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Surviving a Killer Commute

A recent German study revealed that people stuck in traffic are more likely to have a heart attack. DW-WORLD readers share their road relaxation secrets while others comment on speed limits on German autobahns.

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They'll be stuck for a while

If I am alone, I sing along to music on the radio or on CD. My favorite? Aretha Franklin! I pretend to be a diva. If I don't want to sing, then I listen to classical, like Beethoven. If I have others in the car, we talk and keep good company. If I am the passenger, I knit. -- Anna Hallquist

I have audio tapes to listen to, or I listen to talk shows on the radio. Sometimes, I have a book with me; I read half of The Da Vinci Code in my car, waiting at long stop lights and in traffic jams. Sometimes, the guy behind me honks to get me to move because I get so wrapped up in the novel I'm reading, but that usually doesn't happen very often. I used to get really worked up during traffic jams, but noticed my increased blood pressure and anxiety levels. Now I know that no traffic jam is worth having a heart attack over it. -- Vernon

I listen to recorded books, most recently the Harry Potter series. Being read to is very soothing and I don't mind the commute taking longer because I get to hear more of the story. I commute 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) each way which takes between 70 and 90 minutes. -- David

I listen to books on CDs. Almost all of the best selling books are now available on audio. I download most of them off the Internet. I also listen to college courses. Since I commute at least six to seven hours per week, I get through a lot of courses and books. -- Daryl Nitkowski

Your article on killer commutes was enlightening. Unfortunately I smoke and drink coffee while in traffic. -- Paul Harris

Remember to breathe. Listen to CDs of teachers of compassion, like Pema Chodron. Look at the people also stuck in traffic alongside me and try to identify/have compassion for them; they all have lives too, complete with joy and pain. Recite a mantra, any compassionate mantra... make one up just for the freeway. Try to remember I'm exactly where I am; frustration changes nothing in a situation over which I have no control. Besides, there will be plenty to get angry about when I finally arrive home. -- Mona Mansfield Erhardt

I am often stuck in traffic in Boston. I have taken to bringing a novel or magazine or puzzles. Either way, when all I am doing is sitting, parked, I am less frustrated. Instead I can sit back and relax. -- Margaret Langdell

Most of the time in traffic jams is spent reading road signs, printed matter like mailings which I normally throw away. I listen to CDs with classic music and smile at other drivers who are getting frustrated. I am to old to get upset for every set back. I do make sure that my air conditioning is always in good working order, so I don't get irritated. Of course I live in Texas where there is always a tomorrow for those that take live as it comes. -- Frans de Jong

I work at the University of Manitoba, a 10 kilometer (6 mile) commute. I like to bicycle to work, it is much more relaxing than driving. -- Odd Bres, Winnipeg, Canada

I sing along to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael as loud as I can until my voice starts to die out. Then when I arrive at my destination I have this really cool raspy voice that the chicks dig. However, I sometimes get painful cramps doing this, and twice I've come extremely close to throwing up in the grocery bags on the front passenger seat. -- Patrick T.

I listen to music. I make sure that I keep a variety of CDs ready to go. A mellow one, a fast-paced one, a few positive upbeat songs that I really like. Also, it's important to change music often to keep me interested. So when traffic is a nightmare, I sing along to my favorite songs. -- KL Holloway

S peed limits on the autobahn

Symbolbild Geschwindigkeit, Autobahn

I believe that imposing speed limits on the autobahn is an unnecessary restriction. Concerning safety, the autobahn has a lower death rate per million miles driven than countries with speed limits (for example, the US). As for an environmental position, the higher cost of fuel will most likely slow many drivers to conserve fuel. The higher cost would cause people to drive less often and at a slower rate (self-regulating). The government should be more involved regulating auto emissions. As a Californian, our state has been so involved in auto emissions that our regulations have affected the world's auto manufactures. And finally, the mystique of German automobile engineering would be lost should a speed limit be imposed. No more designing autos for limitless speeds for the road. -- Steve Waldman

If the conditions permit (good road, low traffic density, generally safe) then the driver should set the speed limit. I live in Australia where open road speed limit is 100 kph (62 mph) and motorway speed limit is 110 kph and our people die of boredom on the roads. As petrol prices rise most people will slow down to keep the cost down. -- Goran Turner

As a German-American who spent his childhood in Germany, and has driven many kilometers on the autobahn as an adult, I have seen the Germans give up more of their freedoms than would ever be acceptable in the US. As justification, one always hears the same cry: necessity. "Give up your freedoms and we will make you safer," has always been the mantra of the politician. If all the political rhetoric over the years had been true, then we should all be living in a completely safe world by now. -- Norman Means, M.D.

A safe speed would be 130 kph. With two small children in my car at all times, I am very nervous on the autobahn with German cars whizzing by at over 100 mph. This would benefit everyone: the citizens of Germany and the environment they pretend to care so much about. -- Cheryl Boyd





















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