I have a long daily commute and my patience for traffic is wearing thin. I spend somewhere between 2.5-3 hours in my car a day; and that includes beating rush hour in the morning and waiting it out at night. I have been forced to organize my entire life around traffic. If I were to attempt the DC beltway during peak hours I'd be spending no less than 4 hours a day in my car. That is quite unbearable.
I remember some happiness studies I read awhile ago that suggested the length of your commute is directly correlated to your level of happiness. I still consider my self "happy," but I can understand why long commutes bring people down. I'm in the process of finding productive things I do while driving to take the misery out of it all. Note: painting my fingernails, reading journal articles, and napping have all been ruled out.
I enjoyed this blurb for The Atlantic Wire:
What About Commuting? At The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer confirms that a long commute is directly correlated to unhappiness before exploring a more interesting question: Why? "One reason is that it's a painful ritual we never get used to - the flow of traffic is inherently unpredictable," he posits. "As a result, we don't habituate to the suffering of rush hour." Lehrer contends the daily unknown of commuting explains its incongruity with human happiness, quoting Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert: "Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day."One never knows what tomorrow holds.