-car travel during the coming days, either to do some shopping or go home to the folks, here are some tips to make your driving stress-free.

    Plan your schedule in advance

    By planning your schedule, you’ll know when, where, and how you’ll get to and from your destination. Make a list of your itineraries, along with the date and time of your actual travel. Draw out your routes if need be, and travel during off-peak hours if you can. This way, you not only avoid traffic, but reduce it as well. Fewer cars on the road can make a huge difference to travel time for everybody.

    Plan for an alternative route

    Knowing other roads that will get you there can be extremely useful so you won’t get bogged in traffic on routes that are most popular among drivers. If you don’t have one yet, install a traffic app such as Waze, iOnTheRoad or the MMDA Traffic Navigator on your phone. These tools give you real-time road updates which you can use to plot an alternate route or two for your travels. Even if an alternate route takes you farther, it will all be worth it if you can get to your destination quicker.

    Leave early, get home early

    Traffic at night on a busy road

    The holidays seem to invite everybody to leave their houses, which means roads will be more congested way beyond normal. If you want to finish your shopping before Christmas day, you may want to depart a good one or two hours earlier than you’re used to. At the store or mall, just purchase what you need and go home immediately. Do away with the window shopping for now—you’ll have plenty of time for that later when the holidays are over.

    If you’re going home to the provinces, the best time to travel would be from late night to early dawn. Aside from facing little to no traffic, the added benefit of this is your kids will more likely be fast asleep throughout your journey, and you won’t have to worry about problems such as these. Be sure you get plenty of sleep before you head out so you will stay alert on the road.

    Shop online

    The country’s online shopping systems have certainly evolved leaps and bounds. It’s far more convenient to purchase what you need online without the stresses of running into busy streets and crowds around the metro. There are plenty of online stores to choose from, but for your security, be sure to use only the most credible online shops.

    Change your shift and shop on a workday

    The weekends are guaranteed to be traffic hell as Christmas draws near, that’s why a lot of people prefer to shop during a workday. Unfortunately for most, this requires taking a day off. If you’re one of the lucky few who has an employer that allows you to work flexible shifts, take advantage of it. Depending on your regular work hours, you can move your shift earlier or later to avoid rush hour traffic.

    Leave the car at home

    Do you work out regularly? Great! You can use all that stamina and opt for the healthier alternative by walking or biking to your destination. Aside from saving you from the headache of sitting in hour-long traffic jams, you’ll also get to exercise. If your destination is too far off for such modes of travel, you may try carpooling with your friends and colleagues, maybe even ride public transport. This way, you won’t have to worry about where to park your car.

    Remember the reason for the season

    If there’s one surefire thing about the holiday season, it’s that there will be plenty of remarkable displays of tantrums on the roads—and we’re not talking about children. When you’re driving, it’s important to remember that your fellow drivers are trying to get to their holiday destination as well. You’ve got plenty of features in your car to entertain you, don’t you? So watch a Christmas flick or listen to some Christmas carols, wear your Santa hat, and relax. After all, Christmastime is supposed to be a festive occasion filled with love for your fellowmen, not the survival of the fittest. Merry Christmas and joy to all on earth!

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