Thursday, June 21, 2007

 

The Middle Lane Is Key

I did something to day that I was terrified to do. I live in rural Minnesota and while I've driven around St. Cloud and Duluth with very little trouble, I have never driven in the Twin Cities - period (as in not even with another person navigating to tell me where to go). I had a meeting in St. Paul today and had no one available to drive. Hubby, who normally does the driving, was in school, so I was on my own. I wanted to lick this little oversight (and big terror), so I was determined to figure out a route I'd remember. I checked out MapQuest and Google Maps. (A little hint: MapQuest gives more complete directions.) I looked at a road map and I went to MNDOT's website that shows road construction and traffic conditions in Minnesota. It's a cool site, showing up-to-the-minute webcam shots of traffic. I went over the maps and instructions a gazillion times and kept picturing myself doing this successfully. I also pictured myself crashing, being run off the road, and getting lost, but tried to shove these thoughts out of my mind. I did have a brief meltdown/panic attack in anticipation of my upcoming task. I got over it.

When I entered the Twin Cities, I was able to follow my route all the way to my destination with no problems whatsoever. The middle lane was the key. When the highway split into two routes, the middle lane is the one that goes either way, so there's no last minute swerve over lanes to get to the proper exit. It also allowed me to stay out of the way of people merging onto the highway. The other thing I found helpful was to let the traffic swarm. If a big mass of vehicles was coming up behind me, I held my speed steady and let them move right around me. Keeping a proper following distance between me and the vehicle ahead also allowed the swarm to go where it wanted, even if that meant people cutting in quickly. All in all, I got through the experience with only one minor wrong turn, which I quickly recovered from. I am so pleased. And now I'm safely back home. No more terror. Whew!

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