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Reclaiming your commute (42floors.com)
46 points by jaf12duke on Apr 15, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 37 comments

I totally agree with the other comments here about safety. Driving is one of the most dangerous things the average person will do every day, and deserves your full attention.

It's fine to make choices for yourself and to accept some risk in your life, but when you are behind the wheel you are making that choice to increase the risk for everyone around you too. You have a responsibility to drive carefully.

Please don't make the roads any more unsafe by doing activities or encouraging others to do activities while driving that may distract them from the task of driving safely.

Find other ways to reclaim your commute such as moving closer to work, working from home on some days or using public transport. Or perhaps stop thinking of your commute as lost time, but time that is spent to enable you to live somewhere pleasant/quiet/cheap while working somewhere that meets the needs of your business/work.

As a society, at least in the US, we seem to have decided that audio-only activities are acceptable while driving. I suppose this is because driving mostly engages visual and motor skills, leaving our audio and language processing free to talk or listen.

Listening to audio books or presentations I believe is good. Dictation is probably a fine activity. As soon as your hands start getting involved or you start to look away from the road I believe that safety starts to suffer.

Does anyone have any quantitative data on how common driving activities affect safety?

Unless he's recording random streams of thoight then there is going to be a lot of conscious decision making and problem solving involved in authoring a post. Those tasks seem overlap with what he should be doing while driving.

I'd imagine that he probably IS recording random streams of thought, and then editing them when he gets the dictation back. Even when I'm talking to friends in the car, I can barely keep a thread of conversation very sensible.

I totally agree as well. What ever happened to being present and paying attention to the task at hand?

I don't believe in making the most of my commute time. I believe in doing whatever is necessary to make the commute time as low as possible.

So I'm guessing you don't have conversations with passengers then and stay completely silent in the car.

This seems like a terrible idea from a safety point of view.

If commute time bothers you, move closer to work, or work closer to home. Use the extra time to blog.

Personally, I'd never work somewhere I couldn't bike to. Its significantly more fun than driving, and I never sit in traffic.

What is the farthest distance you think is a reasonable commute on a bicycle?

Currently doing 20 miles each way a day, usually just over an hour. I think this would be unreasonable for many people; but I'm happy to detour and make it even longer, it's a lovely rural route. I guess for most people though, however far they can comfortably ride in 30 mins is a reasonable commute, and this varies greatly with fitness.

Due to the geography of where I am, there's no direct train or bus, and they take me longer than the bike. I do take the train in winter, to avoid commuting in the dark (again this is rural, so by dark I mean DARK)

It's a personal preference, really.

Right now I ride 3.5 miles to work, and, when it's not snowing, usually 15-30 miles after work.

I wouldn't mind 15 miles each way, but I'm not sure I'd do it in snow.

what about the sweat?

I did this when there was a shower at the office and it works out fine.

Of bigger concern is being run over by multi-taskers.

Don't race to work, just ride. Sweat isn't a problem when riding at a calm pace unless you're either in really bad shape, or you have some medical condition which causes abnormal sweating.

That's a silly thing to say. Here in St. Louis, for example, we have very hot, humid summers. It's not hard to break a sweat casually walking.

Fair enough, I hadn't considered extreme heat. So I'll change my assertion to: if you can walk without sweating, you can bike without sweating.

Just to expand on my first comment: I live in the Netherlands. People here bike everywhere. They wouldn't do that if they got sweaty and had to take a shower every time they arrived somewhere.

Don't go so fast? Get a gym membership and shower there? Get a coffee and relax for a few minutes before you go into the office?

I bike to work. Sometimes I can get sort of sweaty, but I bring my work clothes in a bag and change once I get there.

In much of the country, it's not a big problem. I live in NJ and bike to work every day. It's rarely over 80 if I leave at 8am.

Please don't do this. There are already few enough people paying attention while driving. Just because you are in stop-and-go traffic doesn't mean you can stop paying attention.

Some studies say distracted driving is age dependent and I think I heard somewhere else some are just better at multitasking safely, though I don't remember the signs or how to test for this -awesome- traight.


That certainly may be true. I'm merely of the opinion that driving warrants all my attention - no matter the traffic conditions. Full disclosure: I do listen to music/podcasts on long trips, so you may consider that I'm breaking my own rule.

Off topic completely now. Sorry all.. My post was in defense of distracted driving to give a balanced perspective with some scientific data..

However, I'm as annoyed with distracted driving as ou. I play a small game when driving.. Spot the person on the phone, watch the person next to you at the light and can tell with the head nod to lap that they are texting, especially If under 30. Sorry for the stereotype.

We need some legal paintball guns so we can use on the freeway to tag offenders so those of us that are driving can know where the risks are... And it would be a chance to practice my aim. If more than a few hundred tags, we can then switch to harpoons and the cars will start to look like porcupines.

Surely this depends on your commute. If you're trying to get from Marin to Soma (in SF) which is mostly stop-go and local streets, that's a very different commute than Soma to Mountain View on the 280.

I certainly wouldn't want to dictate posts during local traffic driving, but if I'm driving on the 280 it's 45 minutes of uneventful constant-speed highway driving.

If the commute bothers you then move, pay a driver, ride share or catch public transport (as much a people complain the Caltrain is usable). It's selfish to place other at the mercy of your distracted driving because you refuse to live with the consequence of your choices.

Glad it works for you. However, I would never be able to blog this way. When I blog, it's a continuous iteration of what I have written. I write something, it doesn't make sense, then I go back and make it better. Personally, I would find it impossible to create quality content by just starting to speak out loud.

I agree, but I think this could be a good way to get raw material.

My daily half-hour bus commute gives me a great opportunity for focused reading time. By making it a habit, I have read through a year's worth of the St. John's College classics curriculum (http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/academic/ANreadlist.shtml).

Take the bus if it's accessible to you, load up on some books, and you will love your commute.

The reference to http://www.taskrabbit.com/ was exactly what I have wanted. Thanks for the link.

Articles like this are a major reason why I decided to move to New York. Commuting? Sure, but it's also free exercise!

I've found that people who multi-task while driving leave lots of room in front of their car so they can pay less attention and are themselves causing more congestion for others. Of which they are usually unaware because they have tunnel vision at the point.

Actually leaving lots of room in front of your car (1-2 car lengths in stop-and-go traffic) is very safe and makes traffic flow smoother. It "evens out" the stop and go part of stop and go traffic.

If you have a manual transmission, It's almost mandatory - take a look at large trucks in stop-and-go traffic, they attempt to "idle through" because stopping and restarting a heavy vehicle is fuel-inefficient.

And that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about those who leave 25 car lengths ahead of them when traffic is moving so they can text or blog or do whatever is taking their attention off their driving.

How much space they think they need depends on how frequently they decide to look at the road.

Wow - that is quite a bit. I've never seen that personally.

Know your own limit - I always need 100% concentration while driving, but I found that some people can get away with multitasking.

Great, now in addition to people who eat fast food, apply make up, play sing-along, tend to their children, talk on the phone, text message, and nod off in the car, we have to deal with people BLOGGING in their cars?

It's gotten to the point where I refuse to drive anything but a performance car because the kind of shit you have to deal with as a person who actually FOLLOWS the rules requires the ability to accelerate, brake, and handle better than all the idiots on the road who are totally distracted, don't signal or stay in the lanes, and drive 40mph on the fucking highway.

The only way to reclaim your commute is to not commute.

Listen to audiobooks. Better than listening to the rubbish on the radio, and no more dangerous. Really good way to do something you enjoy while driving. Find a good book. Either fiction or self development or what ever and I find myself looking forward to car time because I can relax. My audiobook player is the best player for iPhone that I've found. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-audiobook-player/id4593930... Let's you play downloaded books.

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