THIS is such a waste of time. Do you agree?

It's a topic I broached in an earlier post this week regarding kids returning to school: TRAFFIC.

The time spent stuck in traffic is time you'll never get back -- ever. Whether you drive through a school zone on the way to work or are delayed by an accident or two, traffic congestion can be anathema to even the most patient drivers.

Once our commute approaches or exceeds an hour, it really starts to grate on us, especially if it's something we grapple with several times a week. It makes us more irritable and tired, often leaving us feeling awfully achy.

For example, many people who spend inordinate amounts of time behind the wheel complain of chronic back pain, headaches, and other health issues.

Worst of all is the fact that long commutes cut into the time we can be spending doing other things -- hanging out with friends or family, putting in a workout at the gym, sleeping, watching TV, etc.

As I noted in my post on back-to-school traffic, I read while waiting for the cars in front of me to move. Of course, I make sure to set the book down and keep my eyes on the road once I see traffic flowing again.

I manage to read 10 or so pages on the way to work and back on a good day, giving me the satisfaction of knowing the drive wasn't a complete waste of time.

For those who would rather keep their eyes fixed on the road at all times -- traffic notwithstanding -- I recommend investing in audio books. Music also works wonders in helping me get through the tedium of a long drive.

Those who sing the praises of living close to work are spot on. Not only do you save time and gas, but you're likely to be in a much better mood once you get to your destination.

Unfortunately, this isn't an option for many of us, so we have to cope with the traffic as best as we can.

While driving safely is paramount, no one says it always has to be an atrocious experience.

How bad is the traffic where you live? How do you deal with it?

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