Sometimes driving in Los Angeles is frustrating. The 405 during rush hour, and even the stop and go traffic of side streets can be irritating, and tedious. I have a thirty-minute drive to my summer job, and it’s my first time ‘commuting’ to work. In an effort to refute negative hype about L.A. traffic, I’ve focused on embracing my drive. It seems like impatience while driving stems from one’s attitude. Rushing home— anxious and impatient— only triggers aggravation on the road. But instead of feeling trapped and frustrated, we can focus on positive ways to enjoy this time we have. Here’s five ways to improve your drive so that it’s manageable and fun!
1. Listen to music— It’s easily my favorite part about driving! I recommend singing along for some karaoke-esq fun. (It’s way better than singing in the shower!) Program your favorite radio stations into your car, hook up your iPod, or stream a playlist from a source like 8tracks. I even make a new CD each week, compiling some oldies, throwbacks, and newly purchased songs. It takes some planning but it’s always worth it.
2. Make it a reflection period— Driving can be therapeutic! It’s easy to concentrate on the negativity of a driving situation. Instead, force yourself to remain calm, and to enjoy the alone time you have. Unwind, think about your day, and relax.
3. Utilize the time—My mom listens to books on tape while she drives. She’s a bookworm, so it’s a perfect activity for her commute. Here are her top three book recommendations, and references for each.
on It by Spencer Quinn “It’s a humorous mystery narrated by the
detective’s dog, Chet.”
for Elephants by Sara Gruen “I know it’s old, but it has a great
A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura
Hillenbrand. “It is a compelling story, and the audio version has rave reviews.
It’s written by the same author who wrote Sea Biscuit.”
Or, turn your car into a classroom, and learn a new language! Programs through CD series, or iTunesapps teach different languages through audio instruction. This is an easy way to truly maximize your time, and gain a valuable skill.
4. Play a Game—When I’m feeling a little competitive, I make a driving challenge for myself: to use my breaks as little as possible. It’s a game to see if I can keep my car moving until the next red light turns green,without driving obnoxiously slow. You know those anxious drivers, the ones who constantly race to get ahead? They speed away, only to slam on their brakes at the next stoplight. Well, I mosey along at the speed limit, andend up right beside them! It’s fun to see how well I do, and amusing to watch just how inefficiently others drive. You’ll stay entertained, and save money on gas! Just remember to drive safely and focus on the road as well.
5. Different makes a difference— If you always drive the same route to and from work, change it up! Not only will it feel fresh and exciting, but the change in scenery will also keep you attentive behind the wheel. Take the freeway one day, and side streets on another. The ride home is a great chance to explore, and deviate from a monotonous routine. Follow an impromptu path and see where you end up. Or do something in the spur-of-the-moment! If you see an interesting shop, a beautiful park, or a neat site, take a stop! This week, I chose a different coffee shop to stop at each day on my drive home, and it was surprisingly fun.
No matter how far your commute is, your driving experience depends on your frame of mind. Find ways to make it fun, and take advantage of the time you have. With positive attitude and a creative approach, you can utilize and enjoy your road time!