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I Hate Driving on Highways


I will have to drive on a lot of highways this year for school, and I’m not happy about it. I hate the short entrance ramps, and being squished between two trucks, and having no stop signs to rest at. My ability to read road signs and drive at the same time is very limited.

I did a practice drive for an interview a few weeks ago, with Cricket in the car. I had already done one practice drive and I kind of thought it would be good to practice again, with some distractions. I did not realize that Cricket’s car anxiety had ratcheted up quite so high that she would try to climb behind my neck while I was driving and screech at the top of her lungs. She clearly thinks she can drive better than I can. I’m not sure she’s wrong.


Don’t worry, neither one of us is driving in this picture.


“I would be so good at this.”

I’m overwhelmed by the number of highways that even exist on Long Island: the Northern State, the Southern State, the Meadowbrook, the Long Island Expressway, the Cross Island parkway. There are more highways further out on the island, but I don’t know their names, and hopefully will not be required to drive on them any time in the near future.

The worst, for me, are the exits that are so curvy and loopy that they turn you more than 360 degrees around, and some guy behind me always thinks I should be taking this roller-coaster at high speed. Not gonna happen.

I have to stay very present while I’m driving and make sure not to drift off into thoughts, of any kind, because I have a tendency to lose track of lane lines when I’m distracted. And if I get too comfortable, I’ll forget when I need to shift lanes in order to avoid hidden exits that will take me out to the Hamptons (though, that could be nice).


Cricket loves the beach

Driving has never been my favorite thing in the world. It took me a long time to even attempt highway driving because of the speed and the feeling of being pushed along by peer pressure. I can almost hear the other drivers complaining about me from inside of their cars. What’s with this freak only going the speed limit? I want to get home!

In order to manage my anxiety, I do at least one practice drive (preferably two or three) before I have to drive somewhere new for an appointment, so that at least the anxiety of the drive itself can be reduced, and I don’t have to think too much about which lane to be in, or read too many signs to find my exit. Ideally, every place I ever had to go would have a route by the side streets and never require highway driving, but this has not been the case. And, recently, when I’ve found alternate routes that avoided the highways, I found that street names like to change with each town boundary, and three streets in a single town will decide to have the same name, except that one will be a Road, one will be an Avenue, and one will be a Place, as if that makes all the difference and no one will ever get confused.

I am looking forward to the day when we all learn how to Apparate from one place to another. I don’t care if it’s magic, like Harry Potter, or science, like Star Trek. I’m ready. Cricket might need some convincing.


Cricket prefers to travel by foot.

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

107 responses »

  1. Nice photos of you and Cricket

  2. I understand all of it…the wandering thoughts, the driftingover lanes, the peer pressure, the Road vs Avenue vs Place nonsense, etc.

    Your practice drive strategy is a good one! But maybe Cricket isn’t the best co-pilot? 🙂

  3. Riddhi tours & travels


  4. Riddhi tours & travels

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  5. Cricket sounds like my Maggie. She too has developed a reputation of being an anxious car rider. But she is getting better. Love your blog!

  6. i prefer dog
    walking meditation,
    also 🙂

  7. Unfortunately going too slow on the on ramps can be dangerous too, so bear that in mind. Good luck 🍀

  8. Yes, won’t it be great when we can ‘beam’ up and over to where we all want to be! Good luck with the drives and stay calm! Pip

  9. I lived for years on Long Island, so know exactly what you mean. :))) Plus, I have no sense of direction. Cricket is welcome to come help me drive anytime.

  10. I understand your anxiety. After a year, I am still adapting to my move to LA from sleepy Santa Fe.

  11. Wow, Cricket is a cutie….a great looking Woofie and as anxiety prone as we are about driving.
    Shoko and Kali

    You seem to do everything right as far as I’m concerned. Take your time….ignore the jerks behind….I drive this way and am happy. Our highways are pretty quiet so it’s easy for me to talk. You may see 10 cars in a mile drive.


  12. Totally understand and sympathize. May God bless and direct you on your travels.

  13. We have the same problem with impatient drivers in the UK. When someone’s tailgating, I find it often works to decide I need to clean my windscreen. Squirt and half the water goes on their windscreen. They’re very unlikely to interpret this as deliberate and quite likely to realise they’re too close.

    I didn’t find driving in the US too bad, though that was Georgia/Florida/Tennessee. Driving habits were certainly better than in many countries and the main problems I had were adjusting to an automatic instead of controlling my own gear changes and (off the freeway) the often unhelpful road signs: you come out to a T junction and the sign tells you what road you’ve reached, but not which way goes where.

    I’m sure Long Island is another matter.


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