Road trip. Excitement, adventure, sightseeing.
Ass pain. Leg cramps. Neck cramps. Boredom. Thirst. Hunger. Gotta piss. Too hot. Too cold. Sunburn on your arm.
All of the above. The road-rash truth is that travelling long distances in a car is not only one of the most rewarding ways to get from here to there, it can also one of the least comfortable. Fear not! Wisdoms is here to help you.

How To Ride Long Distances In A Car
being part one of a two-part series on car travel

Being a comfortable passenger in a car requires a certain amount of skill and experience. The first and foremost option in your pleasurable long-distance ride is where to sit.

  • SHOTGUN - The most desirable place, at the right hand of the king, complete with the following responsibilities and privileges:
    1. Keeper of the Map. You are responsible for macro-navigation and must assist in reading road signs.
    2. Tender of the Music. While the choice of tunes is, of course, up to the driver, changing CDs while cruising at 80mph is muy peligroso. Therefore, the shotgun rider's charge is to swap the media, change the station, fiddle with the volume, or peform any other necessary entertainment tweaks.
    3. Chancellor of the Exchequer. Tolls must be paid, and it's very difficult to dig for change and steer simultaneously.
    4. Wielder of the Shotgun. It is extremely unlikely that this will be necessary, and also improbable that your car will come equipped with a shotgun (unless you're outfitted with a gun rack). However, this is the reason your seat has this name, so get some target practice.
  • LEFT REAR SEAT vs. RIGHT REAR SEAT - There is qualitative debate on this matter. Right rear (my personal preference) affords a view of the driver's instrument panel, which can be nice for backseat drivers. Also, if you're right handed your door and window controls are at your dominant hand. Unfortunately, the lucky bastard in the shotgun seat (see above, Captain Forgetful) can at any time recline their seat and eat up most of your leg room.
    Left rear provides no view of cool dials, lights and gauges. Instead, gaze in serene contemplation at the glove compartment, the inspection sticker on the front windshield, or out your own window. Unless you are left handed, your door and window controls will be on your "off" side. The ramifications of this are fairly minimal. On the upside, you can laugh at your right-hand neighbor's lack of leg room. It's fairly rare for a driver to recline his or her seat to any severe degree.
  • BITCH (i.e. the seat between the two proper back seats) - Woe betide ye, ye who are far from the sight of God. Sitting in this lowly place will only be necessary if the other three seats are filled. You have no responsibilities, which is good because you'll be quite busy trying to keep from screaming. In addition to being squeezed from both sides, you are sitting on a hump which does not allow ass relaxation. Also, your legs will most likely be bent upward for the duration, as your feet will be resting on the hump which allows the drive shaft to pass under the rear seats. You will also lack an "oh shit handle" for grabbing during tight turns, so you'll either be falling all over your seatmates a lot or straining to stay upright. The single upside is that you have a view out the front window unparalelled by any other passenger. Cold comfort, I'm sure.

It is left to the travelling company to decide the best way of assigning seats.


TRAVEL LIGHT(ly). This is the first commandment of all travel and must be heeded above and beyond any others. When travelling by car, storage space is extremely dear. Do your best to get everything you need to take into the trunk so as to free up space in the passenger areas.

Bring amusements. Music is a dire necessity; without it you may be forced to converse with your fellow passengers. Remember: the driver picks the tunes. Having something to read is a good idea, unless you're susceptible to motion sickness. Magazines tend to be better than books, as they require less concentration and you can look at the purty pitchers.

Wear layers of clothing. The temperature in a car is highly variable and rarely to everyone's satisfaction. When the sun is lasering you through the back window, you need to be able to take off your heavy wool sweater. So don't be nekkid underneath, unless you're into that kind of thing. Conversely, anticipate chills caused by lowered windows, the shadows of mountains, or the nighttime.

Snacks and drinks. Unless you've got room for a cooler, bring things that you don't mind eating or drinking warm. Water is probably the ideal beverage, as it won't stain or leave a big, sticky mess if spilled.


First of all, become as physically comfortable as possible. Arrange your belongings in an easily-accessible manner to minimize search time. Try to keep your feet-area as clear as you're able; you'll need to move your legs around fairly frequently to avoid cramping.

Once underway you're pretty much at the mercy of the driver in terms of stops. But every stop should be exploited. Get out of the car as often as possible to walk around, jump up and down, or just to let your equilibrium rebalance. Simply being in motion for long periods of time stresses your mind and body, so do whatever you can to minimize that stress. You'll be in a much better mood.

You, too, could fall prey to motion sickness! This scourge takes advantage of winding roads and people innocently reading. If you begin feeling nauseous, the best thing to do is watch the road ahead of you. Drivers do not get motion sickness because they're anticipating the movements of the car; looking out the front windshield will give you the same advantage. Breathe deeply and stay calm. Opening a window for fresh, cool air may help. If you have to hork up, give the driver advance warning so he or she can pull over. A sudden attack of motion sickness may give a back seat rider some negotiating advantage to take shotgun.

If you have the opportunity for a bathroom break, take it. Very little will make you have to pee worse than you already do than seeing a sign which reads "next rest stop 25 miles". Micturating at the edge of the highway is acceptible, depending on your tolerance for visibility. Dropping a deuce on the Interstate is a bad idea.

Sleeping will be difficult. The shotgun rider has a definite advantage here in being able to recline his or her seat. You suckas in the back seat will almost definitely get a crick in your neck unless you prop your head up with wadded-up clothing or a pillow.

Chill out. Remain calm. Your driver doesn't need a bunch of people shouting advice or questions into his or her ear. Remember: the idea that you have somewhere to be is a fallacy, 'cause we're all just headed for the grave.

Enjoy the ride, because, as they say, "getting there is half the fun". It certainly can be if you do it right.


SharQ, being of sound mind, has pointed out the inapplicability of some of the above information to cars in which the driver's side is on the right. Since you're all intelligent individuals, I'll leave the appropriate transposition of advice to you.

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