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Americans' reliance on cars is hazardous to our health

Cars stuck in traffic on large highway
Photo: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Reliance on cars harm our health in a number of ways, Boston University economist Austin Frakt said.

Be smart: On top of removing you from the horrors of traffic, walking and riding a bike offer the benefits of at least light exercise.

The brutal commute:

  • Exposure to the pollution caused by exhaust can cause respiratory problems.
  • Researchers have found that people who spend more time in the car had worse health and were more likely to be depressed.
  • We spend about 40 hours per year sitting in traffic, and unanticipated delays on top of the gridlock we’re used to are a cause of stress, which we know to have a host of health effects. One study linked “extreme traffic” to higher rates of domestic violence.

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