Driving to work is often a reality for city-based workers, but the amount of time spent on the road varies significantly. So, how far is too far when commuting?
In general, drives lasting from 30-60 minutes are acceptable to most. Anything longer may start impacting your health, finances and productivity at work. If your drive exceeds this limit, consider relocating or changing jobs. Alternatively, you can utilize different means of transportation or optimize your current commute.
This guide explores everything related to distance and driving to work. Understand the pros and cons of traveling different distances, so you can make an informed decision regarding your commute.
Let’s get started.
What’s An Acceptable Commute To Work?
Before understanding how far is too far to drive to work, you must have a benchmark to compare your commute. That’s why it matters to understand what an acceptable commute to work looks like.
Ideally, your commute should be as short as possible. In a perfect world, you’d be within walking distance from your job and not need to drive at all. However, some people are fortunate enough to be in that position.
However, most workers have no choice but to travel a significant distance to get to work each day.
Most people consider a drive of 30 to 60 minutes as acceptable. Although this is an agreeable amount of time driving to work, everything is subject to personal preferences.
Still, most people consider a drive to work that takes longer than 60 minutes to be excessive. Not only does that go against most people’s preferences, but an excessively long commute also causes several negative effects, which you’ll learn more about later in this guide.
Some people are okay spending a long time driving to and from each day. However, others must make significant sacrifices to cope with a commute that takes so much time out of their day.
An acceptable drive to work depends on the time it takes to complete rather than the geographical distance. That’s because a short distance can take a long time to drive due to obstacles like traffic jams, especially in a large and densely populated city.
What Happens If Your Drive To Work Takes Too Long?
As mentioned earlier, driving too far to and from work daily isn’t good for anyone. That’s because commutes that take too long can negatively affect your emotions, physical health, and more.
Here are some of the things that’ll happen when your drive to work takes too much time:
First and foremost, driving too far to work can affect your punctuality. An excessively long commute can undermine your ability to show up to work on time, even if you’ve planned everything perfectly.
Think about it: the longer the drive to work, the more disruptions you could face. For example, suppose you realize that you forgot your work laptop halfway through the drive.
In that case, going back and recovering the forgotten item will add a significant amount of time to your overall drive.
That wouldn’t be too much of a concern if your drive were significantly shorter.
Besides that, the same problem can occur if you experience car troubles like running out of gas or getting a flat tire.
The bottom line is clear: the longer your drive to work, the more a disruption can affect your ability to show up on time.
2. Travel Costs
Driving too far to work each day can also hurt your wallet. That’s because the longer distance you travel each trip adds to your overall travel costs.
For instance, you’ll have to pay much more for fuel in the long run. You might not feel it at first, but you’ll find yourself filling your tank more often than before in a longer time frame.
Your commute also involves direct costs like toll fees and indirect costs like vehicle repairs and maintenance. After all, the more miles you put on your car daily, the quicker you wear out its parts.
3. Health Issues
Of course, long drives to work each day can also harm your health. That’s because longer commutes cause more stress, especially when frequently getting stuck in traffic jams.
On top of that, dealing with other road users who are unfriendly or downright hostile will also add to your overall stress.
Besides that, long drives to work also affect your energy levels. You’ll have to wake up and leave home early to reach work on time. Worse yet, you’ll likely arrive home much later than most people after a long day at work.
These things will keep you tired and increase your stress levels, leading to health issues like frequent sickness.
4. Reduced Productivity
So far, you’ve read how driving too far to work can affect your punctuality, finances, and psychological and physical health. However, it’s also important to note that the commute will affect how you perform at the job you’re driving to, i.e. your productivity.
Ironically, making the sacrifices necessary to drive far to work can make you worse at your job. For example, you might find yourself tired, irritable, and lacking focus because of the negative effects of your long drive to and from work.
What Can You Do If Your Drive To Work Is Too Far?
Suppose you find that you’re driving too far to get to work each day. On top of that, you might have noticed yourself experiencing one or more of the negative effects described above.
While it might be stressful, you’ll be glad to know that you have several options. Naturally, some might be more practical for you than others, but here are the things you can consider doing:
- Move closer: Firstly, you could relocate somewhere closer to your office. That way, you might walk to work or drive a much shorter distance. Clearly, this is a challenging option for most people. But if you love your job and manage to find a place nearby, relocating will benefit you greatly in the long run.
- Switch to a new job: If you can’t change where you live, you could always change where you work. Then, like the idea above, you can consider your options and find another organization closer to your home. Remember: the shorter daily commute will make your life easier and enable you to perform better at your new job!
- Choose alternative transport: If you love both your job and where you live, you can make the daily commute easier for yourself by seeking alternative forms of transportation. For example, you might be less stressed taking public transportation or carpooling with a coworker.
- Maximize the commute: No matter what you decide, you’ll likely have to continue driving the same long distance to work, even temporarily. In that case, you’re best off finding a way to maximize your commute by listening to audiobooks or catching up on the news. At the very least, you’ll learn something during that long drive to your office.
Following the steps above, you can successfully minimize the drive you take to your work daily. But, you could also make the best of your current situation until making permanent changes becomes possible.
Is A Long Commute Worth It For A Better Job?
Imagine landing your dream job that’s perfect in every way. You fit perfectly with the company and its culture; the pay is also significantly higher than anywhere else.
In that case, is driving a long distance, perhaps more than 60 minutes each way, worth the effects mentioned above?
Firstly, there is no one-size fits all solution. Instead, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons to decide if that long commute to your dream job is worth it.
For example, people living alone with minimal commitments might be fine making that trip every day. But that situation might be too challenging for the commuter who needs to send their kids to school before work and pick them up later.
So while the dream job offers plenty of incentives to drive that long distance to and from the office, you must consider what you’ll sacrifice to enjoy those benefits.
If losing a bit of sleep and spending more time in traffic doesn’t bother you, that means it’s totally worth it for you.
The daily drive to work is a reality for a significant portion of society. However, the distance that everyone drives isn’t the same. Shorter drives between 30-60 minutes are acceptable to most people, and you can consider those that take longer to be ‘too far’ a drive to work.
Driving too far to work has plenty of negative effects on your punctuality and your health, finances, and productivity at work. That’s why it’s worth considering relocating to a new place or finding a new job to minimize your daily commute.