Driving Safety on the 405

April 5, 2024 Car Accident

Even considering California’s notoriously bad traffic conditions, the 405 has a reputation for causing massive traffic delays, backups, and accidents. Sometimes called the San Diego Freeway, this major artery links both northern and southern parts of Los Angeles, or San Fernando Valley and Orange County, and flows under the large steel bridge structure of Mulholland Drive. Many commuters who reside in San Fernando or Long Beach use the 405 daily to drive to work in West Los Angeles or Santa Monica while the thoroughfare is also congested with traffic headed to and from LAX.

The 405 freeway is a major contributor to California’s accident numbers with 1,098 accidents in 2022 alone. Before you take on the challenge of six narrow lanes of cracked and patched asphalt making up the country’s most congested highway, the Encino car accident attorneys want to share with drivers the recommended safety tips to help you reach your destination.

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Times to Avoid Driving the 405 in California

Depending on your reasons for trying to reach a destination by taking the 405, it isn’t always possible to avoid high-traffic times; however, some times are more dangerous on the 405 than others. Data shows that car accident numbers on 405 are highest during the following times:

  • Tuesday from 3:00 to 6:00 PM
  • Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00 PM
  • Friday from 12:00 to 3:00
  • Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 PM
  • Saturday from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • The day before and after any major holiday

With six lanes of traffic full of weaving, and aggressive drivers determined to risk lives to get a car-length ahead, it’s worth changing plans whenever possible to avoid these high-risk times. If you must use this freeway during high traffic times, it’s best to give yourself plenty of extra time, choose an interesting podcast or your favorite playlist, and prepare for a 10-mile-per-hour, stop-and-start journey. It saves frustration to accept that a 12-mile journey is going to take up to an hour.

Consider Longer Routes

Depending on your destination, your GPS could show you longer routes that may actually save you time due to the commonly gridlocked traffic on the 405. For some trips, the 405 is the only logical route, but there are alternatives to consider, especially if you don’t just hate traffic congestion but have anxiety about this type of high-traffic situation. Using your GPS feature to alert you to alternate routes is helpful when navigating the 405.

Tips For Maximizing Safety on California’s 405

If you’ve decided to grit your teeth and take on the challenge of navigating the 405 due to a lack of viable alternatives, there are some freeway driving tips that help improve the odds of avoiding an accident:

  • Maintain a safe following distance (57% of reported accidents on 405 results from tailgating)
  • Resist the urge to speed during rare times of clearer traffic conditions (55.24% of 405 accidents result from unsafe speeds)
  • Use your signal lights when changing lanes and always check and double-check your mirrors to avoid unsafe lane changes
  • Stay with the flow of traffic by not speeding or driving excessively slowly
  • Avoid the middle lane which has the most accidents due to weaving drivers trying to cut over one way to exit and the other way to bypass traffic
  • Avoid distractions
  • Scan the roadway ahead while you drive instead of focusing only on the car or space directly in front of you
  • Avoid last-minute lane changes by preparing for an exit well in advance
  • Reserve the left lane for passing and faster traffic

Be prepared for unpredictable driving times due to accidents. If injured in a car accident, it’s imperative to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Encino to navigate legal proceedings and pursue rightful compensation for damages. The busiest section of the 405 spans about 70 miles but it functions like a small funnel channeling millions of drivers in the 4th most traveled section of highway in the United States.

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