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A Killer Commute

Posted February 27, 2017 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

What is your favorite part of your commute? Is it that you have to wake up 30 – 45 minutes earlier so you can sit in a car? Is it the traffic? The wear-and-tear on your car? Is it the ride home when you’re tired and hungry?

The average employee has a 26-minute commute, which is five minutes longer than when the U.S. Census Bureau first started tracking commutes in 1980. And this, of course, is only if everything goes according to plan.

A longer commute could have negative effects on your health. Here are signs that your commute is taking a toll on your well-being.

For those taking public transportation to work, you may be getting colds more often. The cold virus can linger of surfaces for up to 24 hours. So keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes while you’re commuting and make sure you wash or use hand sanitizer once you get to the office.

As someone who travels to LA frequently for work, I’ve noticed that traffic is terrible even at 7:30 am. Sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D. observed that people are getting up earlier and earlier to avoid commuting problems but this sets us up for serious health risks associated with sleep deprivation. These risks are especially apparent while driving. Driving while tired or drowsy is like driving drunk- it slows decision-making abilities and reaction times and makes people more anxious. Image credit

Commuting can put you at risk for a heart attack. According to one study, Americans spend 42 hours per commuter per year, stuck in traffic. The stress of delays, being in crowds, and the lack of control most people feel during their commute, especially when you’re running late, causes your level of irritation rises, your stress hormones to shoot up, an increase in blood pressure, and an increase in inflammatory cytokines. Over time, this can contribute to the development of heart disease. Doctors recommend staying calm during your commute, even in cases of traffic or bad drivers. Turn on the radio or a podcast to help you relax.

Other studies found that longer commutes make people worse at their jobs and more likely to get divorced. But – not everyone feels this way. There is a small percentage of the population that actually enjoys their commute. A study in Canada found that people who like their job and are paid well also like the commute. Studies find that thinking through your work day during your commute also increases job satisfaction because you come into the office ready to hit the ground running.

In addition, I think it’s obvious that a shorter commute is also enjoyed more than a longer commute and people who have more control over their commute (i.e. walkers and bikers) were happier than those who have less control (i.e. public transit and driving).

Personally, I walk to work every day. I enjoy the quick walk and I spend a few minutes listening to music, a podcast, or thinking through my day. The only downside is I can never blame traffic when I’m late.

What do you do to make your commute more enjoyable?

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#1

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 2:30 AM

My commute is to the bathroom every morning....Retired = vacation every day

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 6:17 AM

Yeah, I have to walk about 15 paces to get to my bench to work on bows, but it's tough... 'cos soon as I've been in their 5 minutes I need to go to the loo
Del

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#4
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 12:16 PM

I've composed a theme song for your visit....

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 8:35 AM

Back in "the day", I used to drive to work through a corner of a National Park, Watching out for large animals on the road can be troublesome.

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#3

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 8:09 AM

Never had a problem waking up. until I turned 50, never needed an alarm clock.

In all seriousness,... early in my career, one of my jobs I traveled about 45 miles to work, about 45-50 minutes. Gave me time to think, plan and organized.

after 4 years,... it got to be a real pain,.... I n the morning, I traveled east, and along the way, the sun would break over the horizon, and on a clear day, it can be rather uncomfortable,... eyes start watering, and if I did have my polarized sunglasses on, made it rough.

And on the way home, of course the sun was also in my eyes,... and what compounded it, is that after a 10-12 hour day, it was trying to fight to stay awake on the drive home.

Of course, shortly after I left, they made it into a 4 lane highway.

And now, starting about 2 years ago,... I'm really beginning to look forward to at least semi-retirement. But I like to stay working as long as I can. Even in retirement.

But I have to add,... when I did some jobs in California,... the commute they did,.. was insane.

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#5

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 2:37 PM

15 minute car drive, that includes stopping at the corner shop for a newspaper. Drive is through some very nice countryside. My record journey home from company car park to my front drive is 7 minutes.

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#6

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 2:37 PM

My first job had a 50 minute commute, though it was against traffic it definitely wore on me after a few months. It was incredibly frustrating to be done with your work day, then have to face nearly an hour home. I also was paid so little that to fork over a fairly significant amount of money for gas every week, also made it nearly unbearable.

Now, I have a quick 15-20 minute drive and I'm thankful everyday!

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#7
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 2:45 PM

One witnesses a lot of near misses during the summer months.

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#8

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 3:07 PM

More enjoyable?

Ride this.

All 5.25 miles of it. But sometimes I might have to take the 'long cut' if the weather is especially nice.

Yeah, I'm done with long commutes. Been there, done that, don't want to ever do it again. In fact, I think I'll go home and make a sandwich for lunch.

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#9
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 3:11 PM

There was one thing I was really impressed by, I was going down the highway (to work) and this Gold Wing passes me,... I was so impressed, it was quieter than a sewing machine,... and compared to hogs, not one bit of vibration.

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#14
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 11:26 AM

The Buell has a Harley engine in it. Some vibration can be considered part of the experience (so long as it doesn't become a hindrance or distracting). Buell did a very nice job with engine mounts so that little vibration is felt through the handlebars or seat once you get it off idle. At idle, it hops all around.

I've owned a couple of Honda V-4's in their Interceptor models and they are mechanically very smooth due to their 90 degree vee configuration, but the engine sound is distinctive.

Gold Wings are very good at what they are designed to do. Gobble up huge tracts of land in a more or less upright position. Considering their size, they do pretty well in the turns, but with an 800 lb. plus bike, physics still plays its part.

I would consider ourselves to be blessed that we have so many choices to satisfy nearly every desire.

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#15
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 11:36 AM

I have a Subaru Forester with its boxer engine. Although it is a rapid car & a smooth ride, it also wobbles at idle. Feels like you're on a small boat on rippled water.

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#16
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 11:41 AM

My first bike was a ts400 Suzuki. It was my brother's that I beat pretty badly on the farm. When he began to notice, he didn't complain at first because I kept it pretty well maintained (tires, chain, etc.) Eventually, though, it began to show. It got to a point where I had to buy it from him...when I was old enough to drive it, that is.

Soon after, I read the reviews on the GS1100. I wanted so badly to get it but lacked the money at the time.

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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 2:34 PM

I emptied my savings account as a junior in college to get one the first 1983 Honda 750 Interceptors for about $3,500. A very different bike for the times. Technology quickly overshadowed it in the next four or five years, but it handled so much better than my 1970 CB750. And much smoother too.

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#18
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 2:46 PM

I recall, I think it was in the late 70's or early 80's, Honda came out with a new transmission. The Honda hawk or something...

That Susuki had a shaft drive; when I was readying the reviews, they were saying it was a nice balanced bike (you could throw sparks on the foot rest while taking a curve).

My brother had a '74 Sportster and he couldn't do that after trying, but he could take the ditch and tear up the 15th green on a golf course. And he had a 3" scar on his back to show to prove it. ;)

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#19
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 10:19 PM

I used to have a Honda Shadow 750 with a shaft drive.. It was a pleasure to ride.. just enough rumble while being a smooth ride. I threw a few sparks off the footrest in the turns until the bottom of the foot rest came off.

I don't have that bike anymore, but the footrest might be out in the garage.

It made every commute a treat.

One perk of biking in Illinois? No helmet law.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: A Killer Commute

03/01/2017 7:14 AM

When I first started riding,... not wearing a helmet was just part of a long list of rules, laws and regulations that I was breaking.

I'm glad I can put the teenage years behind me.

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#10

Re: A Killer Commute

02/27/2017 10:27 PM

I recently leased a 2017 Lincoln MKZ and it is the technology wave of the future. The salesman told me it has all the technology incorporated in it that is necessary for self driving. It just does not combine it for the execution. It has lane markings on the dash to alert you of crossing a line. If you signal a turn to the left lane, it will warn if there is a car in the blind spot. It has adaptive cruise control so it automatically slows down as you approach a car in front of you going slower or if you go to left lane it will automatically move back up to the set speed. Plus many more that I have not figured out yet no doubt.

They feel that in 3 years, cars like this will be available as self driving. I am ready!

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#11
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Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 4:13 AM

I wonder if that would cope with our local hazards, the occasional flock of sheep coming towards you, catching up with horse & rider and, on one occasion, finding a group of people trying to persuade a bull to return to its field.

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#12

Re: A Killer Commute

02/28/2017 8:13 AM

I have never worked closer than 30 miles from home. For the last 15 years I have a 50 mile drive each way door step to door step. I have a friend about to accept a job about 70 miles from home. I know another who commuted about 100 miles each way. Now that's too much.

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#21

Re: A Killer Commute

03/01/2017 9:03 PM

When I was a young adult I would commute to a farm about twenty miles out of town. Seemed like I was doing it backwards.

I would be up at the crack of dawn and come home at dusk. This avoided any rush hour I might have encountered.

Most of the distance was on a freeway so I could get up and cruise. Part of the time I had a hot rod(?) Ford Falcon and then I got a big old Cadillac that just loved to go 80. I put stereo tape deck in the Cadillac.

I worked six days a week except during harvest which was seven until it was done. In Winter cut back to forty hours a week.

The farmer paid 25% above minimum because it was the only way he could get good workers. I worked so many hours I didn't have much time to spend my wages. Sundays off were a blessing. Did my chores in the morning and partied in the afternoon. And Saturday night, of course.

To this day I say it was the best job I ever had. I could go on but this is it in a nutshell.

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