With temperatures expected to be at near-record lows in Toronto, and other Canadian cities, this year, you definable don’t want to spend more time in traffic than you need to.
Here’s a couple of ideas to keep in mind for how to beat traffic in Toronto and Vancouver on New Year’s Eve:
- Count on more traffic, not just vehicles, but people (possibly intoxicated) around your destination.
- Know where you’re planning to go. If it’s an unfamiliar place, maybe even go as far as checking the route out ahead of time. If that’s too much time, look over the route on Google Maps, with Google Street View covering most major cities, it’s even possible to “drive” your route ahead of time, looking for landmarks to remember.
- If you’re planning to have a few drinks, consider your options of taking transit, taxi or using a ride-share like Uber or Lyft (currently available in Toronto)
- Check current traffic news for cancellations or road conditions that can impact your trip.
- Install an app like Waze on your smartphone, much like Google Maps that probably came with your phone, this provides near-real-time information on road conditions, including accidents and hazards.
- If you’re taking ride-hailing services, according to an email sent to customers by Uber, the highest-volume hours of the evening are likely to be from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., and midnight to 3 a.m., so consider travelling outside those times. In addition, sometimes you can avoid surge zones by traveling a bit outside the main downtown areas. Also, try apps like Surge or other similar apps for both Android and iPhone that can track where Uber surges are in happening in order to avoid them.
Some statistics about commuting in Canada:
- According to the National Household Survey, the average Canadian commuter spends about 25.4 minutes traveling to work each way.
- According to the Oxford’s Future of Work Survey, Toronto and Vancouver have it even worse: Vancouver commuters are spending 33 minutes traveling, and Toronto is even worse at 42 minutes. This is another reason it pays to stay on top of Toronto traffic reports.
As well, there are numerous ways commuting can affect your health. According to ThinkInsure.ca, these include:
- Neck and back issues: Sitting for extended periods of time places additional stress on your neck, back and spine.
- People with long commutes tend to be more stressed and are more likely to worry. Why? You spend more time isolated and have less time for social interactions.
- Relationship stresses: Long commutes increase your chance of divorce by 40%.
- Increased weight: Commutes make you 50% more likely to be obese and 33% less likely to get enough weekly exercise.
- Poor sleep: Commuting takes up more time during the day, and one area people sacrifice is the amount of sleep they get daily.
- Poor diet: Since you spend so much time on the road, people are more likely to opt for fast food and less healthy snacks rather than prepared meals.
- Higher blood pressure: And a higher BMI and cholesterol due to spending so much time sitting.
How to make the most of your commute:
- Audio books are a wonderful way to learn something new while driving. These days there are many straightforward ways to bring great audio with you using your smartphone.
- Mentally prepare for the day. Run through the list of tasks that you need to get done so you’ll be ready to go when you get to the office.
- Many people try to take advantage of their commute by either texting or talking on their phone.
- In fact, in many parts of Canada, it’s now illegal to use mobile devices when driving, unless you use a headset or mounted device.
If You Are Taking Public Transportation
- Catching up with friends and family.
- Getting in touch with your clients and following up with them
- Meaning to book a doctor’s appointment? Call a contractor to get an estimate? Use your commute times to make these calls.
- Taking a nap – if you have a long bus or train ride, why not grab a few winks and rest.
- Catching up on some reading.
Find ways to reduce your commute
Some ways you might not have thought of include:
- Consider alternative routes. Even if you’re taking the same route, many factors like weather, time of day, construction, big events like concerts and sports events can all have an impact on your travel time.
- Consider becoming a part-time Uber or lyft driver. Some people only work after their regular job and if you can pick up a rider or two on your way home, you can earn a few extra bucks.
- Research traffic apps. Some apps like Google Maps already show how congested traffic is in areas, another popular app is Waze that lets “drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info”
- Change your work hours. Rather than leaving at the same time as everyone else, if your company permits it, considering shifting your work hours to avoid the morning and afternoon traffic.
- Work from home. Some companies allow people to work from home occasionally. Take advantage of this. Even one less day per week on the road can do wonders.
- Get a new commute. Some will call this one radical, but at what point does the fantastic job become unbearable due to the commute? If you are commuting over an hour each way, you may need to rethink your situation. Maybe it is time to move closer to work. Maybe it is time to find another job. These extreme moves may not always be possible, but until you really consider them you will not know your options.
Hopefully, these will give you some ideas of how to shave time off your New Year’s travels. Happy New Year!