If you know me at all, then you know I don’t really like to drive, especially long trips on busy highways.
There was a meme on Facebook recently that accurately depicted driving on the 401 (unfortunately I don’t know who the original author is). Shortened, it said,
“The 401 is where they weed out the weak. You don’t drive on the 401 to get somewhere. You do it for the challenge. You do it to test your abilities. Rush hour 401 is the breaking point between heaven and earth. You will double the size of your biceps, death-gripping your steering wheel. There is no time for rest or pulling off into an exit. Bodily functions shut down. Crashes on the side of the road and closed lanes are a constant reminder that you are driving the razor’s edge. Death is mere seconds away at any given moment. They’re always doing construction, but nothing is ever finished. This is Canadian driving. Get good or get out!”
Most days it terrifies me to drive on the 401. I firmly believe that most drivers learned to drive from Mario Cart. Weaving recklessly across multiple lanes, tailgating, and making bold lane switches with mere inches to spare, the Daredevils are determined to beat out all other 401 commuters to take the win.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a good driver. I’m an experienced marathon driver, having driven solo between Ontario and British Columbia several times. I’ve also made the harrowing 8-hour drive home from the Toronto airport during the Snowmageddon blizzard of 2013.
Despite being a good driver, I still try to get out of driving every chance I get! Luckily my boyfriend and best friend both prefer their own driving ability over mine, so I am often left to ride shotgun in complete comfort and relaxation.
If you also don’t like driving, I’ve provided some useful tips to help you convince others to do the driving:
- Call “shotgun!” This is usually called when there is more than one passenger, affirming your spot in the front passenger seat as opposed to the backseat, but is equally effective when there are just two of you.
- Drive a small compact car. Example: my old Kia Rio. As a visual, think of a matchbox car, only smaller. If you were taller than 6-feet, you had to recline the seat, so your head wasn’t touching the roof. The backseat had 4 inches of legroom and the trunk wasn’t big enough for two suitcases.
- Drive a standard. Hardly anyone knows how to drive a standard anymore, nor do they want to. If there is even the slightest possibility that they may need to do some of the driving, they will opt out and take their car.
- Drive a shitty car. Again, my 14-year old Kia Rio. At trade-in, neither the heat nor A/C worked, only the top and bottom rear defrost lines defrosted, the windows didn’t roll down, and the thick rubber floor mat covered the hole in the floor and prevented your feet from falling through.
- Tell people your car is making a funny rattling noise, but you’re sure it will be okay for the two-day trip.
- Drive around all the time with a 1/4 tank of gas. Reassure everyone that you have enough gas to get you to Toronto and back without filling up. This terrifies even the most adventurous people.
- Pretend you don’t own a GPS and start riffling through old paper maps from the 1980’s. Again, terrifying prospect for any potential shotgun passenger.
- Be an overly anxious driver, even if you aren’t normally. If they can’t ride shotgun in peace and relaxation, they might as well be driving.
- Drive slowly. I rarely do more than 110 km/hr on the 402. All my friends prefer to arrive in London four minutes sooner, so they drive.
There you have it. If you are planning on taking a road trip with me, don’t make me work for it, just offer to drive!