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Think twice before taking that shortcut to work

Kwik Fit | Monday 30th June 2014 11:00am

New research by satellite navigation manufacturer TomTom has revealed that using shortcuts or ‘rat runs’ to get to work faster during morning and evening rush hours could actually be adding more time onto your journey. We’ve all considered it, rather than sit in that inevitable traffic jam on the main road or motorway, it’s very tempting to turn off down that longer country road – it’s not like anyone else has had the same idea! But the research, which was carried out as part of TomTom’s annual analysis of worldwide traffic trends, found that an additional 32% is added to your journey time when using a local roads during peak times, whereas an average of just 15% was added onto to journey times when using main roads during the same peak hours.

But even when armed with this knowledge, the researchers found that drivers still opted for the longer route, over the stop/start traffic jam even if it took longer to reach the destination in the long run. It is suggested that the reason for this is that, psychologically, drivers like to feel as if they are getting somewhere by constantly moving even though in reality they are not getting to their destination any faster. There is definitely some truth in this as stationary traffic seems to have a widespread negative effect on drivers making them stressed, agitated and in some cases aggressive. But of course, longer journeys means more wear to your car tyres and statistically, local roads have more potholes which could have a detrimental effect your wheel alignment and suspension, so choose that route wisely!

In a separate study by Direct Line, it was revealed recently that the London rush-hour is the worst in the UK, despite the capital having more measures in place to help reduce congestion than anywhere else in the country. Need a calming zen-like driving experience? Then take a trip to Oxford. Bizarrely the research showed than commuters could actually reach their destination quicker during rush hour than in off peak times thanks in part to neighbouring trunk roads.


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