Most of us have experienced the unique cocktail of giddiness mixed with a titch of nerves upon getting your hands around the steering wheel of your first official motor vehicle. In many cases, the make and model isn’t particularly classy or new; my first set of wheels was handed down to me by my mom.
She gave me an aging mini-van that she used for her cleaning business (complete with heavy-duty top rack and other important van accessories), and I couldn’t be happier! Sure, I had to scrape of the advertising vinyls and got rid of some of the tools and stuff from the back, but to my sixteen year old self, that jalopy was a gold-lined chariot pulled by majestic steeds!
Since you’re not all that skilled at driving and getting around yet, driving around with no destination in particular was an actual thing you would do. I still do aimless joyriding myself, to be honest. It calms and relaxes me, and allows me to be retrospective and see things objectively, free of emotional and temporal pressures. Don’t let your mind drift off too far, though; you still have to keep your eyes on the road.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize your joyriding experience:
First Off: The Essentials
You’re planning to take a joyride, but don’t think this gives you a license to be careless about it. Bring your license or learner’s permit, make sure a copy of your car’s registration is also in the glove compartment, have a spare tire and the right tools in the trunk, determine the amount of fuel and essential auto fluids onboard, and for your sake, buckle up!
Roll the Windows Down
Unless air pollution is an issue where you are driving through, or there’s some kind of crime problem (what’re you driving around dangerous streets for?), it’s good to feel the natural air, see the sights, and hear the sounds that make joyriding a fun thing to do. Just make sure to keep the doors locked; you don’t want unexpected company to enter your vehicle… right?
Easy on the Pedal
The entire experience will be a chaotic blur if you ride your vehicle too hard and speed through the highway with reckless abandon. You’re supposed to be getting the hang of your car, so moderate the speed and acceleration so you won’t get into a fender bender, or worse.
The Right Music is Key
To set the mood, your stereo system must be pumping out the right notes. Don’t go with anything too loud and pulse-pounding; don’t play sad and uber-slow tunes, either. Go with something with a rhythm that matches a relaxed heartbeat, and with positive, non-depressing lyrics. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and “Cruising” by Lewis and Paltrow are a couple of favorites of mine, for obvious reasons.
Bring a Friend or Two
Joyriding can also be a social activity. If you’re not in the mood for solitary introspection, go ahead and bring one or more (don’t pack your car full like a suitcase) friends that are relatively reliable and are generally good company. Good conversation, helping hands to change a flat tires, and the safety in having people that have your back are all benefits of bringing along your buddies for a nice ride.
Happy joyriding, young driver!
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is an avid seaside joyrider, especially when she is riding with her posse of girlfriends, all of them contributors of their blog, Word Baristas.