If you have the average person rank their daily activities from best to worst, commuting will almost always come dead last. Numerous studies bear this out, making what many consider a minor annoyance to be a major factor in everything from stress levels to divorce rates. How can you make your daily drive to and from work take less of a toll?
Make Commuting a Bigger Factor in Life Choices
Increasing your commute can mean being able to afford a larger house or getting a higher-paying job, but we rarely consider how that added time affects us. A University of Montreal study found that commute times over 20 minutes increased burnout, while commutes over 35 minutes made their respondents more cynical about work. Have a commute that’s over 45 minutes? A Swedish study found that this increased the chance of getting divorced by 40%. Once commutes reach the 60 to 90-minute range, drivers report significant increases in worrying and neck problems coupled with decreased socialization. Moreover, these changes are connected directly with commuting: workers who spent the same time away from home but had longer work hours and shorter commutes fared far better physically and mentally.
Before moving or starting a new job, take the time to ask yourself how commute changes will alter your day-to-day life. If you’re stuck with a long commute, there are still plenty of ways you can make it more enjoyable.
Stick to Your Lane
Unless there’s a major disruption from construction or an accident, trying to stay in the same lane. Several tests have shown that constantly switching to the faster moving lane saves less than a minute of time on drives between 30 minutes to an hour long.
Check Your Speed
Most accidents are caused by differences in speed between cars, which makes it more likely you’ll have a collision if you’re speeding in an attempt to shave a few minutes off of your commute. Even if you aren’t in an accident, making sudden stops when encountering traffic jams makes driving more stressful.
Make the Most of Your Commute
Look at your commute as a way to have some alone time. While you may not be able to read a book, listening to podcasts, audiobooks and music can be a pleasant way to pass the time during your drive.
Stay Off the Phone
You’re not at home or at work, so why should you check your email and make calls? Trying to keep up with communications doesn’t just add stress, the added distractions also increase the chance of having an accident. Both Android and Apple phones have “Do not Disturb” modes that can help you keep you from focusing on your phone when you’re on the road.
Consider a Carpool
Carpooling doesn’t just save fuel and wear on your car, it splits the driving responsibility. If two people trade driving responsibilities, then each person has to face the traffic half as often.
Keep Ahead of Traffic and Weather
While you may know how to get to and from work, you can’t tell what kinds of traffic problems you’ll face with each commute. Keeping a navigation app with built-in traffic reporting like Google Maps or Waze running can let you know about issues ahead and help you avoid them. Not sure if the roads are clear? Use an app like 511 Wisconsin to keep tabs on road conditions.
Shift Your Work Schedule
It’s not an option that’s available to everyone, but if you have a position that has flex time or you work in an office that stays open past the usual hours, see if you can change the hours you work. By coming in and leaving outside of the normal commute times, you can shave significant time off of your drive.
Take the Worry Out of Accident Repair
We can’t make your commute any easier, but when you bring your car to Merton Auto Body, you can rest assured that the collision repairs will be done right and done quickly. Our shop is I-CAR Gold Class certified, and our technicians are ASE Certified, giving us the experience and up-to-date training to work on any vehicle. We also have an auto body estimating center and an appraiser on staff to work with your insurance company, so you don’t have to wait to get work approved. Stop by our convenient Sussex location or visit our website to request an online estimate. We proudly service the Waukesha County and Lake Country Areas, including Oconomowoc, Delafield, Hartland, and Pewaukee.