Congested Traffic and Health: What Can You Do?

Could there be a problem for our health by sitting in traffic too long?

A new study out is being widely reported:

The nation’s commuters are adapting to increasing traffic congestion by building  delays into their schedules, but at a cost of $121 billion in wasted time and  fuel, according to an annual study of national driving patterns  released Tuesday.

The study calculates that costs the average commuter $818 per year to sit in traffic. That’s about $2.25 per day — which doesn’t seem like much. Over a year, that’s a burden.

Beyond the divot in our budgets, that excessive time may rob us of the benefits of getting enough sleep, eating better, and spending time with friends and family.  The relative loss of those advantages can add significantly to our stress and degrade our health.

Perhaps there is more we can do than “building delays into their schedules.”

Conservative commuters often use the time to stay caught up on the news through talk radio. That’s obviously not a bad thing in itself.

However, I find that if my stress level is high as I travel, news of  the administration’s latest encroachment on liberty is too much. So I sometimes listen to peaceful music — classical, religious, or oldies.

What can be done to reduce the time spent commuting? For some of us, there’s nothing that can be done — at least any more than we’re already doing.

That may mean adopting a positive attitude for the sake of  mental health. A person could even pray for other drivers. I should try that myself.

Another method to solve this is to get a job closer to home — easier said than done in a bureaucracy-burdened and overtaxed economy. But still possible.

Or if you want to move to the best place in the country for traffic, try Pensacola, Florida. You’ll only add 9 minutes during peak hours to a trip that would take 30 minutes without traffic.

Say, guess where the worst place in the country is? It just might be the place where ridiculous traffic is an indicator of the bloated growth of government . . .

That’s right, Washington, DC. An average trip that would take half an hour without traffic requires 3 hours. Ouch.