The long road home just got longer.
Commuters around the world are spending an average of eight working days a year stuck in traffic, reports TomTom.com. Vancouver drivers experiences 87 hours of delay time annually, while Torontonians are looking at 83 hours, thanks to traffic jam hell.
The fourth global Traffic Index reveals that traffic congestion on secondary roads is worse than main roads; in fact, taking shortcuts to avoid the clogging actually adds 50% more travel time to commutes.
There’s no escaping this necessary evil. The killer commute takes its toll, including increased risk of obesity, stress, insomnia and loneliness. Heart attack risk is said to triple. Couples in which one partner has a daily commute of 45 minutes or longer one-way to work are more likelier to divorce, reports a Swedish study.
“Traffic jams can take a terrible toll on people because it increases stress hormones in the body - cortisol and adrenaline - which decreases immunity, raises blood pressure and increases stomach acid,” says Dr. Judith Orloff, professor and author.
Give up the dread and live longer! Well at least arrive alive! “Your surrendered attitude during a traffic jam makes all the difference. Instead of approaching them with dread, surrender and let go of the dread,” says Orloff, author of The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life.
Shift your attitude: Set your intention to stay calm, think positive thoughts as you are waiting, and take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind. “You sometimes can’t control the externals of your life but you can control how much you let go of stress and the attitude you have,” says Orloff, of drjudithorloff.com.
Let go of the anger. “Realize that anger is something that we choose. Avoid the ‘they make me so mad when they do that’ syndrome. Do not take it personally, if so you may be killing the wrong person,” says wellness expert Beverly Beuermann-King, of worksmartlivesmart.com.
So instead of sitting and stewing, here are eight things to do in the car to pass the time and be productive. Remember the key is not to be distracted so practice common sense.