In March, 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau named Louisiana as one of the states with the worst work commutes.  While commuting refers to a worker’s travel from home to work, this newest report looks at America’s “mega-commuters.”  Mega-commuters are defined as people who travel more than 90 minutes and 50 miles to work.  Using that definition, Louisiana has more mega-commuters than New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  Almost 6% of people who work in Houma make a 90-minute, 50-mile drive to work, along with nearly 4% in New Orleans and over 3% in Lafayette.  In comparison, less than 1% of all commuters nationwide qualify as mega-commuters.

One of the major reasons for mega-commutes in Louisiana, postulates Kevin Stolarick, research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute of Toronto, Canada, is that we have jobs that require a particular specialty, such as jobs in the oil-drilling business.  “For people who have more of the highly specialized work – if you’re doing welding on an oil platform or you have those kinds of skills there aren’t a lot of places where you can do that work, and you move around.  Up and down the Gulf Coast, workers might travel very far to work on an oil rig, but not work on the same one every time, which means that the family stays at home while the worker travels to his or her job, wherever it may be.”

New Orleans Highways Among Most Dangerous Roads in the U.S.

New Orleans workers who live and work in the city total 147,492, but that daytime work population increases by 59,804 due to commuting.   Interstate 10 has been named the fourth most dangerous road in the U.S.

The result of all this commuting is an increase in road time for drivers and more drivers on the road, which results in more car accident injuries.  Louisiana already has the highest insurance premiums in the nation, and one reason for that is Louisiana drivers file more bodily injury claims than drivers in other states.

Long Commutes Lead to Distracted Driving

Long commutes mean sometimes sitting in traffic where drivers are tempted to be distracted by cell phones, texting, listening to music or instructional DVDs, putting on make-up or eating breakfast.  But, when everyone else on the road is distracted and as impatient as you are to reach your destination, tempers get testy.  And when traffic begins to move after a long stop, or as four lanes are cut back to one, car accident injuries due to distraction, road rage or simple congestion are more likely to occur.  Various studies have even linked long commutes with divorce, high blood pressure and general unhappiness!

Tips to Avoid Car Accident Injuries on Your Work Commute

So here are some tips to avoid car accidents during those mega-commutes:

  1. Car pool or van pool.  Not only does this save gas and allow you to read the paper, visit with friends or tinker with your newest electronic device or app, it’s usually quicker because the driver can use those great HOV lanes!
  2. Join millions of Americans who are improving their health and the health of the environment and ride your bike to work.
  3. Make use of public transportation, when possible.  New Orleans abounds with buses, ferries and streetcars.

If you must commute:

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Plan around traffic.  Use WWLTV’s mobile traffic app or Google’s traffic mapping to see what routes are closed or crowded.
  • Adjust your mirrors for better vision. Car and Driver suggests a new alignment technique that cuts down on blindspots.
  • Do your part not to contribute to road rage, yours or theirs.  Don’t make rude hand gestures or honk obnoxiously.
  • Don’t change lanes in slow traffic; it hardly ever makes a difference.  When you do make a lane change, be sure to use your traffic signal.
  • Make eye contact with other drivers when you can.  Look ahead down the road.
  • Avoid a personal sense of entitlement to your lane merge; everyone has to get by.
  • Obey the speed limit and traffic signals.
  • Regularly maintain your vehicle.  Make sure your windshield wipers work properly, allowing you to see well in the rain.  Check your tires so you don’t have a blow-out or flat in commuter traffic.  See that you have appropriate levels of water, oil and gas to avoid a breakdown on the road. 
  • Don’t drink and drive.

And no matter how you manage your mega-commute or short work commute, try to maintain a positive attitude, breathe and look forward to a joyous day!

Contact Us About Your Car Accident Injury

If you have been involved in a car accident injury during your work commute, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC Attorneys at Law today.  We offer a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys, who will review the details of your case and advise you on the best approach to getting the compensation you deserve for your car accident injury.

May 27, 2013 | Categories: Auto Accidents, Legal News |