If you have ever lived in Columbus, you know how hard it is to merge onto 23 North off of Interstate 270. It’s a nightmare. I used to work one block north of the merge.
Traffic would back up all the way along the ramp and, sometimes, would carry all the way onto 315. There wasn’t much room to deviate from that route either. It’s just about the only place in town that doesn’t offer a different choice of roads, but even with alternates, not many people think about changing their route.
According to a survey commissioned by BP Products North America Inc, Columbus commuters are creatures of habit, with eighty-six percent agreeing that they have a very specific commute route that they adhere to on a daily basis. Even if there is construction, we tend to stick to the same roads and that causes traffic jams.
Trust me; that traffic can make people grumpy. Just ask my former co-workers. Three out five Columbus commuters agree that a bad commute can impact their mood for the rest of the day. I was one of them.
Craig Sinclair, traffic reporter with Clear Channel Radio Network in Columbus recently shared some tips on how to “Commute Better” by avoiding congestion and maximizing your time on the road:
* Try to leave 15 minutes earlier or later than usual to avoid rush hour. A 15 minute change in drive-time can make a difference in Columbus. When you leave early enough for your destination, you won’t feel as pressured to put the pedal to the metal and you’ll be able to employ gentle driving techniques.
* Listen to the traffic report before your commute. Don’t wait until you’re sitting in traffic to tune-in. You’ll save yourself, and others, time.
* Research alternate routes along the way to your destination which are easily accessible from main roads to combat traffic hold-ups.
Visit a one-stop shop for all your commuting needs to avoid multiple-stops – from fuel to beverages like your morning java fix. Recent changes at your local BP station will make your stops at BP more enjoyable.
*All grades of BP gasoline with Invigorate® help your car get a few more miles per tank when compared to low-detergency, low-quality gasoline (I saw the difference with my own eyes). When used continuously, it helps clean and protect critical engine parts from harmful deposits, so you’ll go a little farther between fill-ups.
* Plug your destination into your GPS before you leave the driveway. If you do encounter congestion you can allow the GPS to re-direct you.
* Drive in the center lane, when possible. On multi-lane highways, the center lane offers the most flexibility—speeding drivers can pass on the left and merging/exiting traffic is on the right. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work!
* Run errands on Sunday morning versus before or after work. Sunday morning drive times take about half the time it takes to navigate from one side of the city to the other during the work week. If Sunday morning is not conducive to errands, set aside some time to plan them into your schedule for the following week so you can make stops at your convenience when you’re on-the-go. Also, for parent’s on-the-go, consider working on your to-do list in the evening when the kids are in bed with your spouse at home. You can get more done quickly and it isn’t as hot out.
* Avoid being a “taxi” for your kids and go to a coffee shop or a nearby local park while your kids’ participate in after school programs so you can avoid going back and forth. Or, make phone calls and set up appointments while sitting in the car waiting for your kids to be done with activities.
* Drive with other commuters. This helps cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car. When time and schedule allows, embrace and cruise with the traffic. Flowing with freeway traffic when possible can decrease wind resistance, but only if you’re staying within a reasonable speed of 65 mph or less.
* In heavy traffic, go easy on the pedal. Driving stress can translate into tenseness that has your foot pushing harder on the pedal than is necessary.
All of these tips are thanks to BP and their Commute Better Crew. Have you seen them? They’ve been out and about in different Columbus locations handing out free commuter essentials.
And, guess what? BP wants me to hand out ANOTHER free gas card! Leave a comment on this post before Monday, August 8th at noon Eastern to be entered to win a $40 BP gas card.
For an additional entry, you can tweet about this post or share it on Facebook, then come back here and leave the link in a separate comment.
Good luck and happy commuting!
*Update* Congrats to the winner, Colleen!