If you’ve been paying attention, you would have noticed that South Africa’s roads - especially Cape Town - have started to become more congested with every passing week and month. I myself sit in traffic to and from work on a daily basis and it drives me absolutely nuts. So, if like me you have no choice but to sit in queues of traffic each day, well, then you’re going to need some coping mechanisms so that you don’t lose your mind.
Here are five ways to make the daily commute a bit easier.
Buy an automatic car
I don’t currently have this option but having recently felt the costs of wear and tear on a gearbox and clutch, it’s definitely something I’m going to invest in for the future. As mentioned, it minimises potential damage on your vehicle’s mechanics, but it also means you’re not hurting your left leg by constantly depressing the clutch.
We’re fortunate to have many test cars make their way onto our driveway and when we have an automatic is in our care (which is more often than not these days), I am more than happy to use it to work. Just this one small switch from manual to auto makes a huge difference to my mental state in traffic.
Leave earlier or later
If you can, try to leave before peak traffic starts. Perhaps your boss would agree to you leaving work earlier if you start earlier?
If not, maybe you could get in a gym workout before the work day starts. I belong to a gym that’s on my way to work and leaving early and squeezing in a decent workout before work is so good for my mood, that I don’t even mind the small bit of traffic between gym and work. Leaving for work a bit later means you miss the peak hour craziness as well.
Find podcasts that you enjoy
I know there’s radio and many people have their favourite playlists stored on their phones, but I have come to find that podcasts are much better at keeping my mood light and my brain stimulated in traffic (as I can sometimes feel sleepy when travelling at 20 km/h).
You can choose a topic that you are interested in, save a few offline episodes and listen to it during your commute. There’s everything from comedic podcasts to general ones about news to short stories, relationship advice, and more.
I refer to this mainly for the after-work commute. The last time I would have eaten was around lunch time at 1pm, and the next time I eat is dinner time at about 6.30pm, so when I’m on the way home, I tend to feel a bit snacky.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling edgy and on top of that I feel hungry, it’s not a great combination under any circumstances, let alone in a traffic jam. If I have fruit on my desk at work, I always grab one or two to munch on my way home.
Chat to your Google Assistant or Siri
Hey, traffic can be boring, but you could use this time to ask your Google Assistant or Siri some of life’s burning questions. I know I do. Or maybe just some random ones that you have been wanting the answers to. The results could be quite funny, and these answers could come in handy for your next quiz night. And if anything, if you’re commuting alone in the daily traffic grind, a chatty companion can help pass the time… On that note, “Hey Siri! How long will it take me to get to work?”