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The How-To Lounge: Staying Occupied While Stuck in Traffic

August is the busiest month of the summer when it comes to traveling. Now that airport delays are at record highs, many people are hitting the open road - but with so many people having the same idea, you have to deal with traffic. If you're anything like me, you loathe the slow crawl so here are some tips to keep you sane behind the wheel.

  • Getting in the right state of mind is key. If you're heading out of town for the weekend, especially a holiday weekend, come to terms with the fact that you're most probably going to hit traffic - there's just nothing you can do about it
  • Come prepared. Make sure you have snacks, water, gum, good music, DVD's for your kids, and a map. There's nothing worse than getting lost - it will only add more time in the car
  • Wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers. If you're traveling with other people, some might like it warm whereas some might like it cool, so dress for both temperatures
  • Bring back the good old car games from when you were a kid. They may sound stupid now, but they pass the time. "Would you rather" is one of my all time favorite games to play no matter where I am
  • If you're really antsy, offer to drive - you can't be bored when you're concentrating on the road ahead

I hope these tips help and drive safely!


Join The Conversation
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I'm with naturegirl! Also, when it's just my husband and I (as it usually is) we do crosswords in the car. The passenger fills it in and probably does most of the work, but we love it!
MamaD MamaD 9 years
When our kids were small and we'd go away for a holiday trip we'd always wind up in bumper to bumper traffic. As we'd inch along I would make up stories about the people in the other cars and then we'd have imaginary conversations for them. It was harmless fun and we'd sometimes learn a little bit about our boys when we'd hear what direction their "role" playing would go. It's years later and there are still a couple of scenarios they remember as we drove through road construction!!
Popeye Popeye 9 years
I love to drive long distances!! Another good tip is to find out what traffic is ahead of you!! is a good way of doing this!!
naturegirl01 naturegirl01 9 years
Hey, cravinsugar, I love audiobooks! Especially the mysteries. They can be addictive, though...sometimes I want to stay in the car just to get to the next chapter! When driving alone (which I do alot), especially when traveling down 87 from Pennsylvania, my favorite thing is to get out the CD's, crank up the music and sing along at the top of my lungs. What a rush! (My voice isn't half bad). I'll even do my abdominal exercises while sitting in the chair :). By the time I get to my destination, I'm pumped up, not exhausted.
Bukalala Bukalala 9 years
Hahaha. My friends like playing the "Who'd you rather.." game. Like, "Who would you rather be stuck in traffic with Tom Cruise or Donald Trump?" haha.
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
I only have a 20 minute ride to work on the off seasons. But i live on cape cod so during the summer everyone and their mother come here. It is ridiculous trying to go any where and it is so aggravating trying to get home from work becuse everyone is one the road and my 20 mins turns into 30-45 mins, even using back roads and trying to stay off the main roads. I find cranking the radio and singing along to it helps a little. I get weird looks but i don't care they can get out my way and go back home! :)
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
Love these tips! I'm saving these. :)
c0rkie c0rkie 9 years
Nitrobezene Nitrobezene 9 years
thanks for the tips
lintacious lintacious 9 years
millarci: i took 295 once and wanted to cry. not that 287/78 is much better... thankfully i get to avoid the gsp and tpike. i agree with cravinsugar, i was listening to Atlas Shrugged on my mp3 player for a while during my commute. and i would suggest anyone near nj to listen to the jersey guys radio show on their way home BUT they have a new guy now who has the most annoying voice ever. so i cant endorse them anymore.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
For those of you who commute or travel alone, I would like to add one thing to Dear's list: Audio Books! I know they sound real old lady, but you can actualyl buy the best sellers, classics, and even non-fictional books on CD. They are GREAT! The readers, sometimes there are 2 or 3 for one book, and even if there is only 1, they make changes in their voice for different characters, some of James Patterson's have sound effects, and you will become so enthralled int he book you will not want to get out of car haha. I suggest the unabridged versions (since it is the same as reading the actual book) and gonig to the library because it can get expensive. Right now I am listening to Little Women. I got it on sale, unabridged for $15.99 and it is so good.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
i probably shouldn't suggest making phone calls...
staceyleeroberts staceyleeroberts 9 years
Better yet, carpool so you have someone to talk, gossip, etc. with. You also reduce traffic and air pollution!!!
millarci millarci 9 years
I'm a commuter so I know EXACTLY how traffic feels. I'm stuck in it everyday, but it's not always like a parking lot. I commute on I295 and it had it's good and bad days. For me, a good radio morning show is key! I'm from the Delaware Valley (PA, NJ, DE) so I listen to Wired 96.5 (Chio in the Morning Show). It definetly helps listening to a morning show. You're so busy laughing that you don't realize you're stuck in traffic. If you're traveling via car and if you can afford it, get a GPS! I borrow my dad's from time to time and it's incredible. It even helps you find alternate routes. Also, a great map to have (if you can't afford a GPS) is one with local roads on it. Rand McNally has some great maps of popular desitinations with local and major roads. Also, don't forget to bring emergency items like first aid kit, extra motor oil and coolant, jump start cables, etc. Check your spare tire and make sure it's not flat or missing. Have your mechanic check your car and make sure it's ready for the long trip ahead. Nothing spoils a vacation like having your car break down.
arrhythmia arrhythmia 9 years
yay dear! i love helpful posts that remind us of these things. coolant is a great idea. make sure your tires are rotated :)
annebreal annebreal 9 years
Good tips! I should be used to traffic, but I still get so mad and frustrated every single time 465 turns into a parking lot (which is pretty much every day). Having my iPod really helps, and for some reason, I find that letting people in puts me in a better mood because it makes me feel charitable, lol. I think another good tip is to make sure your car has plenty of coolant, so when the car is just idling in the hot weather it doesn't overheat. I drive a POS college student mobile so I have to have a full jug in my trunk, just in case.
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