Killer Commutes: $120 Billion Spent Traveling to Work

ABC News' Cecilia Vega on long, expensive commuter horror stories.
2:02 | 02/05/13

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Transcript for Killer Commutes: $120 Billion Spent Traveling to Work
Well, tonight, another stark fact for drivers. We are spending more and more of our lives sitting in traffic. How much? And can you guess which city is the worst? Here's abc's scecilia vega. Reporter: The sea of brake lights, back-to-back, bumper-to-bumper. A never ending commute hell. THAT'S jim McCauley's daily ritual from new jersey to new york. Can be really frustrating at times, you know? 45 minutes sitting in traffic, it tests your patience. It really does. Reporter: We've all done it, sat in our cars, saying, this is such a waste of time. But how much time are we actually wasting? One study did the math. All that traffic means commuters spend an average of 38 hours a year just sitting there. In that amount of time, you could have taken five vacation days. Played nine rounds of golf. Watched all three seasons of "downton abbey." I play solitaire on my phone. Reporter: Sure, new york and l.A. Are bad, but try living in the nation's capital. Washington d.C. Is home to the worst traffic in the country, where what should be a 30-minute drive takes about three hours. There's a longer commute because they're going to drive further to get a higher paying job. So, rather than try to uproot the whole family, you uproot your commute and make it longer. Reporter: In 2011, commuters wasted more than $800 a year on gas, just to sit in traffic. And that painfully boring ride could be painful for your body, too. Studies show a ten-mile or more commute can lead to high blood pressure. 15 miles or more, bigger waistlines. And all that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, even some cancers. Traffic is no longer something that people are surprised at. They expect it. Reporter: Some advice on how to manage it? Stay off the roads on friday, the busiest commute day of the week. Leave for work before the sun comes up. Use a gps to find a detour or a back road. And lay off the horn. We're getting there as fast as we can. Cecilia vega, abc news, new york.

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