5) Spend your time wisely.

Most of the time, multitasking at the wheel is a bad idea, but there are exceptions: Audio books. NPR. Playlists on a fully loaded iPod, so you don't have to fumble with it. Traveling by bus or subway? A recent study in the journal PLoS One found that music may make the ride easier to take. People who listened to upbeat tunes through headphones were more tolerant of others in their personal space than when they weren't listening.

When you can use the time you spend commuting to relax and decompress from your day, you might even look forward to the ride, says Tessina. "Your car can be a sanctuary, if you let it."

3 Happy-Travel Helpers:

  • Brain Candy
    Music is soothing, but it's good to switch things up and engage your mind with a podcast. Some to try: Nutrition Diva, Radio Lab, and The Nerdist.
  • Snacks
    You want something nonperishable and full of protein and fiber-the best combo to keep your stomach quiet and your energy level up, says Keri M. Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. Try a quarter cup of roasted edamame, a Kashi granola bar, or a shelf-stable container of chocolate milk.
  • Germ Zapper
    Mass transit ranked in the top five of the 15 germiest public places, according to Charles Gerba, M.D., a microbiologist at the University of Arizona (and a 2011 survey found that only one in four women wash their hands with soap for at least 15 seconds after using it). Gerba recommends alcohol-based hand sanitizer-stash one that's at least 60 percent alcohol in your bag.


Steer Clear of Pain

According to the most recent Gallup poll, a long car commute can literally be a pain in the neck-not to mention the back. Carrie Diulus, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, offers these tips for an ache-free ride:

  • Cushion Your Neck
    "The headrest is there for a reason," says Diulus. So use it rather than craning forward to focus on the road. The headrest helps with neck soreness, and Diulus says it's the safest place for your noggin in a crash.
  • Lean Back
    Slumping increases the pressure on your spinal disks, but you don't want to sit perfectly straight, hugging the steering wheel, either, says Diulus. The best position is upright and leaning back slightly.
  • Embrace Your Curves
    The lower back has a built-in sway. To take some of the pressure off this region (the lumbar), roll up a towel to the thickness of your forearm and tuck it into the space where the small of your back meets the seat.

Starting the day off with a ritual--say, coffee from your fave spot--can bring comfort to your commute.

Forget about leg room--what you need is a good headrest.

Watch: 10 Craziest Commutes >