Tag Archives: driving

The Best Day to Drive

I went on a little road trip to Santa Barbara over the holidays to visit my girlfriend’s parents. The drive from San Francisco is about 330 miles and usually takes five to six hours depending on traffic. But I inadvertently discovered the best day to drive out of the whole year. It’s Christmas. 

There was nobody on the road and we took advantage. We cruised along at a good ten to fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, comfortable enough to avoid getting pulled over for speeding. All the drivers were more considerate than usual. It was probably a byproduct of Christmas and Hanukkah overlapping. Everyone was overly generous. I hardly saw any tailgating or neglecting to use turn signals and there was a lot of thank you waves going on. We left the city around 8:15 and we arrived by 12:30, stopping only once for coffee. That’s not too shabby. From now on, I’m going to do all my road tripping on major holidays. While everyone is celebrating with friends and family, the roads are free for cruising. Take advantage.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Going Slow in the Fast Lane

 I don’t like it when I get stuck behind somebody that is going slow in the fast lane. It’s called the fast lane for a reason. You’re supposed to go fast in it. It’s the passing lane. Slower traffic should stay to the right. I thought it was common sense but apparently some people didn’t get the memo. I’d say that you should be going at least ten miles per hour above the speed limit to be using the fast lane, and you should get out of the fast lane if you see that there are others that want to go faster than you. If you’re going seventy-five miles per hour and see a guy going ninety, get out of the fast lane to let him pass, then get back in the fast lane and follow his lead. Let him do the major speeding so a cop pulls him over instead of you in a speed trap. I’m not encouraging you to speed. I’m saying that you should stay the fuck out of the fast lane if you don’t speed. Going slow in the fast lane is like killing yourself by a subway train: you’re wrecking other people’s commute because you hate your life. Don’t be so selfish and stay out of the fast lane. Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Road Trip

A road trip is a trip in which you drive a vehicle a long distance, typically from Point A to Point B. It takes a lot longer than flying, but it’s a whole lot faster than walking. I just went on a road trip over the weekend for a wedding in San Diego. It took me a little less than nine hours to drive the five hundred plus miles from San Francisco. It would have been less than eight hours but Los Angeles is a traffic cesspool.

That was my first road trip in a couple of years. It’s a lot easier to go on road trips when you actually have a car. It wasn’t a bad drive, but I was driving solo so I got a little bored from time to time. I definitely went a little crazy. I know that I was talking to myself and splashing cold water on my face to keep from drifting off the road. It didn’t help that I was driving on the I-5, which is one of the most boring interstates in California. There’s no scenery and practically no landmarks (the one exception being the massive cow slaughtering house that reeks of death for miles around).

When you driving down the same stretch of highway for hundreds of miles, you make friends. They aren’t really friends, they are simply other cars, trucks, and busses that are keeping the same pace as you. Every now and then you pull off to get some gas, go to the bathroom, and stretch out your legs. Then you jump back out on the road and try to catch up to them again. I also like to use fast moving trucks or busses as mobile reference points. I followed a giant purple tour bus like a minnow for over seventy miles because the driver was cruising at 85 mph. I figured that he would be the one to get a ticket if any cops saw us speeding.

I have a few tips for a successful road trip. First off, make sure your car is up to the task. Make sure the oil is changed, the tires are ok, and that you have a full tank of gas. Nothing sucks out the momentum from hitting the road like needing to get gas twenty minutes into the trip. Also make sure that you have drinks and snacks. You can’t go wrong with a bag of trail mix and some beef jerky. For drinks, I’d recommend some energy drinks to keep you awake and a few bottles of cold water. I like to freeze a couple of bottles the night before so they stay as cold as possible. Every now and then I’ll splash water on my face when the energy drinks aren’t enough. And make sure you have music or a podcast or something to listen to. It helps to break up the monotony.

Road trips are fun. Flying saves you a lot of time, but driving is how you really discover things.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Driving with a Mattress Strapped to the Roof

You don’t know true fear until you’ve gone driving with a mattress strapped to the roof. I was unlucky enough to experience this last week. I had to move my mattress and bed frame six miles across town. It wasn’t easy. I used bungie cords to hold the mattress and frame together, then I tied it to the roof of my friend’s SUV. We mostly drove along surface streets but there was a two-mile stretch on the highway and it was a particularly windy day. It was terrifying. I felt compelled to lean out the window and hold it down with one hand while steering the car with the other. It was not fun and my arm went numb. I felt bad for the guy stuck behind me. He looked even more scared than I was. I made it to my destination with everything in tact, but I gained a few new gray hairs in the process. Driving with a mattress strapped to the roof sucks. Next time I think I will splurge for the U-haul.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

  

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A New Used Car

I got a new used car. It’s a 2000 Honda Civic. It was a family car, the same car I drove in high school. I learned how to drive stick on that car. So did a lot of my friends too. That car got around like Paris Hilton at a frat party. My little sister ended up with the car after everyone went to college and moved away from home. It was stolen in front of her house, she got a new car, and then they found her Civic. She didn’t need two cars so she offered it to me. I accepted, because I learned a long time ago that you don’t turn down free food or free vehicles. So now I have the same car that I practically lived in twelve years ago. It’s like driving a memory. Hell, it is driving a memory. I had so many adventures in that car. It’s crazy to think that I get to create more now. I can’t wait.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pit Stop

One of the perks of a road trip is an unscheduled pit stop. That’s when you stop at a random location, like a gas station or a neglected Carl’s Jr, on a road trip. It’s where you break the monotony of a several hour long car ride by getting out of the car, stretching your legs, going to the bathroom and buying something to munch on when you get back on the road. A pit stop is not a destination. You’re only there for a few minutes before you move on towards where you really want to go. A pit stop is just a brief moment to relax before the journey takes too much of a toll and you veer off into a ditch and die in a ball of flames, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens. So be cautious and make a pit stop every once in a while.
Critically Rated at 12/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Looking For Parking

I live in a city where you don’t need a car to get around. Driving a car in my city becomes a hassle. You have to deal with traffic, street cleaning, vandals, tickets, and looking for parking. Looking for parking is the worst thing about driving in the city. It only takes ten minutes to drive from Point A to Point B, but you’ll spend twenty minutes creeping up and down side streets and alleyways at seven miles per hour trying to find a spot. You finally find a spot and park, and only then will you notice that the curb is painted red and you’re right next to a fire hydrant. Or you can only park there on the second Wednesday of each month. Or you have to have a Residential Permit to park there. So you scream and bash your head into the steering wheel out of frustration and continue on your quest in search of parking. Another twenty minutes go by until you finally give up and pay twenty bucks to park it in a lot somewhere. Fuck that. Next time you’ll just take the bus.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Driving Without Your Headlights On

Headlights (or headlamps) are lamps attached to a vehicle that light up the road. They make driving at night a lot easier. It really helps being able to see where you are going. That’s why driving without your headlights on is dangerous and stupid. Most new cars have headlights that turn on automatically, but older models have to be turned on manually. It’s not uncommon to see someone driving around without their headlights turned on in a city because the streets are generally well lit and bright, no matter what time of the night it is. You should get the driver’s attention and point out that his headlights are off. Flashing your headlights is the universal way of saying “Yo dumbass, turn on your fucking lights!” And that dumbass will be thankful, because you made the world a safer place and he avoided getting a ticket. Sometimes you’re the dumbass driving without the lights on. You’ll try to justify it with some excuse or other. There is no excuse. You endangered lives. Somebody could have died. You should feel terrible.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Speeding Up At a Yellow Light

You’re driving along and you’re approaching an intersection with a traffic light. A green light means that you can go. A red light means that you have to stop. A yellow light means that the light is about the change to red. And instead of slowing down, you speed up. There’s no way in hell that you’re going to be stuck at the light Speeding up at a yellow light is not only acceptable, it’s expected. Drivers have been speeding up at yellow lights for as long as there have been yellow lights to speed through. As long as there have been traffic lights, there are been impromptu road races whenever the yellow light makes an appearance. It’s an annoying practice that predates ignoring your turn signals and not checking the rearview mirror.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Driving While Being Zoned Out

You’re driving home from work. It’s getting late and you’re really tired. You see the street signs and street signs slowly rolling by but none of them register. All you can think about is crashing on your couch and watching a movie before bed. Then all of a sudden you shake your head and snap back to reality. You realize that you were just driving while being zoned out. You realize that you have no recollection of the last five minutes. Even though you were driving, you were just a passenger. You weren’t paying attention to the road or any other cars, you were just cruising. Consider yourself lucky that you didn’t run over any cats or pedestrians or crash into a median. Lots of people are able to drive while being zoned out. It’s kind of crazy how half of you brain can shut down but your body can still function and react to things you aren’t aware of. Maybe we should let our subconscious have more control of our day-to-day lives.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Courtesy Wave

There are a lot of aggressive drivers on the road these days. You see a lot of people cutting off other cars, following too closely, neglecting their turn signals, and planting the seeds for a road rage tree. There are a lot of dick moves that you can pull that will piss off other drivers. If you cut someone off or almost crash into them, you can erase the tension with a simple courtesy wave. The courtesy wave is an easy way to say sorry for being an asshole or show your appreciation for an act of kindness. That simple hand gesture can save your life, especially if you’re driving in Los Angeles. If someone lets you back out of parking spot during rush hour, you better give them a courtesy wave. The courtesy wave is not an excuse to drive like an asshole, it’s a way to let other drivers know you’re sorry for driving like one.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Holding Your Breath When You Drive Through a Tunnel

Some people are in the habit of holding their breath when they drive through a tunnel. I know this because I am one of them. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. It’s a custom that’s been passed down for generations. When I asked why, I was told it was an emergency air supply if the tunnel suddenly collapsed. It seemed reasonable at the time so I never questioned it and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s better to hold your breath when you’re the passenger. You can get lightheaded and that’s not so bueno if you’re driving. Once you’ve made it through the tunnel successfully, you get to make a wish. That’s your reward for surviving the trip. Use it wisely.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Hitting Every Green Light

There’s a magical time downtown each night where there are no cars on the road and every single intersection is just for you. You start driving down the street at the perfect speed, each red light dissolving away as you approach. You’re hitting every green light. Your brakes could be cut and it wouldn’t matter because there’s no stopping you. This is what it feels like to be at the center of the universe. Hitting every green light is an urban miracle, proof that the traffic gods do exist.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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