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Nick Hiltbrand

Proper Road Trip Etiquette

So I’ve got a 6+ hour car trip to Wisconsin that I’m making with a friend this weekend… Excited about us getting to visit our buddy who lives up there, but excited about the trip itself? Not so much. I can’t help but think of the other things I could be doing for over six hours…


  • Watch 3 movies (provided it’s not the Lord of The Rings series)
  • Read (most) of the Hunger Games
  • Do a deep cleaning of my apartment (but let’s be real here, I don’t think I’d be that productive if I were given that 6 hours)
  • Walk back and forth between the Courthouse (Findlay) and the Cube 3 times
  • Maybe actually finish a game of Monopoly without wanting to fight everyone I play with
  • Count to 21,600 at a rate of one number per second.
  • Listen through all the Fall Out Boy discography

Nothing against the friend I’ll be driving with, because it’d be way worse with a stranger or someone I didn’t like, but I just don’t like long car rides. It’s the idea of being cooped up in a chair that you can’t sleep in (comfortably), get up from and move around, do anything distracting (or you’ll probably die) or even go to the bathroom unless you want to push back the moment in which you’re finally able to escape the vehicle.


And it’s not only that. There’s a lot of etiquette with road trips as well, cause being the driver kinda sucks. First off there’s the music, and let’s be real, you’re lucky if you like even 35% of the driver’s music on his Ipod. He’s the one driving, and charged with keeping you safe and getting you there in a timely fashion all the while not getting a ticket, so it only makes sense that he should be awarded one of the few luxuries associated with road trips and get to pick the music right? So the driver is playing what he wants to hear, and odds are you don’t really want to hear the song, so what do you do? You can’t read (listening to your own music is TOTALLY out of the question as well) cause that would  be “rude,” because you need to be there in case he needs you to talk to him or to keep him from being bored/tired, he can’t take advantage of not having to pay attention to anything else so why should you?


Even if you’re the weird kind of person who can manage to sleep in a car (sorry, but being propped up at a 45* angle and trying to convince myself that the gap between the back of the chair, and the divider beam of the two side doors can work as a makeshift pillow doesn’t exactly knock me out cold), you don’t really want to do that either cause apparently it’s disrespectful to leave the driver alone with his thoughts.


And forget going to the bathroom! I mean who are you to stop the trip to go to the bathroom when the driver has been strong for hours and is able to push on further? All you’ve had to do the past few hours is twiddle your thumbs while Richard Petty over there has been weaving in and out of cars, avoiding deer and watching out for cops, the least you could do is wait til he can’t hold it any longer.


Oh and I forgot about the best part… When you switch to becoming the driver and your compadre continues putting on his music, pulls out a magazine to read and quickly falls asleep like a baby and wakes up when you’re at the destination saying, “Boy! That went by fast!” … Sigh


If you want updates on just how much hair I’ve pulled out on the drive, or have any good ideas as to how I can pass the time, find me on twitter @NHiltbrand.


Till next time.


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