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Back to the office? How Northeast Ohioans can deal with the back to work commute

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Posted at 2:37 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 14:37:42-04

CLEVELAND — As many people dust off their to-go mug and re-familiarize themselves with their route to work, a new report from Stacker ranks several Northeast Ohio cities with the longest commute in the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute in the U.S. was just over 27 minutes each direction. That adds up to nearly an hour-long commute round-trip and nearly 216 hours each year commuting to-and-from work.

“A lot of people may be used to just getting up, grabbing their cup of coffee and heading to their home office,” said Jim Garrity, a spokesperson for AAA East Central. “For a lot of people who are going to be coming back into the office, one of the things they're going to want to keep in mind is ‘what do I have to do to acclimate myself so that I'm not put in a position where I'm so stressed out or I'm running late?’”

A February survey by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home are working from home all or most of the time.

For the rest of the American workforce headed back to the office two years into the pandemic, Garrity suggested waking up earlier, leaving sooner and prepping your body a few days in advance before you return to work.

“Maybe the weekend leading into it to actually drive your route again, just to familiarize yourself just to see if there's anything new in that commute,” Garrity said. “Maybe there's new potholes you're not used to trying to avoid, construction to navigate or new traffic signals or patterns.”

Cities like Aurora, Broadview Heights, Strongsville, and North Royalton all landed in the Top 5 for longer commutes in Stacker’s report, which an average one-way trip taking more than the 27-minute national average.

Brunswick also landed inside the Top 10 at No. 6.

“Unfortunately, we saw during the pandemic that even though the amount of people driving decreased, crashes increased,” Garrity said. “So, you want to keep these things in mind and do what you have to do to make sure that you're not a problem on the road.”

AAA also suggests waking up earlier, preferably for consecutive days before you return to work to avoid drowsy or distracted driving.

“It's not a bad idea to wake up when you're going to be waking up a few days earlier than that first day back at the office or that first day back at work,” Garrity said. “That way you're prepping your body and you're putting yourself in a position where when you're behind the wheel you're not getting drowsy because drowsy drivers, that's just as dangerous as drunk driving and so is distracted driving,”

All that extra travel will also have drivers guzzling more gas. With an average price that still hovers around $4 per gallon in Ohio, Garrity cautioned anyone who might be consider running their tank dry.

“You don't be putting yourself in a position where you're tempted to not fill up because you were, you're saying to yourself, ‘maybe I can stretch this out a little bit longer,’” Garrity said. “When you get below a quarter of a tank, you're putting yourself in the position where you could be vulnerable to a roadside breakdown.”

For a full list of cities on Stacker’s report, click here.

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