There are more than 128 million commuters in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, of which almost 88 percent travel by car. That equates to a lot of traffic. The average American spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic and that number is almost double in larger metropolis areas, reports The Atlantic.
When you commute to work every day in your vehicle, you learn the ins and outs of driving in your city. But what happens when you are asked to relocate for work? The arduous process of acclimating to a new driving environment begins. Step one of this process is to find a car that is best suited for your new location, which requires careful consideration of your new city’s climate, typical commute time and road quality.
In the Southwest, Phoenix is a thriving city with people moving in from all over the country. It is a melting pot in more than one way. The incredibly hot climate is the main factor to consider when relocating to Phoenix and looking to find the right vehicle. You will want a light-colored vehicle (white or silver is good) with quality climate control. The average commute time in the Valley of the Sun is around 35 minutes, which may not seem that bad, unless you are stuck in traffic with no air conditioning. The state’s road quality was given a C rating by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), meaning that the quality of roads and highways are average when compared to other U.S. states.
The optimal vehicle for the Phoenix commuter is one with superb climate control to adapt to the heat, decent gas mileage for an average commute time and good drivability for the semi-satisfactory road conditions. A car like the convertible Prius is great if you want to take advantage of the mild winters. A Kia Optima is a good choice for year-round efficiency. To purchase an Optima, there’s a DriveTime dealership in Phoenix with this model readily on-hand.
In the Northwest, Seattle is one of the worst cities for commuting in the U.S. The average commute time in the Emerald City is about 41 minutes, which is on the high end of the nation’s commute times. This means durability and efficiency should be high priorities. Sadly, the ASCE graded Seattle’s road conditions at a D plus. In a city that receives so much rain, it is no surprise that road maintenance is not always effective, but it is an important factor to bear in mind when choosing a vehicle to drive there. For example, you will need a maneuverable vehicle with anti-lock brakes.
All things considered, the Jeep Cherokee has the maneuverability and handling necessary to safely navigate Seattle’s wet and dangerous streets.
In the Northeast, the city of Boston is a cradle of U.S. history. However, it’s also a cluster of illogical streets and roads. As one of the more difficult U.S. cities to navigate, driving can be long and hazardous. The weather in Bean Town varies greatly, from warm summers in the 80 to 85 degree area to below zero winters of rain and snow. On average, a Bostonian commuter spends 28 minutes in traffic either sweating or shivering, depending on the time of year. Boston roads are no stranger to pot holes and cracks, and when you add ice to the mix, you get the potential for disaster. In 2013, it was ranked in the top 20 cities with the worst road conditions by Business Insider.
Although a utility vehicle will serve you well in an environment with such a varying climate, a smaller vehicle will get better gas mileage and offer more agility in traffic jams. A quality pick is the Ford Focus, which has all-wheel drive and can hold its own in the snow.