Tips to Survive a Long Commute, Road Trip, or Drive Alone
Right now, I have a long commute to work. On a good day, it takes me 1.5 hours to get to work and another 1.5 hours to get back home. On a bad day, it can be over 2 hours each way. The drive can be boring, monotonous, and sleep inducing. Luckily, I have a few techniques that get through the drive.
So, do you have a long daily commute? Comment below, and let’s see who has the longest commute!
Audiobooks are a great way to break up the monotony of a long drive. I never considered myself the type of person that listens to audiobooks. Even with all the reading I had to do during school and with all my classmates singing the praises of audiobooks, I just dismissed them. Sitting somewhere and listening to a book just seemed boring to me. However, with the drive, I decided to give them a chance. They’ve changed my world. At first, I chose to listen to nonfiction books, including Laurence Gonzales’ Flight 232, Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire, and William Shatner’s Up Till Now. However, lately, I’ve been dabbling in some fiction, including Andy Weir’s The Martian and Jonas Jonasson The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. While I’m still not interested listening to audiobooks while I’m doing housework or trying to relax, they do make amazing companions for a long commute.
I get all my audiobooks from Audible, which is subscription service. For around $22 a month, I get 2 credits, but I go through more than 2 books a month. I watch for the daily deals and other sales, and I try to spend my credits on the most expensive books I’m interested in.
While audiobooks are usually my preferred form of entertainment, I do occasionally get tired of them. This is when I turn to either the radio or the tiny amount of music I have on my phone. I have a love-hate relationship with the radio. Sometimes, I just cannot stand the morning talk show. But, other times, I love the games and pranks they play. My taste in music also changes throughout the day. In the morning, I’m all about classic rock. In the afternoon, I’m usually in the mood for old country (though, it’s hard to find a station that is truly dedication to the “old” in old country). I only have songs from one band on my phone: Queen. And, every time I listen to it in the car, I sing as loud as I can, fully aware that those in the cars around me at stoplights can hear my awful singing voice. What types of music do sing to on your commute?
Make it a Game
When I’m really dreading the drive, I try to play a game. There are several that I play – the license plate game, an “I spy” game (which involves me coming up with items, such as custom plates or a rare car model, to spot), or the smile game. The smile game is my favorite, though it may be too corny for some of you. The entire point of the game is to smile a large, goofy smile every time I make eye contact with other motorists. I usually get an equally (if not more) goofy grin or face in response. I like this game because it helps me connect to other people (even if it’s in such a tiny way) and it forces me to smile – which can really lift my mood after a long day at work.
Mix it Up
As expected, I typically take the quickest route to work and home. But, sometimes, I just feel like I’m stuck in a rut that I need to break out of. So, about once a month I indulge my sense of adventure; I take a different turn so I get to the highway in a slightly different way. Usually, this adds no more than 10 minutes to the drive, and it’s well worth the break in the routine. If I’m really feeling it, I’ll try to go the last 30 minutes of the drive on back roads (which I’ve discovered is nearly impossible). While this can add a good 15-30 minutes to the trip, it is refreshing to see something new.
Find Something to Eat or Drink
If I find myself falling asleep, I buy a drink and something to snack on. The drink usually has some caffeine (such as an iced tea), but I try to steer away from anything that is high caffeine. It will either keep me up at night or cause me to crash from the caffeine high (which is the last thing I need when I’m driving). For food, I try to choose something that will last. A baguette from Panera, some hard candies, or a bag of baby carrots. What are some of your favorite snacks for the road?
If all else fails, run.
If the food and drink fails to help wake me up and I find that my eyelids are still heavy, I pull over and take a run. Seriously. I’ll park in the back of a parking lot, get out, and run a few laps next to my car. Just a few paces will get my heart rate up, helping me stay alert and focused for the rest of my drive.
With all of these strategies to make my commute less dreadful, the most important thing to do is to remain safe. I don’t text, email, or play with my phone while I drive – and I wouldn’t support anyone that does. So, do you have any tips for surviving a long commute? If so, comment below so I can try them out.