You might be surprised, or at least mildly peeved, to learn exactly how much time you spend in traffic in the Visalia, CA area every year. The average American spends twelve days—293 hours or 17,600 minutes—driving, and about 40 hours of that is stuck in traffic, wishing you were somewhere else. It’s not just your psyche that suffers. Your car does too. Dann’s Discount Auto Sales, your place to go for used cars, explains.

The problem with traffic is the stop-and-go aspect. One reason it’s bad is that it hurts your fuel economy. Cars’ city fuel economy is worse than their highway mileage because accelerating, especially if you’re starting from a full stop or close to it, uses more fuel than cruising at a steady speed. It’s also rough on your brakes and transmission. And just because the odometer isn’t moving when your car’s sitting doesn’t mean your engine isn’t wearing down as it idles.

How do you protect your car? If you know you’re going to be staying put for a bit, whether you’re stuck in traffic or a long line at the drive thru, you can help by shutting your car off. You should also account for idle time when you’re looking at the service intervals in your owner’s manual—it’s suggested that you come in earlier if you’ve logged several hours in traffic. If the traffic is stop and go, leave plenty of stopping distance between yourself and the car in front of you, cruising at a slightly lower speed to keep braking to a minimum.

Make sure you don’t just take care of your car; self-care behind the wheel is important too. If the weather’s cool, it helps to keep your windows up and your fans switched off to keep pollutants out of the cabin. If you have to run the air conditioner, use the recirculate setting so you’re not drawing in fumes and pollutants from outside. Needless to say, having your cabin filter checked and changed periodically also helps.

Traffic is like taxes. Nobody likes it, but it’s something that we have to deal with. Both you and your car can come through it all in much better shape with a bit of mindfulness and foresight, and our Visalia used car dealership can help. Schedule used car service today to ensure your vehicle is running properly for your drive ahead.