Top Ten Things Not to Do on a Four Hour Car Trip Alone

Top Ten Things not to do.


This list was inspired by my recent four-hour one way trip to Galveston. I had to keep reminding my self to avoid each of these things which I managed to do.

10 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not decide to set up a new playlist on Spotify while driving. If you do, at best you’ll take a wrong turn. At worst, you’ll get pulled over by a small town police officer who thinks you are texting and driving. (Lucky the officer is a Dead Head and let you go after a twice run through of “Keep on Truckin” huh, Dawud?)

9 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not pick up hitchhikers. If you do, at best they will be a traveling preacher. At worst you’ll pick up Tiny the WWF champ who has just jogged for ten miles and tells you he thinks he needs a shower. (What gave you a clue, Daylin? Maybe the steamed up windows or the fact that your air freshener exploded?)

8 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not continue to update the GPS system looking for a shorter route.. If you do, at best you’ll end up at a dead-end street. At worst, after four hours the system will route you to a point where you realize you are one state over from your destination. (Best to keep your hands off the system, Dearborn. Maybe it is time to deal with those trust issues.)

7 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not think you need to pass every car on the road. If you do, at best you get stuck behind a slow-moving truck and pass through a speed trap ten miles under the limit. At worst, you’ll find yourself in the oncoming lane with someone at your side who has the same objective. (Is he actually wearing a death’s-head mask, Β Declan? Maybe you better hit the brake and get back in your lane. I know, tough decision.)

6 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not decide to do e-mails on your phone. If you do, at best you’ll trash the most important. At worst, you will get so engrossed that you miss the road closed sign. (Looks like you are buried in mud, Delany. Hope you have Triple A.)

5 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not try to stay alert with copious amounts of caffeine. If you do, at best there will be plenty of rest areas. At worst you didn’t pay attention to the sign Last Rest Area for 100 MilesΒ andΒ now you are sweating like an overworked racehorse. (Even the descriptor of racehorse brings up increased tension, Delmar. Why is all the land around you flat and lacking vegetation?)

4 If you are alone on a long car trip, do not start singing and using stage gestures along with the show tune on the radio. If you do, at best those going the opposite way won’t call the State Police to report a crazy person behind the wheel. At worst, they will. (You passed the touch nose test, Demitri. Now, let’s see how that straight line walking goes.)

3 If you are alone on a long trip, do not think you are safe going nine miles an hour over the speed limit. If you do, at best you won’t see any police. At worst, you will meet a friendly State Trooper who writes up everyone who is five miles per hour over the limit. (The nice part about being caught in a small town is the folks in jail are very friendly, Derby.)

2 If you are alone on a long trip, do not think you can drive and let your mind wander at the same time. If you do, at best the rumble strips will pop you back to reality. At worst, you’ll have just solved that plot conundrum at the same time you end up in a ditch. (The sad thing is that solution flew out your very broken window when you rolled the car, Deron.)

1 If you are alone on a long trip, or any trip, do not text and drive. If you do, at best there will be no consequences. At worst, you might be in a position to regret your action for the rest of your life, Derry.)



  1. a small town is the folks in jail are very friendly lol
    from the experience or watching the movies?

    1. Just fiction, Ray. I make up most of what you read here. πŸ˜€

      1. I hope it is haha

  2. you have to drive in the village in Indonesia, and it will not be a big deal,

    1. Yes I can imagine. This is Texas and cities are far apart. Thank you for the comment.

  3. ha ha, I enjoyed this!

    1. Thank you AB. πŸ˜€

  4. You should road trip more often, John…these were hilarious! Loved #5! β˜•οΈ

    1. Thank you, Jill. πŸ˜€

  5. You should be a motivational speaker for the DMV!

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, GP. Sounds like a feasible alternative should the writing thing not work out. πŸ˜€

      1. GOOD ONE !!

  6. All great advice, especially #1. I think I’d go crazy alone in a car for four hours. Probably be talking to the GPS by hour three. More than just the usual cursing and questioning why I haven’t thrown it out the window. On the plus side, full control of radio and rest stop choices.

    1. My GPS went haywire and asked me to turn around twice. I just ignored it and all was well. Thanks, Charles.

      1. Mine once tried to get me from Upstate NY to Long Island by going up to Maine. When those things go nuts, they really go nuts.

      2. That sounds like a plot line. Thanks, Charles. Good thing you were knowledgeable about your area.

      3. More or less. It was a straight run I’d taken a long time ago to get to college every semester. Things went awry when we hit a construction detour and even worse when we hit NYC. Nearly ended up in New Jersey.

      4. I left JFK one time heading home in Connecticut and hit a detour. Ended up on 125th in a very scary neighborhood.

      5. Driving into Manhattan is always a nightmare even if you do it on purpose. I’m surprised anybody there has a car.

      6. I know right. I had a kid jump on my hood once. I was parked near a wall and the kid kept off the wall and landed on the car. Big dent.

      7. Never heard of that before.

  7. These are great, John. Fortunately, I tend not to violate these. Unfortunately, I’m on the road with a lot of people who do. At least in New England, you can’t go more than 10 miles without running into a town with a restroom – usually requires that you buy a cup of coffee and start the process all over, but…

    1. This state is huge. I actually saw a “last chance” sign. Thanks, Dan.

      1. The last time I saw one was in eastern Washington, heading up to the North Cascades Highway. I’ve been lost in Texas (a little south of Dallas) and I was never so happy to see a highway in my life.

      2. Then you know you won’t be eaten by a wild hog. πŸ˜€

  8. Gwen Plano · ·

    Great list, especially #1. There are far too many who text and drive, often with disastrous consequences. But, haven’t we all been tempted, especially on empty stretches of a freeway? Thank you for the reminders. πŸ™‚

    1. This is a PSA station after all. LOL. Thanks, Gwen.

  9. I think I fail the singing rule, but thankfully I don’t gesture.

    I love your road trip thoughts.

    1. Yeah, it’s the gestures that do you in. Thanks, Marc.

  10. #2 is my biggest problem. Many of these have crossed my mind while driving over the years. Imagine them in one four hour trip. Smiles. Good stuff, John

    1. Thank you, Audrey.

  11. So much #5 – I’d like to stamp this one on hubby’s forehead.

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Teri.

  12. Yup. I’m a long haul road tripper too. Cities are pretty spread out in the west. When you walk that straight line, maybe you can turn it into an interpretive dance using the show tune.

    1. There you go. Maybe something out of West Side Story. Thanks, Craig.

  13. I’m guilty of #4 – such a ‘Ham’, I ‘Yam’! Great list, good John! β™₯

    1. I can see that, Billy Ray. Thanks.

  14. A 4.5-hour drive on a two-lane road sounds dreadful. But having a sweaty Tiny riding along with you sounds even worse!

    1. The operative word would be fumigate. Thank you, Debbie.

  15. Good list, Mr. John. My biggest challenge would be staying awake… not fun driving that far alone.

    1. I was going to say don’t put your car on cruise control and then hop in the back for a nap. I though it too silly until I read a story of a woman in a motor home who did just that. Now she is suing the manufacturer for not warning her. (Yes the motor home piled up at the first turn.)

      1. Oh, my… that’s taking “moron” to a whole new level!

  16. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    Hope you had a great book fair:) I have to be careful with number 4 especially if certain songs come on…lol. Another great list…and good reminder about picking up passengers.

    1. Thanks, Denise. Yes watch who you pick up.

  17. Great advice for any road trip, John! 9 miles over the speed limit might be acceptable some places, but these small Texas towns need revenue. πŸ™‚

    1. I get that. I like how the speed limit goes from 75 to 35 in 100 feet. You almost slide sideways trying to abide by the law.

      1. Lol! SO true. πŸ™‚

  18. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this great post from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog with the top ten things not to do on a four hour car trip alone

    1. Thank you again. Don

  19. I knew, just knew, when I read about your trip to the book fair that you would have some advice for us. The last is most important, I’d like to have a device that blocks cell phones when my daughter drives.

    1. Yes me too. Texting and driving scares the willies out of me. Thanks, Noelle.

  20. Another very funny Top Ten, John. #4 cracked me up, crazy person whether coming or going. I’d better watch my singing and driving. πŸ™‚ And, thank you for a serious #1.

    1. Yes. There is a national moratorium on singing and driving.

  21. The US is like South Africa, John. You drive really long distances to get anywhere interesting. I really laughed at your list this week.

    1. I’m so glad, Robbie.

  22. Another funny list, John! I enjoyed it. I would add, do not eat chili before a long drive, because at best, you’ll be traveling with your own “fragrance” the entire way or at worst, you won’t make it to the rest stop and have an accident on the road (accident in your pants). πŸ˜‰

    1. Ha ha ha. Also never eat a 7-11 chili dog for the same reason. Thanks, Vashti. πŸ˜€

  23. Great 10 list, John. I loved the sign at the top and the fact Tiny made the air freshener explode. After the comment about the chili, I feel I have to add something, Jack Nicholson, an older man who’s been traveling, says in the movie “The Bucket List”. “…never trust a fart.” πŸ˜€ — Suzanne

    1. Ha haha. Never trust one to deliver just air.

  24. #1 certainly hits home, John. I don’t know why they don’t increase the fine and penalty to a level that many could not afford. It would put a stop to holding a phone while driving for many drivers.
    On a humorous note, I agree with what Vashti says in her comment. Also, make sure you always have clean underwear on before a long drive.

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