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5 Ways to Improve Your Commute

5 Ways to Improve Your Commute

Photo courtesy of gohsuket via Creative Commons

Steve Berman | NonProfitPeople

The average commute time for workers in the US is 24.4 minutes each way, but for many of us the journeys to and from work are really much longer — or at least they seem that way. But at the same time there’s relief. While most people haven’t noticed their commutes getting noticeably shorter, the recession and resulting high unemployment rates have actually lowered the amount of people on the roads during rush hour, and technological advancements have allowed more of us to work from home than ever before.

However, with many states facing severe budget crises — leading to much-needed repairs or improvements to aging infrastructures being delayed, along with slashed public transportation services — commutes for many of us continue to be time-consuming and quite stressful.

Whether you’re driving, taking the train or bus, or even walking to work, there are ways to improve the commuting experience. Here are five tips so you won’t feel like pulling your hair out in the morning before you even get to your desk — or when you get home in the evening.

1. Carpool

Ever glance longingly at the far left lane on the highway with the diamonds on it — the one where cars are actually moving? Ever wish you could get in that carpool lane, only you can’t because you have a complicated schedule, or no one you know is traveling in the same direction you are, or you’re just squeamish about allowing strangers in your car?

Luckily, you carpooling doesn’t have to seem like some horror flick about hitchhikers. If you work at a company with more than 20 or so employees, you probably don’t really know where everyone lives. Try sending out an email to your coworkers asking if anybody would be open to getting a ride — or, even better, splitting the driving with you.

If you get no takers, there are plenty of rideshare programs that millions of people use everyday. You won’t have to worry about picking up any ex-cons; other ridesharers are upstanding working people like you, looking to save time (and money, in some cases) on their way to work.

2. Wake up Earlier

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man (or woman!) healthy, wealthy and … stress free?

If you aren’t a morning person or you absolutely have to be present in the office from 9-to-5, leaving before rush hour isn’t a great option for you. However, the most obvious way to avoid a traffic-laden commute is to avoid traveling when everyone else is on the road.

Arriving first in the office can be a bit strange at the beginning, but it’s also a great opportunity to get a head start on the day without as many distractions. If your early arrival allows you to leave early, you’ll also hit less traffic on the way home. Bonus! If you can’t call it a day before the rest of your coworkers, you might have the opportunity to get a workout in or handle some errands while taking a long lunch.

Tip No. 3: My Way Isn’t the Highway >>