No one likes paying for gas. It’s one of those expenses that you don’t want to spend on but is completely necessary. Whether you commute, drive the kids to school, or live a bit out of town, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your gas mileage and save a bit of change in the process.
1. Don’t drive aggressively
Harsh starts and stops, quick turns, speeding, and tailgating can all guzzle gas. When you drive aggressively, you’re fueling your car to make movements more energetic than it needs to make. Think about all the times you brake while keeping close to the person in front of you on the freeway. With every braking, you’re counteracting the fuel powering your car – essentially wasting that last step on the gas pedal.
2. Ditch the drive-thru
Drive-thru lines have gotten slower over the years, and in 2018 the national average spent in a drive-thru was 234 seconds, according to a yearly QSR study. That’s nearly four minutes idling. Instead, park and go inside. Your legs could probably use the stretch and you can save yourself gas consumption.
3. Keep the windows up
You’ve probably heard this before. You’ll save gas by rolling the windows up and turning the AC on on a hot day. The drag on your car is far more harsh on your gas tank than your air conditioning. In Central Texas, you probably would prefer air conditioning anyway.
4. Ditch excess weight
Weight in your car can cause it to drag, using more fuel. If you’re on vacation, you might be tempted to leave quite a bit of stuff in your car to avoid repacking later. Not only can the extra weight cost you while you’re out exploring, but the sight of bags, suitcases, or valuable items can attract car vandals. If you don’t need it in the car, take it out.
5. Properly maintain your vehicle
This goes without saying: Take care of your car. Taking proper care of your tires, changing out your air filters regularly, and tuning your engine can save you fuel over time. Taking care of your vehicle means it’s running smoothly and using less gas to do so.
Let’s be honest. Central Texas’ worst drawback is the traffic. Whether you’re driving into San Antonio, Austin, or just trying to get through town in San Marcos, congestion is abound. That’s why it’s smart to have a plan to kick the stress for your mid-week traffic jam.
Not only will calming down help you cope with a frustrating traffic situation, but people who are stressed or angry tend to exhibit reckless driving habits. This is dangerous for you and the cars around you.
Here are a few ways you can de-stress behind the wheel and get some enjoyment out of an otherwise stressful commute.
1. Listen to a podcast or audiobook
Preferably, your listening material shouldn’t be high-energy or aggressive, as we can often channel into our behavior. Instead, listen to something that takes your mind (partly) off the traffic around you. Listening to engaging audio could help your mind stay alert while distancing yourself from the stress at hand.
2. Turn your phone off
Using a phone while driving is illegal in some places, but ultimately your phone is a major stress machine. If you’re driving and hear several alerts going off, you’ll likely feel an urgency to check it. Turning it off doesn’t give you the option to feel this way.
3. Do some yoga
Yes, you read that right. Practice some yoga as you drive. Some stretches are best done when the car is fully stopped, while some, like practicing your breathing, can be done while driving. Start by sitting up straight. Roll your neck and stretch your muscles gently, and slowly. Focus on your body and you’ll soon feel calmer.
4. Let it go
Sometimes we let ourselves get carried away. Who hasn’t let a bit of road rage fester while you’re driving? But the key to staying calm isn’t not to feel that way. It’s to choose to let those feelings subside. Anger is a natural reaction when someone cuts you off, but to reject that feeling will help you stay calm and focused. Remember that you have no control over the actions of other drivers. The best you can do is observe and react as safely as you can.
5. Take a break
If the traffic is making you feel anxious or too stressed, you can always pull over if you need to. Try stopping at a coffee shop or convenience store for a snack and a proper stretch. You might even hang around for a bit while traffic subsides.
San Antonio ranked No. 1 in population growth in the nation from 2016-2017 according to the US Census Bureau. That’s 66 people moving to San Antonio per day. And other cities in Texas have been close behind, adding more commuters and travelers to our roads.
Texas has been thriving, and as a result, growing steadily. A growing city can bring new opportunities, expanded culture and increased energy, but not without a few growing pains. One common concern for residents: How is the rising population affecting traffic?
San Antonio is already the seventh largest city in the nation, and with Texas’ statewide population expected to increase from its current 28 million to nearly 40 million by 2050, San Antonio can expect continued growth. More residents means more cars on the road, and in turn, more congested highways and traffic accidents.
In 2009, San Antonio commuters spent an average of 39 hours a year in traffic, but by 2014, drivers were sitting in traffic around 44 hours.
With increased numbers of drivers, accident rates are at risk of increasing, too. And unfortunately, San Antonio’s rate of traffic fatalities is already a good deal higher than experts would like. In 2014, US cities with the safest driving records had traffic fatality rates of around 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people. The same year, San Antonio’s rate was 10.57 fatalities per 100,000. (Although, San Antonio was close to the national average of 11.05).
Options for the future
As the population grows and more people get stuck in traffic, get into accidents, and pile into San Antonio body shops, it is worth considering ways to ease the pressure of congested roadways in a growing city.
ConnectSA, a non-profit, was formed in April 2018 and tasked with possible transportation solutions for San Antonio. Solutions include a trackless train system, better-integrated public transportation, and easier paying options for that transportation. Whatever the impact these solutions might have, San Antonio roads could be changing drastically in coming years.
On an individual level, you can help make the roads better by using public transportation or carpooling can help reduce some of the backup on crowded streets. Also, if you’re able to walk or bike to your destination, you can avoid traffic and free up some space on the road.
While San Antonio and surrounding areas like Victoria continue to grow, the city, state and citizens alike will develop new ways to ease the transportation strain on Alamo City.
If you wind up in a traffic accident on a busy road, contact the experienced and helpful staff at ProCare Collision. Whether you need auto painting or auto body repair in San Antonio and Victoria, our expert team will help you get back on the road quickly, and back out exploring our beautiful (and popular) city.
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