The average commuter spends 45 minutes to an hour driving back and forth to work each day. That’s a lot of time for you and a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle. Still, you can make the most of your commute by following the tips below.
Adjust Your Work Hours
In most cities, the worst time to commute is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. However, you may be able to avoid rush hour by adjusting your work schedule so that you don’t have to be on the road during these peak hours.
Try working out a schedule with your boss that gives you some flexibility for when you come to the office and when you leave. Is it possible for you to work over the weekend? Can you arrive earlier in the morning? You may even want to explore some options for remote work so that you don’t have to spend so much time in your car.
Find Ways to Save Money
Sometimes you have to wonder if the commute is worth the money you’re pouring into your vehicle for gas and maintenance. Here are several ways that you can save money on your commute:
Carpool with colleagues
Use mass transit
Bike to work
Stick to your car’s regular maintenance schedule to avoid major repairs
Avoid toll roads
Take back roads to avoid traffic
Accelerate and brake gently to improve fuel efficiency
Purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle or hybrid
Identify the cheapest gas stations in your area and don’t buy premium gas
Use Pre-tax Dollars
If you enroll in a pre-tax commuter benefit program, you can have the monthly cost of your commute deducted from pay before taxes, which gives you more take-home pay. There are different types of programs available that employers can set up for their employees.
In many cases, these programs will save you up to 40 percent on transportation costs and up to 8 percent on payroll taxes. Savings programs can apply to common transit and driving costs such as train, bus, or ferry fare, rideshare services, parking fees, and bike costs.
Listen to a Podcast
There are currently over 630,000 active podcasts — most of which are easily accessible and ready to play in your vehicle. Podcasts are a great way to provide a little education or enrichment as you slowly edge your way through bumper-to-bumper traffic.
To make the most of your podcast experience, try these helpful tips:
Download the podcast before you head out to save on data costs
Try to listen to a podcast that is roughly the same length as your commute
Create a podcast playlist of pre-downloaded podcasts. That way, you’ll never run out
Mix up your podcasts. Don’t listen to the same topics all the time. You’ll lose interest
Download a podcast app that is easy to use and requires little navigation
Plan Your Trip
Do you take the same route every day only to experience the same frustration? If you pull out the map or do a little research online, you may find that there is a faster, more scenic, or cost-saving route that will cut down on your drive time and your stress.
Remember that your online maps or GPS devices are not always accurate. You may have to take a day or two and explore alternate routes for getting to work or getting home. Leave a little early and give yourself some time for trial and error. You may also want to do a Twitter or web search to find out where other commuters are driving. Something else to remember: for whatever the reason, road conditions may change between your drives to and from work. You don’t have to use the same route for both.
Manage Your Stress
The best way to manage your stress during a commute is to handle it objectively. We have no control over many frustrating aspects of heavy traffic. For instance, changing lanes in slow traffic almost never gets you to your destination faster. Some people do not possess great driving skills. The road does not belong to you, so try to avoid a sense of entitlement.
Your guiding principle should always be this: your choice of where to live and where to work is what led to this commute. So, try to keep things in perspective as you make your way down the highway.
Make Everything Easily Accessible
When driving in heavy traffic, your priority is keeping your eyes on the road. However, like any commuter, you probably have a handful of personal items that make the drive more tolerable. Try to purchase some handy accessories that keep you from digging around for your items. Some accessories may include:
Smartphone docks that place your phone upright in front of you
Adjustable cup holders
Sunglass clips that attach to your visor
Onboard navigation touchscreen
Onboard calling system
And don’t forget, most smart devices now come with audio command functions such as Siri so that you can go hands-free when you’re behind the wheel.
Ride Your Bike
While riding a bike does present its own challenges (weather, pedestrians, and maintenance), there are also many benefits to heading out to work on your bicycle. You may be able to avoid horrendous traffic jams and pull ahead of the line of stationary cars.
Riding a bike is also great exercise. You can burn significant calories during your commute. Biking is a green alternative that keeps you from burning fossil fuels and spending money on gas and repairs.
Riding your bike to work may present a few problems, but these can be easily solved. First, it may take you a little longer to get to work. If so, try to account for the delay by leaving a little earlier. Another downside could be the inherent dangers that riding a bike presents, including cars and pedestrians. You may be able to minimize these hazards by choosing a safer route on more calm side streets. If you have to bring your work with you, get a sturdy ergonomic backpack with good back and shoulder support.
Explore Other Alternatives to Driving
You may live in an area that allows you to take a bus, commuter train, or subway to work. If so, they may be better options than driving in terms of stress level and travel costs. Some factors to consider before you take the subway or the bus to work include cost, distance, commute time, and safety.
Car Subscriptions: Rethinking Car Ownership
At Canvas, we’re helping drivers find better solutions to car ownership or rental. Car subscriptions are a great options for those who don’t want to commit to a multi-year lease or loan. Canvas is also a great option for those that want one less headache. Moving cities or switching jobs can be so stressful, so why not take one less things to worry about off your plate? We’re here to offer a more flexible alternative to car ownership. Curious to learn more about Canvas? You can chat with us at (844) 863-2687 or send us an email email@example.com.