As commutes begin earlier, new daily routines emerge

Harold Shaw leaves his home in suburban Atlanta at 5:30 a.m. to drive the 34 miles to his job at a fiber-optics cable plant. He gets there early enough to eat breakfast and read the newspaper.

"The traffic is not as busy this time of day," Shaw, 60, says after whipping into a QuikTrip store Monday to use the ATM and get a drink. "It’s not as stressful if you don’t have to deal with a lot of congestion."

But Shaw’s reliable pre-dawn commute forces sacrifices in his personal life. He used to turn in after catching the first few minutes of the 11 o’clock news. He’d walk or jog in the mornings. Now, he goes to bed at 9 p.m. and rolls out at 4:30 a.m. "If I leave home after 6 and there’s an accident," he says, "I’m late for work."

By Larry Copeland, Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, USA TODAY

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