Much of America was built so that people live far away from where they work. This means commuting by car. Thankfully, Jalopnik readers know ten ways to keep you sane in your twice-daily hell.
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Photo Credit: Mr Doomits/Shutterstock
Suggested By: E30fernando
Why it works: Just because there's no nice bus or train that goes to where you work doesn't mean you have to drive to work. You don't even have to wear spandex and then shower like those weird dudes who bike to your office.
Just carpool. You save gas and money and you get genuine human interaction, which is a plus if your coworkers aren't all insane.
Photo Credit: Washington State Dept of Transportation
9.) Play the "Don't Brake" Game
Suggested By: Mr. Import
Why it works: We're not advocating crashing into lines of traffic; there's actually a great way of saving gas and wear on your car with a good game.
Rather than drive in stop-and-go traffic as you normally would, maintain a greater distance from the car ahead so that you never have to brake. While they go from zero to 10 and back to zero, you can cruise by at an even five miles an hour. It's a bit of a challenge, but it's worth the mental effort.
Photo Credit: JefferyTurner
8.) Drive Stick
Suggested By: F86Pilot
Why it works: Outside of the US, nearly everyone drives a manual. For them, it's a pain to have to commute while worrying about your clutch and shifting ten thousand times on the way to work.
For us woefully bored Americans, however, it's just the right amount of challenge we need compared to our soporific automatic Camrys and Accords. Working harder to keep your car going helps make a commute interesting and bearable.
Photo Credit: Patrick Machado
Suggested By: Cloud81918
Why it works: One of the reasons why hybrids sell so well is that they aren't actually cars, but giant video games on wheels. If you press the gas pedal very gently, keep your average speed very consistent, and plan out difficult merges to stay moving, you get a higher "score" of more miles per gallon, as displayed on your dashboard.
Well, you don't have to buy a Prius to play this game. Most new cars have built-in MPG-meters these days, so you can do all the same tricks hybrid drivers do to entertain themselves behind the wheel and save gas while doing so. Not everything fun behind the wheel requires going fast.
Photo Credit: Ron Tamondong
6.) Listen to NPR
Suggested By: magman007
Why it works: Everyone has their own favorite radio station and their talk shows of choice, though we recommend NPR for one reason alone: the news they read is so deeply, utterly depressing that it makes whatever shitty highway you're stuck in feel like paradise.
That SUV driver definitely cut you off, but at least your native forest isn't getting bulldozed for a giant coal factory that spills waste directly into your children's preschool's playground.
Photo Credit: alex de carvalho
5.) Get a Ton of Audiobooks
Suggested By: ejp hates automatic transmissions
Why it works: Radio and talk shows work, but if your commute is really awful, you have to start mainlining the hard stuff. Start downloading audiobooks. Go through a chapter or two on the way to work, and have the next chapter to look forward to on the way back.
Photo Credit: Lester Public Library
4.) Change Your Route
Suggested By: LuckyChuck
Why it works: You may think that you only have one highway that leads to work, but that's probably just the fastest way there; if you are willing to spend more time in the car, there is always a less direct, more twisting series of back roads that will get you to work.
It will be a longer route, but it will be prettier, more interesting, and the roads will be clearer.
Photo Credit: Ben Bunch
3.) Listen to Music
Suggested By: Dwhite
Why it works: This one is obvious, but if you're smart about it, music is one of the best ways to make commutes bearable. Match the songs you're playing to the mood of the traffic. You get the smooth classical going when the road is clear and you turn on the hardcore thrash metal when you're stuck bumper to bumper.
Photo Credit: lovestruck.
2.) Leave Earlier
Suggested By: Turn3IsGreaterThanDale
Why it works: Getting up earlier sucks, but if you can leave home with enough time to beat the morning rush hour it will be worth it. Get to know your Mr. Coffee very well.
Photo Credit: rian_bean
1.) Do it in a Car Worth Driving
Suggested By: bugattatra
Why it works: Yes, you could buy a Camry or Altima or Fusion or Accord when it's time to get a new car. It will be dependable and safe. It will, however, drive you absolutely insane in bumper-to-bumper traffic because it is stiflingly boring.
Find yourself a zippy hatchback, or a little sports car, or even an older classic car you've always wanted to buy. It will make you think. It will keep you entertained. It will make you feel happier going down the road than all the beige transportation boxes that everyone else is driving.
Photo Credit: aidan.cavanagh