Reducing the stress of an LA commute

2934218773_0357953a56_zI’ve been an LA commuter for precisely four weeks now, but it’s not something I feel compelled to shout from the rooftops. Most people cringe when I tell them I live in the valley and now work on the west side of Los Angeles. Bad images quickly come to mind and road rage horror stories are aplenty at the thought of such a daily drive!

My route is a mere 18 miles each way on the infamous 101 and 405 freeways; mornings take about 50 minutes, while evenings usually clock in at less than 40 minutes. And while I do hesitate since I have only just started doing it, I would still like to happily report that it isn’t as miserable as I feared! The last time I commuted more than six miles was back in 2007 when I took a short-term job at a VFX house in Culver City. Those were the days before smart phones and a GPS device in every pocket. It was pretty much a crapshoot each day as to which route to take and how long it will take to get to work. It was over an hour each way that I truly hated and was over the moon when I landed a long term position just a few miles from home.

When I accepted my new job last month, I had memories of that old drive still in my head. I knew that my iPhone could now feed me directions and bring hundreds of hours of entertainment to my fingertips, but I didn’t realized how much better it would make my commuting experience. And all I really need is two apps!

  1. Stitcher – I previously posted about my podcast addiction here, so you’re well aware that I love all sorts of personal finance, fitness, and pop culture shows. I knew these would help pass the time in the car and was totally right on that. I have also reactivated my Audible account so I can listen to some long audiobooks when I want something different.
  2. Waze – This app has TOTALLY changed my commute for the better and I just love it. I had previously used it for directions and finding the quickest route to random places, but now I see how knowing my ETA is the key to reducing my drive stress. When I pull out of my driveway and start the route, I instantly know when I will arrive at work (give or take a few minutes). It doesn’t matter how many slow patches I hit or long red lights I have to wait for, I can simple check that ETA time and trust that I will get to work at that time. Waze has taken out the mystery of which route to take and the stress of potential lateness. I trust the app and know that if I do what it says, it will get me to work as promised. This is truly a game-changer for me!

Do you have a crazy commute? I would highly recommend trying this out for a week to see how it affects your driving state of mind. I feel relaxed in the car and even look forward to the time I get to just listen to my favorite content and see what interesting route I get to explore that day.

(Image: DanielePesaresi)

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