TIPS ON SURVIVING INTERSTATE DRIVING
As I return from another five hour jaunt to Jacksonville on Interstate 10 in Florida, I am reminded of how complicated driving on the highway can be. We take it for granted, because unlike the hustle and bustle of a city or the pedestrian problems of a suburb, the interstate is open highway, seemingly free of disaster. It is up to me to guide you, kemo sabe, on how to survive the open road.
Tip #1: Stockpile the music.
I am usually alone when driving, so to keep myself from going nuts, I prefer to have a selection of CDs ready and easily available to switch out. Radio stations can be unreliable, as commercials and terrible connections tend to ruin the experience. Occasionally, I bust out the iHome, but the speakers are sensitive, and it does not charge my iPod, so I have to be careful with that. Music can go a LONG way into making the trip much more enjoyable, and it takes your mind off of the silence. Moreover, it keeps you awake.
Tip #2: DON’T DAYDREAM.
Easier said than done, but driving alone, minus music or radio, we tend to spend more time thinking and delving into the mysteries of life. And why not? There’s nothing else to do! The problem is, driving and daydreaming is incredibly hazardous. Your attention span drifts, and then from your mind, the eyes go next. Even though you’re physically looking straight, you’re not SEEING anything. Too busy thinking about whatever, you may lose control of the car. I’ve drifted on occasion, and it jolts the crap out of me whenever I feel like I’m about to veer off the asphalt. So…pay attention.
Tip #3: Choose car buddies carefully.
Everyone wants to road trip with their buddies. It’s a great concept, but some of our buddies don’t make good car companions. I liken this idea to people who date, but once they move in together, they realize they’re not compatible, and they clash. Sometimes, you drive with people who talk too much, not enough, play loud music, or even sleep most of the way. I have the experience of being a sleeper, but at least I wasn’t driving. Just keep this one in mind next time you plan a vacation.
Tip #4: Snacks!
Have them ready, because nothing sucks more momentum out of a drive than having to stop at a rest area or an exit just to buy a bag of chips.
Tip #5: No Jeans
If you can help it, wear something loose and soft. MUCH more comfortable.
Tip #6: I have the need for speed…occasionally.
Though I don’t usually drive past 80 or 85 mph, I’m not going to condemn people who like to speed. It gets boring out there, and some people drive unbearably slow. But, unless I’m really antsy out there, I usually only speed to pass up a semi or someone abnormally slow. It’s not worth getting pulled over. Plus, you’d be surprised how many cops are out there, and how many are adept at hiding between the trees.
Tip #7: No Road Rage.
Road Rage is one of the worst and stupidest emotions to have, much like homophobia or racism. It’s so pointless to get mad at another driver, someone you’ll never see again, on a road as big as the highway. It’s true that there are plenty of jerks out there, people who like to ride other drivers’ bumpers, or people who like to speed and nearly run you off the road. It gets annoying, but is it worth it to honk your horn or yell at them in your car? I’ve heard of people giving douchebag drivers the finger, but then those drivers actually follow those finger wavers off their exits. It’s too risky to get irritated, not to mention an unnecessary stress in life.
Tip #8: Air Conditioning on full blast.
I don’t care what temperature it is outside, putting the AC on full blast is a good trick for staying awake and keeping focused on what lay ahead.
Tip #9: Common Courtesy for the road.
If you see someone entering the highway from an exit, move over into the next lane if you can. Moreover, if there’s an accident, STOP STARING, keep driving. People who stare at accidents slow everything down and make traffic worse.
These are a few pointers. Take them if you want them.