These gems help us manage our commutes
Sure, driving to work is a convenient choice, but it can certainly get stressful. If you encounter rush-hour traffic or your commute is long, you may well dread this part of your day.
Luckily, you can find plenty of products to make your commute much more bearable -- even enjoyable.
From comfortable seat cushions to audiobook subscription services, these items can help you make the most of the time you spend in transit. Especially if you have an older car that doesn't come pre-packed with all of the modern bells and whistles.
We polled the BestReviews staff to find out what makes life on the road more enjoyable. This is the list of products that came from that survey.
Squinting into sunny conditions can hurt your eyes. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare while maintaining clarity, so they're ideal for driving. A pair of classic Ray-Ban Aviator Polarized Sunglasses are as stylish as they are practical. They cost between $153 and $250 depending on the color and size you choose, and they're a worthwhile investment.
Adding a dash cam lends a sense of security for those who spend a lot of time in the car. It can give you peace of mind knowing that you will have a record of anything that may happen on the road, especially in case of an accident. The KDLINKS Full HD Dashboard Camera has a wide angle and superior night vision that capture high-quality video, all for $169.95.
Car seats aren't known for being the most luxurious or comfortable places to sit, so a long commute can leave you feeling stiff or sore. However, an ergonomic car seat cushion, like the Dreamer Car Auto Seat Lumbar Support, can reduce symptoms of sciatica, muscle tightness, and general back pain. Plus, it costs just $29.99.
If you want to go one step further than simple lumbar support, consider adding a cushion that heats and cools. This can come in handy whether it's the peak of summer or the middle of winter. The Snailax Seat Cushion offers three levels of cooling and two levels of heating and costs just $51.98.
Singing along to your favorite songs can relieve stress during your commute, but if you lament not having enough time for reading, you might prefer to listen to books while you drive to and from work. While you can buy audiobooks individually, a subscription service tends to be more cost-effective. Amazon's Audible has the largest number of audiobooks available and is reasonably priced at $14.95 per month.
You probably know the way from your home to your workplace by now, but a GPS can help you avoid traffic jams. A model with live traffic updates shows which areas have serious backups and provide an alternative route. The Garmin DriveSmart provides real-time information and is simple to use with voice or manual controls. It's currently priced at $214.97 -- marked down from $249.99.
If you'll be using your smartphone for traffic-avoiding purposes, then you'll want a mount that can keep it in your line of sight and hands-free. This Wizgear magnetic mount is $11.99 and attaches to your air vent, allowing you to glance at your screen easily without blocking your view of the road.
You'll need to keep your phone charged, especially if you're using it as a GPS. If your car doesn't have USB ports built-in, you can get a charger that plugs into the 12V socket. HUSSELL's car charger, priced at $13.84, is compatible with most phones. Don't forget an extra USB cable.
If you're spending a significant amount of time behind the wheel, a pair of driving shoes could be worth your while. They're comfortable slip-ons with rubber soles that cushion your feet while providing traction for the pedal, and you can keep them in your vehicle to wear when you drive. Nordstrom sells this Victor Driving Shoe for men for $114.95, and these Sam Edelman Driving Shoes for women are discounted to $83.96.
For more added commuting comfort, a steering wheel cover can provide a more secure, more cushion-like grip. This especially comes in handy if your steering wheel has some wear and tear or if your car will reach extreme temperatures and you want to prevent your wheel from doing the same. We love this model from Valleycomfy that's only $21.99.
Is the stress of your commute getting to you? If so, you might benefit from a relaxation aid in the form of an essential oil diffuser. It can help soothe your commute-wearied soul, plus it smells much fresher than a standard air freshener. The Gulaki Car Diffuser costs $25.99 and releases aromatherapy while acting as a humidifier, which is useful if the air in your car is dry from running the heater.
If your job requires business professional attire, odds are that you don't want to wear a restrictive suit coat while driving. However, you also don't want to leave it piled in the passenger seat, as it will be creased and wrinkled when you arrive. The KOLLIEE Car Coat Hanger attaches to your headrest, and the $39.99 you spend will save you time steaming out wrinkles.
When you need to leave early, you might not have time to enjoy your morning caffeine. A travel mug allows you to take your drink in the car, stick it in a cup holder, and keep it warm until you're ready to drink. The Thermos Stainless King is a sturdy 16-ounce travel mug that keeps drinks warm for up to five hours (hopefully, more than long enough to last your commute). The matte black option is 25% off at $22.50.
If your car doesn't have one built-in, a quality media player can help entertain you during your commute, giving you easy access to music, radio stations, podcasts, audiobooks, and more. The Pioneer Multimedia Receiver is our favorite on the market. It syncs with iOS or Android devices, allowing you to stream media or play anything stored on your device. It retails at $249.95.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.