Next best thing to vacation: A stress-free commute

Next best thing to vacation: A stress-free commute
By Trisha Hessinger For NewsUSA

(NewsUSA) - It may be vacation time for kids, but most adults work through the summer months. Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends some commuting tips for everyone who is spending the summer driving to work instead of heading out on vacation:
* Keep Your Vehicle in Tip-Top Condition. It is important to keep your vehicle properly maintained. For example, check your tires regularly since they are the only thing connecting your vehicle to the road. You can check your tires' tread depth with the "penny test." Insert a penny in the tread with Lincoln's head down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, the tread is worn, and the tire probably needs to be replaced. If you are not certain, have it checked by a tire professional. You should also have your automotive technician make sure that your tires are properly inflated and rotated. In addition, have them check under the hood to evaluate your vehicle's other major systems.
* Commute Comfortably. Wear shoes that are comfortable and safe to drive in -- flat shoes with some grip on the soles are ideal. Make any adjustments to your seat or mirrors before you start on your way.
* Don't Be Distracted. Stay focused and do not multitask. Make your daily commute your "quiet time" for the day by turning off your cell phone. Even if your local laws do not require it, if you must talk on your phone invest in a headset so you can focus on the road. Make sure that you can still hear honking horns and sirens while using your headset.
* Keep Calm. Consider leaving earlier or researching an alternative route to miss rush hour traffic, holiday traffic or bad weather. If you know that you're going to be late, accept the delay. Slow down and keep your distance in heavy traffic. Unsafe driving habits such as changing lanes right before or after an intersection or in a school zone, not signaling before a turn, making illegal U-turns and other activities can put you and others at risk.
If you are still facing the daily grind this summer, take the time to make your commute a safe and pleasant part of your day.