We all know that being a commuter has its challenges – especially if you live in an area where traffic is usually a nightmare during non-rush hour times. However, even with that knowledge, the entire journey can be trying to say the least. If you’re a commuter, there are some essential things you can do to become an even better one – for yourself and those around you.
Leave on Time
While this might seem like an easy one, the reality is that people who are rushing through city streets or highways because they didn’t leave on time often drive erratically in an effort to gain precious ground. Unfortunately, those few extra seconds can lead to serious accidents when a driver is weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. If you know you always seem to be running behind, set your alarm a few minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush during your commute.
Make It Productive
Whether you rely on your own vehicle or public transportation, use the time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. You can even use the time to learn by listening to some of the free lectures posted by major universities or listening to foreign language instruction. If you’re using public transportation, just make sure you use your headphones so you don’t bother everyone around you.
Pack up the Device
Drivers need to make sure they are paying attention, and smartphones and other devices simply don’t help. Even those with the best intentions can find it hard not to reach for the phone when a text comes in, but those few seconds of looking at your phone are dangerous. Keep your devices in a bag, purse or anywhere else that makes it impossible for you to get to them. If you’re worried about making someone angry by not answering, install an app that will automatically send an “I’m driving” message for you.
If you live near others who work in the same direction, consider carpooling. Not only will you save gas and miles on your own vehicle, you’ll also have the potential to remove up to three other vehicles from the road that are vying for spots. Just pair up with others and create a schedule so everyone knows when it’s their turn to drive.
Whether you’re driving or using public transportation, be considerate of those around you. Being a safe driver will help everyone get to work in one piece, and not being rude and obnoxious on the train will just make everyone involved happier.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know to Be a Better Commuter and was authored by Valerie Johnston.