Aerial view of highway traffic

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Back roads may move slower and seem less stressful, but Vanderbilt says highways are almost always the better (and safer) option. "There are fewer points of conflict—you don't have to worry about catching the light or keeping an eye open for anyone pulling out of a store parking lot," he adds. And 57 percent of all traffic fatalities occur on rural roads, says Peter F. Crescenti, director of public information for AAA New York. Instead of winding through neighborhood streets to avoid a jam, see if you can adjust the time you leave in the morning. The 2010 U.S. Census notes that the majority of drivers head out between 7 and 7:29 a.m. Or download Waze, a free app that alerts you about traffic, police traps, accidents and other hazards so that you can choose the best route and shed time off your commute.


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