We live in a culture where there are lots of cars on the road, where getting stuck in traffic is part of the norm, and where people regularly spend so much time driving that they often resort to eating in their car.
WHY SHOULD YOU DRIVE LESS?
On the one hand, it is great that we have the technology to travel so much and to see so many different places.
But at the same time, all this driving must be taking a toll on our society in some way. Are there advantages to adopting a lifestyle with less driving? In fact, there are many. Here are 15 benefits of driving less:
15 BENEFITS OF DRIVING LESS
1. YOU’LL SAVE MONEY ON GAS
Everyone loves a good money-saving technique, so you’ll be happy to know that driving less is one way you can start saving money.
Just think of the money you will save on gas if you don’t drive as often. It is not uncommon for the average driver to fill up their gas tank multiple times per week, and that cash adds up quickly no matter how great your gas mileage may be.
If your car is a gas guzzler, imagine how much money you could save per month just by dialing back on the amount of driving you do. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year that could then be used toward something else.
2. YOUR CAR WILL LAST LONGER
The more you drive, the more wear and tear you put on your vehicle. This means you will accumulate mileage more quickly, your car will require more frequent maintenance, and ultimately, you will need to replace your vehicles more often, which can be a major expense.
If you’re able to cut back on your driving, you will lengthen the lifetime of your car and also spend less on maintenance along the way.
3. YOU’LL LOWER YOUR RISK OF ACCIDENTS
If you’re constantly on the road, your risk of being in an accident increases. No one likes accidents, not to mention they can be dangerous or even fatal.
It is definitely worth reducing your driving, even if only by a small factor, to decrease your risk of being involved in a crash.
4. YOUR INSURANCE PREMIUM WILL DECREASE
Most insurance companies factor in how much you drive as they determine your monthly premium. It only makes sense that if you are driving less, and thus decreasing your risk of being in an accident, that your cost for insurance will go down.
One of the major ways this is assessed depends on your daily commute – the distance between where you work and where you live.
If you are able to reduce your commute by a few miles or more, be sure to tell your insurance company, and then ask them to decrease your premium accordingly.
5. YOU’RE HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT
A major factor contributing to the deterioration of the environment is air quality, which is impacted significantly by pollution from so many cars being on the road.
Driving less, including carpooling, can be a huge help. Not only does reducing your driving have benefits for you personally, but it also benefits the greater community.
6. YOU’LL HELP REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION
No one likes getting stuck in traffic, but unfortunately, it has become a regular and expected part of most people’s daily routine.
If more people got on board and decided to drive less, carpool more, and utilize public transportation systems, there would be much less traffic congestion to contend with.
We could all get to work on time, and with much less aggravation.
7. YOU’LL STRENGTHEN YOUR FRIENDSHIPS
If you are friends with some of your coworkers and it would make geographic sense to carpool, why not give it a try?
Not only will you reap all the benefits of driving less, but you might even advance your friendship with your coworker by sharing your morning commute. Some of the best conversations take place behind the wheel, after all.
8. YOU’LL HAVE MORE FREE TIME
Think about all the time you spend making trips and stops that might be unnecessary. For example, you might visit three or more stores in search of a particular item before you find it.
In some of these situations, you could just call the store ahead of time to see if they have what you need or check their stock online if they have a website.
Not only will you waste less gas and mileage, but you might even free up part of your day that you can spend doing something more meaningful.
9. YOU’LL BE LESS STRESSED
Driving is a major cause of stress in our busy, everyday lives, but we often don’t realize it because it is so established as part of our routine.
Try cutting back on your driving, even in small doses, and see if you notice a change in your stress level.
10. YOU’LL SAVE THE ROADS
Once again, the effects of driving less extend beyond yourself to the greater community.
Road damage is due in large part to excessive use, which then results in construction, which results in the stressful traffic backups we all hate.
Less driving can lead to less road damage such as potholes and other obstructions, meaning the roads will be better and safer, and will not need to be fixed as often.
11. YOU CAN FORGET THE PARKING HASSLE
Especially if you’re going downtown or to a populated area, consider carpooling, taking Uber, or using public transportation so that you won’t have to deal with parking.
Parking in cities is obviously a big hassle (which creates stress!), but even if you’re just going to a popular event, or to a restaurant where there is only street parking, save yourself the struggle and get a ride.
Once you get to your destination and see all those other drivers waiting for a coveted parking space to open up, you’ll know you made the right choice.
12. YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR DAILY EXERCISE
Rather than driving everywhere, think about which places you frequent that are within walking or biking distance.
Not only can you eliminate some unnecessary driving by walking or riding your bike, but you’ll also be getting the exercise that will keep you healthy and increase your physical fitness.
Why drive to the gym just to ride a recumbent bike, when you could just ride your bike to the local coffee or the local library?
13. YOU’LL BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Make a list of all the errands you need to run this week, and then create a plan to get more of them done in one sweep, rather than leaving your house for each individual trip.
If you can cover the doctor’s office, Target, school pickup, and the grocery store all in one afternoon, you will get more done at once and save yourself some serious time later.
Say goodbye to realizing halfway through cooking dinner that you forgot to pick up the poster board your kid needs for school tomorrow and having to make a special trip out to get it.
When you commit to driving less and plan ahead, it can positively impact the other areas of your life as well.
14. YOU CAN HAVE A DRINK, WORRY-FREE
Most of us have had the experience of being at dinner or the bar and wanting just one more drink, but resisting the temptation because of having to drive home.
But if you leave your car at home and get an Uber instead, or carpool with a group, you can enjoy a few more beverages since you won’t be getting behind the wheel.
15. YOU’LL SPEND MORE TIME ENJOYING YOUR HOME
We often complain that we spend so much time working to afford our homes, and have so little time left over to enjoy being in them.
If you really thought about it, you could probably come up with a few small trips you made this week that weren’t absolutely necessary, when you could have been relaxing at home instead.
Sometimes our response to boredom is simply to get in the car and think of somewhere to go or something that needs to be done.
If an errand isn’t totally necessary right now, consider saving it for later or pairing it with another errand rather than making two individual trips.
You might just find that by driving less, you get to spend more time enjoying your home.
Why Driving Less is Good for The Environment
Driving causes a chain reaction of harmful long-term effects on the environment. To understand why driving less is good for the environment, we should first look at why it’s so bad.
The exhaust from a car emits harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. These emissions pose a significant threat to our environment and human health.
Nitrogen oxide is responsible for stripping the ozone layer. Preserving the ozone layer is critical because it protects the earth from potentially harmful UV rays.
Exhausts also emit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. When these gases mix with rainwater, it creates acid rain, which is detrimental to trees, vegetation, roads, and buildings.
The burning of fossil fuels, such as gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions, are significant contributors to global warming. Global warming leads to the melting of ice caps, rising sea levels, and receding coastlines. As you can see, the effects of driving are many and widespread.
Driving less helps drive down the demand and the cost of gas. The fuel industry can pose directly harmful effects on the environment depending on the methods used for extracting and refining the fuel. By purchasing less gas, you are essentially weakening the power that the oil and gas companies hold over the economy.
Many car companies are making efforts to create vehicles that are more energy–efficient and environmentally friendly so, If you must drive, choose a car that requires less or no fuel at all to run.
It goes without saying that you reduce the amount of pollution and harmful gases you contribute to the environment by choosing to drive less. Cars are a major contributor to the irreversible damage caused to our planet and, if each of us takes steps to reduce our carbon footprint, we could at least slow down the damage being done.
Bike More and Drive Less
Most urban cities have built bike paths throughout to incentivize the safe use of bikes as a means of transportation. While there are many steps you can take to drive less, biking is one of the few options that is 100% eco-friendly.
Sure, you can take a bus, subway or, even carpool with co-workers but, while these methods do reduce your carbon footprint, they’re still not eco-friendly options.
Choosing to commute by bike has so many benefits, not just for the environment but also for you too! Think of the time you spend stuck in traffic at rush hour. What if you could avoid that by cruising down the stress-free bike lane instead?
Not to mention all the physical benefits you reap that you’d miss out on if you were sitting in a car. By riding a bike you improve your cardiovascular health, your stamina, and tone muscle, all while spending time outdoors getting some fresh air.
Getting around on a bike is an incredible way to maintain your health and overall well-being.
Biking gives you a sense of freedom that operating a car can’t give you. It allows you to move at a slower pace so you can observe and take in your surroundings. It creates a sense of closeness to the earth and the environment, and if something piques your interest on your ride, it’s easy to pull over and hop off to check it out.
Society has progressed to a point that takes driving as a given, as well as all the side effects that come with it, such as poor air quality, bad roads, and a small fortune spent on gas. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Take some steps today to consider ways you can decrease the amount of driving you do, even if only by a little bit. You might be amazed at the difference it makes.