Morning commutes leaving you stressed? After being jolted awake by those dreaded alarm clock beeps and struggling to get out of bed and ready for the day, you’re likely already feeling the pressure before you even walk out of the door. Whether you are a morning person or not, the start of your day is hectic, and the last thing you need is a traffic-filled commute to work — but it is seemingly unavoidable. With so many people on similar work schedules, it is next to impossible to have an easy drive, but we have some tips to beat the commuter blues on your drive to work.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average commute time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes.
Here are some tips to make the trip less stressful:
- Set your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier so you do not feel as rushed. Whether you end up leaving your house earlier or spending those extra minutes on a task you usually speed through, you will be surprised what having 10 extra minutes can do to your stress levels.
- Listen to soothing music on your drive to calm your heightened nerves. You may even want to try downloading a podcast or audio book to keep your mind off of the time.
- Sit up straight and move your seat closer to the steering wheel to help avoid back pain. You can even place a small pillow between your lower back and the seat for extra support. If your muscles are relaxed, your mind will be more at ease, too.
- Try carpooling with a co-worker who lives nearby or a neighbor whose office is close to yours. Less cars on the road means less traffic — yet 76.4 percent of Americans drive to work alone, according to a 2013 survey report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Driving with a co-worker or neighbor also gives you someone to talk to on your commute, which may make the time seem to pass a little faster.
- Download a traffic app, like Waze, on your phone to help you find the most direct and least congested roads.
- On the other hand, you may want to look for the most scenic route. Even if it’s not the most direct way to get to work, the beauty of nature may help to make your commute more pleasant.
If you are still frustrated by your morning drive, take comfort in knowing that Gainesville has significantly shorter commute times than the majority of the country with an average of 13.9 minutes. Because the city is home to the University of Florida, students, faculty and staff travel to and from campus at various times throughout the day. This means the flow of traffic spans a wider range of time, unlike most places that have peak rush hours.
The truth is that as much you pace your time in the morning, you may still endure an aggravating commute. And when that happens, the best thing to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
The morning rush can cause excessive anger, which can lead to aggression — and being heated while driving proves very dangerous. Road rage accounts for 66 percent of traffic fatalities. Use your turn signal when switching lanes, motion to drivers to thank them for letting you pass in front of them and be mindful of the fact that everyone has a destination they’re trying to reach. Figuring out what calms you can help you curb your frustration and ensure a safer commute for you and for others around you.