Hooray for back-to-school! While I'm thankful to send my girls off to fill their brains with knowledge and let me get some sleep during the day, I'm less excited about the daily trips for preschool drop off and the increased traffic during morning and afternoon drive times.
I recently had the opportunity to attend an informational session with BP for their Commute Better program. Locals here in Columbus might have heard some of their commercials on the radio recently featuring tips on making the daily commute a little less painful as well as the Commute Better team out at local BP stations handing out commuter essentials.
A recent survey commissioned by BP said that eighty-six percent of Columbus drivers have a specific route they follow for their daily commute, even if construction leads to traffic jams on that route. I was a little surprised by that number, thinking these people must be recent immigrants to our fine city, because I was certain that most residents live by the rule that you need to know at least three ways to get anywhere in this city, since one of those routes will surely be closed or blocked.
Personally, I'm a master at alternate routes, making last minute decisions to take a side street or hop back onto the highway to avoid any stops in traffic. My husband is just as savvy - listening to us weigh the pros and cons of which route to take based on past history of traffic patterns and current traffic reports can be very amusing.
Tip: be flexible with your commute. Listen to the traffic report before you leave the house and plan accordingly. Leaving 15 minutes earlier than normal can sometimes make a big difference as well.
I also learned that not all gasoline is created equal, and that BP includes an additive called Invigorate that can help prevent damaging build-up in your engine or scrub away any current deposits that may be threatening the health of your vehicle. (And wallet.) Keeping your engine clean can lead to better gas mileage and fewer repairs.
Other useful commuting tips include mapping out your day to reduce the amount of driving between stops, avoiding school areas as much as possible during peak times, keeping your car maintained with regular oil and air filter changes, and keeping a basket of car toys to entertain your kids and reduce distractions.
My luncheon ended with receiving an awesome car organizer filled with everything I could think of to make my commute a little bit easier.
For more information on the BP Commute Better program, check out their website. Even if you're not in Columbus, the website has plenty of tips to make the drive easier regardless of location.
BP is sharing the love with one of you as well! I've got an extra car organizer available to give away to one lucky reader.
What's in it, you might ask? Well, beyond being the perfect size to place between two booster seats, this organizer has pockets to hold everything your kids might need, including drink holders! Also included is a travel coffee mug, a tumbler, umbrella, sunglasses, air freshener, tire gauge, hand wipes, sunscreen, band-aids, tissues, a flashlight, lotion, a notepad, pens, crayons and a coloring book. Oh, and a $10 BP gift card to help with gas while you're on-the-go.
To enter: you must leave a comment below sharing your best tip for keeping kids happy in the car on a long drive. How do you avoid the sibling fighting or the endless "are we there yet?" questions? Share your tip and be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner.
Entries will be accepted until September 1, 2011 at 11:59pm (Eastern Time). One winner will be randomly selected from all valid entries and contacted by email. Winner will have 3 days to confirm acceptance or a replacement winner will be chosen. US mailing addresses only.
Good luck, and stay safe out on the road!
Full disclosure: I was invited to a luncheon sponsored by BP and given a car organizer kit while there. I received no compensation for this post and giveaway, and no promise of a positive write-up was promised or expected. All opinions expressed here are my own honest opinions and, just because it's funny to say in a post about driving, your mileage may vary.