It wasn't until Puett moved to Denver and found himself in a similarly perilous commuting situation that he realized how much the driving was affecting him. He made a bold choice: centralizing where he lives and works.
Puett now lives in a more urban neighborhood of Denver, where he can walk and bike around. In the warmer months, he'll ride a motor scooter, and two weeks might pass without him using a car. Since he is a contractor, Puett can be selective about which companies he works for based on travel time. (He'll accept longer commutes if they're short-term commitments.)
"Having lived the way I live now, you couldn't pay me enough for me to live out in the suburbs, or live anywhere, and commit to a 45-minute or hourlong commute every day," he says. "There's no amount of money that I would accept to do that."
But there are plenty of people who don't -- or can't -- draw that line. Ramona Patrick is the principal of an elementary school and drives 55 miles through Los Angeles to get to work Monday through Friday. She'll leave later in the evening to avoid traffic, but "your life is either on the road or at work."
And Minnick says she loves her job enough to make the trek from Athens three times a week. Podcasts and audio books help her get through.
"I would never say that this is fun," she says of her commute. "I feel like I've done a good job of making it more enjoyable. I'm really good at knowing what's going to make me happy for two hours."