How to Make the Most of Car-Free Day

Posted on by Isabelle Brown

Next week on September 22, 2022, Car Free Day encourages people around the world to ride greener. This global event raises awareness of alternate forms of transportation—Basically anything that isn’t driving alone in a car.  

There are so many benefits of choosing green modes of transport like public transit, carpooling and vanpooling, walking, bicycling, and even telecommuting.  

 

  • Reduce your Carbon Footprint
    • The official Car Free Day DC website says it best— “Using sustainable ways to get around helps reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. The more people who travel using bicycles, buses, trains, carpools and vanpools, the fewer pollutants are released into the atmosphere.”  
  • Save Money
    • When you put together all the costs that come with commuting and owning a vehicle, it adds up quickly. The average cost to commute in the US is $8,466 per year. Fuel prices, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and parking costs make getting to and from work a pricy part of our daily life. Even one day a week of taking public transit instead of driving alone can make a difference in the overall cost of the daily commute. 
  • Reduce Stress
    • For most people, commuting is not fun. Traffic jams, unsafe drivers on the road, watching your gas tank inch closer to E, spending hours in the car each week, and having to be on high alert for a long period of time all tie to stress and anxiety. Commuting can feel solitary, exhausting, boring, and expensive. The best way to see if a different way to commute is better for you is to give it a try! 

How Can we Make Going Car-Free Fun? 

Choosing a method of getting around that fits your mobility best is the key to making Car-Free Day worthwhile. Here are some ideas: 

Take the Train Somewhere 

Hopping on the train is a great way to turn a regular family/friend day trip into an adventure. You can go to a family-favorite restaurant or activity, or try something entirely new. Whatever you choose, train tickets are cost effective when compared to fuel costs and allow you to enjoy the ride instead of sitting in highway traffic. 

Go for a Bike Ride 

If you have somewhere safe to go, a bike ride combines nature, exercise, and green transport. What more could you ask for? Riding a bike also utilizes space in an efficient way by taking up significantly less space than a car on the road. Biking to your favorite park or making it into a group activity creates a sense of community around your car-free day. Spreading the joy of green transport is part of the fun. 

If you don’t have access to a bike or a safe place to ride, going for a walk can be extremely relaxing, and is great for both your physical and mental health. Being outside is a simple joy that does not require a vehicle! 

Try a Carpool  

Giving carpooling a try for Car-Free Day is an excellent start to living a greener life and seeing for yourself the social, financial, and personal benefits that come with it. While it takes a little effort to coordinate with someone to share the ride with, it absolutely beats driving alone! 

Carpooling with a coworker or two can make your workday more enjoyable, especially if you go out as a group on your way home since you’re already all together. The same can be applied to school drop-off and pick-up. Coordinating with another family nearby to split time driving to and from school takes a lot of pressure off parents/guardians. You can go out as a group after school, too! 

Stay Home! 

The most efficient commute of all? No commute! Teleworking has changed the workday for so many Americans, saving us time, money, and stress. For Car-Free Day, free yourself from driving to work in rush hour traffic. If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity, work from home!  

A couple more ways to stay home for Car-Free Day is to swap your out-of-home routine for other options. Do you usually drive to the gym? Try an at-home workout or go for a walk around your neighborhood instead. Plan a fun night in with the family with a homemade pizza night, fall movie marathon, or arts and crafts project!  

 

Next Thursday, Drop Your Keys for a Day! 

Take the pledge and be part of Car-Free Day.