Over the course of one year, every single one of us will spend the equivalent of a full work week sitting in traffic, and the stress and frustration is killing us! A new study recently found that being in a traffic jam TRIPLES your risk of having a heart attack within one hour. However, it is possible to shave minutes off your commute. How? Just follow these three commuter tips from Rodale Publishers.

  • First, don’t fly right by those traffic lights on freeway onramps. The signals regulate the flow of traffic by forcing everyone to wait between 15 and 30 seconds before getting on the freeway. According to Dr. David Schrank of the Texas Transportation Institute, those few seconds will cut 10 minutes off the average commute time.
  • Drive in the middle lane of the freeway. Why? Safety specialist Julie Stevens says fewer rear-end crashes happen in the middle lane, because people don’t have to deal with cars merging onto the freeway or the speed demons in the fast lane. Remember your freeway etiquette: allow other drivers to merge onto the freeway from the on-ramp, and if you’re not traveling fast enough to pass the cars to your right, then MOVE OVER!
  • Respect other people’s turn signals. Changing lanes is one of the riskiest things you can do on the highway, so avoid an accident by giving people the room to move.
  • The final way to shorten your commute: Don’t tailgate! Tom Vanderbilt literally wrote the book on traffic safety. It’s called Traffic. He says when you tailgate you’re hitting your breaks too often, which causes the guy behind you to do the same. This creates a shockwave effect that can travel miles down the freeway, causing stop and go traffic. Instead, leave a four-second cushion between you and the car in front of you. Four seconds really is the minimum. Leaving a two-second gap means you’re three times more likely to cause a collision!