Congestion caused by a road accident, Algarve,...

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If you live in the suburbs, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a job located near your home, then commuting is a way of life for you. For many, commuting can be a hassle at best and dangerous at worst. When drivers are faced with traffic congestion during their daily commutes, they can become easily frustrated and take risks, leading to unnecessary car accidents.

Fortunately, there are tools that have been developed to help make your commute safer and easier.

First, there’s IBM’s 2011 Commuter Pain study, the results of which were released last month.The study’s goal was to assess the factors that attributed to commuter stress and to rank large cities based upon the findings.  An excerpt from the IBM press release describes the results of the 2011 study and the risks of commuting in a city that ranks high on the stress index:

In many cities, the survey recorded significant increases, when compared with last year, in the number of respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their levels of personal stress and anger and negatively affected their performance at work or school.

“Commuting doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s global intelligent transportation expert. “A person’s emotional response to the daily commute is colored by many factors – pertaining both to traffic congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year’s Global Commuter Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more unsettled and anxious compared with 2010.”

Fortunately for Chicago, Illinois drivers, the city is one of the best large cities in which to commute, coming in ahead of only London and Montreal.

Also useful for commuters is a new tool released by Audi, the Road Frustration Index, which measures, in real time, the frustration levels of commuters in cities across America. This post from Fast Company explains how the levels are calculated:

(T)he Index takes four different factors into account: a weather index that weighs events based on driver visibility and weather severity, traffic (distance, time spent in delays), sentiment (searching for key words on Twitter like “traffic jam”), and road incidents.

Hopefully commuters will be able to use this information to ascertain the mood of other drivers on the road before setting out on on their morning commute. Perhaps having this information available to them will encourage commuters to drive more carefully and will likewise assist in reducing traffic accidents, making the roads safer for everyone.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com.

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