Road trips are as integral to the American cultural landscape as baseball and childhood obesity. After all, there’s nothing more American than a haphazard journey fueled by freedom and a general lack of planning. You can’t escape the idea of road trips in our culture. Jack Kerouac rambled about his trip for 320 pages in On the Road. Chevy Chase painted a comedic picture of family road trips in National Lampoon’s Vacation. And any given country star owes his or her entire career to the romanticism of being on the road.
There’s no denying road trips do paint a romantic picture. You’re at the wheel, completely in control of your own destiny. Miles upon miles of black pavement unfurl in front of you. The endless sky is the one familiar sight as you drive farther from the comforts of home. Your only company is the radio, your dog, and…the endless stream of other drivers attempting to escape for the weekend, just like you.
Seriously, fuck other drivers. The escapist illusions of road trips are inconveniently shattered every time someone cuts you off without signaling. And the sad truth is that no road trip is free of dipshit drivers. Luckily, you can easily divide all drivers into five groups. I’ve classified the five offending groups below, along with a description of how to cope with each type. Read on to become the most competent road tripper this side of Clark Griswold.
1. Actual Satan
Let’s start with the worst of the worst. You can recognize these people anywhere. Actual Satan drivers weave in and out of traffic with abandon, ride your ass for miles on end, and have actual cobwebs on their blinker.
How to Deal: Just don’t. The best thing you can do is pray karma is on your side and that the police will pull Actual Satan over at some point.
2. Speed Racer
Speed Racer shares Actual Satan’s lack of concern for other drivers, but he at least has the presence of mind to use his blinker. You can find him barreling down the left lane at a speed at least 10 miles per hour higher than the speed limit. This driver is living in a Mad Max world and we’re all just extras.
How to Deal: Cling to the right lane like saran wrap and let these crazies pass. Or, if you’re a troublemaker, speed up when he tries to pass you. I don’t judge, honey.
3. Bad Grandma
In her defense, Bad Grandma doesn’t mean to drive obnoxiously. For all you know, she’s cruising at a leisurely (read: crazy slow) pace so she can arrive safely at the grocery store to buy ingredients to make cookies for her grandchildren. But you can’t deny that Bad Grandma’s snail pace is definitely inhibiting your sense of total freedom.
How to Deal: Hop in the left lane, pass Bad Grandma, and feel a creeping sense of guilt as you see her adorable face.
4. Selfish Trucker
Trucks are the one reminder of the corporate world you’re leaving behind when you’re on a road trip. Truck drivers are usually innocuous, but there’s always that one guy who manages to make the road all about him. This truck driver thinks it’s his God-given right to pass other trucks and monopolize the left lane. Admit it: There’s nothing more infuriating than the passing lane being stopped up by some slow-moving truck mocking you with the Walmart logo.
How to Deal: Nip the Selfish Trucker issue in the bud by passing trucks before they have the chance to get in the left lane. These guys are paid by the mile, right? Then they can wait. Sorry boutcha.
5. Your Best Friend Forever
Okay, so not every driver on this list is a horrible human being. Your road trip BFF is that car that’s been with you since the very beginning. Your road trip BFF knows the sweet spot just above the speed limit, so she’s always just barely ahead of you. Your road trip BFF may be a complete stranger, but to you, she has a name, personality, and life story. It’s always a minor tragedy when she finally exits off the freeway.
How to Deal: Buy her a fruit basket.
There’s a little bit of summer left and a whole lot of road ahead. With these classifications in mind, go ahead and give into the romanticism of road tripping. Feel the wind in your hair, sing like nobody can hear you, and make judgments about other people based on their driving. After all, road tripping is an American pastime, and there’s nothing more American than categorizing people based on snap assumptions. Happy road tripping, mothertruckers!