Atlantans spend way too much time in traffic. Forbes released a list of the Most Traffic-Jammed Cities; I was surprised Atlanta didn’t make the list. Los Angeles ranks the worst, with drivers wasting 64 hours annually in traffic. A conservative estimate of my 13 mile commute estimates that I waste at least 120 hours annually in traffic if I work a typical 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule four days a week and work from home that fifth day.
There’s more to life than traffic. Here are my survival tips.
- Plan your schedule around your commute. Play with your commute times to find what works best for you. I’ve found that in order to have a flowing commute, I need to leave my house before 7 a.m. or after 9:30 a.m. Otherwise, I can plan on a minimum 45 minute commute. I’m trying to become more of an early bird in order to maximize the time in my day. In the afternoon, it’s best to leave no later than 4:40 p.m., though that rarely happens.
- Find new routes. Humans are creatures of habit and most of us will take the same route to/from work each day. Get out of your comfort zone and find new routes for your commute. Chances are they may be faster or less frustrating! You can use an app like Waze, navigate new roads via Google Maps or take a walk/run/bike ride to learn new streets.
- Stay alert and aware. When you’re checking email or texting while driving, you cannot fully focus on what’s happening around you. Don’t be that swervy driver; drive with intent. Staying alert and aware will ensure you never miss a turn light, while gleaning you extra opportunities to pass someone, take a detour or notice dangers ahead. I hate getting stuck behind someone who is completely oblivious to what’s happening behind them. Especially when that person is the slow one in the fast lane, or driving next to another car on a two-lane road. Get out of the way!
- Arm yourself with audiobooks, podcasts and calming music. High energy or aggressive music only bottles up my energy in traffic and makes me road ragey. An audiobook helps me channel my nervous traffic energy better and at least make me feel as if I’m using my time productively. I use Audible and Spotify religiously.
- Take an alternative commute. Telecommute, carpool, take public transportation, ride your bike! The Clean Air Campaign offers a variety of incentives and resources to help you. Many employers may also offer incentives or subsidies for things like MARTA passes or vanpool rentals.
What helps you survive a hellish commute?
Do you have any audiobooks or podcasts to recommend?