Managing the Morning Commute

There's no denying that the morning commute in the Tampa Bay region can be brutal. The traffic patterns in the area leave something to be desired, and the fact that nearly everyone has to drive to work and school further contributes to the problem. Before you know it, traffic can be backed up for miles, making you late to work, frustrated in the morning, and feeling mighty helpless. So, how do you manage the commute and make it as bearable as possible?

Find an Alternate Route

The first, and perhaps most obvious, piece of advice if you fight with traffic every morning is to seek an alternate route. Obviously, if you're new to the area you may not be particularly well-versed in the back roads and off-the-beaten-path-routes, but spending a little time in the evenings plotting different ways to get to the office can make a huge impact. The interstates are always going to be busy, but side roads can sometimes be a little more manageable in the high volume hours.

Choosing the best way to get to work is also a matter of preference. For some people, an hour spent taking a slightly longer route into work is preferable to an hour spent in stop-and-go traffic on the interstate. Many drivers would much prefer to feel like they're actually moving and making progress even if it doesn't necessarily save all that much time either way.

Even if you stick with your tried and true strategy for getting to work, it is also a good idea to have an emergency backup plan and listen for traffic updates before you leave home. There's nothing worse than finding yourself stuck in unexpected traffic and not being able to do a thing about it. If you hear that there is construction or a traffic accident on your road, you may be able to make the moves necessary to avoid the issue altogether.

Leave Earlier

An unenviable prospect if you aren't a morning person, the best way to cut down on your commute is often to simply leave earlier in the morning - particularly if your office pays close attention to when you arrive and depart. While getting to work exceedingly early on that rare morning when traffic isn't so bad may not seem particularly desirable, it is undoubtedly a small sacrifice to remain in the good graces of your employer. Plus, avoiding the early morning rush can be nice and allow you to ease into your day - something you may come to look forward to.

Develop a Routine

Another way to make morning traffic seem like less of a chore is to have a morning routine that you enjoy. Listening to the same ole playlist in the morning can grow stale and contribute to your foul mood. This is why many people enjoy finding an early morning radio disc jockey or talk radio program to listen to in the morning. Every day is something different and if you enjoy the program you may find that you are disappointed when the drive into work is done instead of dreading the drive altogether. Many people also subscribe to a variety of podcasts, which can be set up to automatically download while you sleep. Then, when you get in your car you can look forward to sorting through the entertainment that is waiting for you.
When the time comes to drive into work in the morning, it is best to have the right perspective about the trip. Look at this as "you" time, where you can have the opportunity to process the day ahead, perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee, listen to the radio and drive into work as quickly - and safely - as possible.

Taylor Thomas is a veteran of the professional world who has had to navigate lengthy commutes into work for nearly his entire life. He uses this firsthand experience to help others maintain a good attitude and mental health ( driving to and from work.

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