No one likes to be stuck idling in traffic. It's a waste of both time and gas, and more often than not it leads to some seriously cranky drivers. Unfortunately, traffic is largely unavoidable - or is it? While heavy traffic may be just another part of life in many parts of the U.S., there are a few interesting bits of information that may impact how you drive in the future.
How bad was rush hour in 2014?
TomTom recently released a study examining what traffic was like in 2014. According to the data, drivers sat in so much traffic during their afternoon commute that they could have traveled to the moon
and back. Not only that, but they could have made the space journey an astonishing 2.5 times. What's even worse is that all of this wasted time only occurred between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on workdays - meaning the total time spent in traffic is actually much, much longer.
Many reasons to get off the roads
So traffic is pretty prevalent throughout the country - why does it matter? For starters, it's a major drain on personal time. This is one of the top complaints by drivers, as many desire to spend more time with their loved ones and participating in hobbies they enjoy.
"At TomTom, we know that one of the biggest luxuries today is time and there are many more things that people would rather do than sit in traffic," said Jocelyn Vigreux, president of TomTom USA. "Fifty percent of Americans listed 'Spending More Time with Family' as their No. 1 New Year's resolution last year, and TomTom can help keep that New Year's resolution by spending less time on the road and more time with loved ones."
Although some may simply view this congestion as a nuisance, it actually can have a serious impact on a car. Constant stop-and-go traffic requires strong brakes, which necessitates frequent brake service
. Drivers also need to ensure they're investing in fuel injection cleaning
and other types of engine upkeep. Idling in traffic can wreak havoc on a vehicle's power center, so it's essential to keep to a maintenance schedule and have your car operating at a high level.
How to avoid traffic
Despite the fact that many drivers are competing for clear roads and easy commutes, there are ways to bypass some road congestion. Here are three tips offered up by TomTom.
Know the busiest times
It's no secret that rush hour traffic is much worse than other parts of the day. Across the country, hitting the road before 4 p.m. or closer to 6 p.m. can ultimately save time. Rush hours may also vary depending on geographic location. For instance, 5 p.m. is the worst time to hit the road in Washington, D.C., while the most congested time in Atlanta runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Get creative with your travel plans
Because driving in the typical rush hours can be a pain, it may be beneficial for motorists to think outside the box. Even something as simple as leaving at the 30-minute mark of an hour instead of on the hour can save time. Most people leave when a new hour begins, so you can make your travel more efficient by taking off at a different time.
Embrace tools with traffic information
In today's modern world, there are plenty of electronics that can help you accomplish your driving goals. Smartphone apps are beginning to integrate traffic data into their route options, allowing you to take advantage of back roads and shortcuts.