I am packing the car in about ten minutes to go on the road in northern California with my pal, Corky Siegel (www.corkysiegel.com) and I got to thinking about the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
I’ll be driving up the 101 because it’s one of my favorite highways and it is also the most direct route. Some folks prefer 5 but for me without the scenery it’s a just twice as long, no matter how long it takes.
I do a lot of driving and there are certain things that I do that make it easy for me to not have to worry about too much stuff other than a safe trip.
First of all, I have adjusted my outside rear view mirrors in a unique and wonderfully comprehensive way.
For the driver’s side rear view, I put my head against the glass and I line up the line of sight of the mirror with the side of the car, so that I’m looking (with my head against the glass) back down the length of the car. For the passenger side rear view, I put my head in the center of the car and adjust that mirror so that it also looks down the length of the car. I adjust the interior rearview to give me the most comprehensive view of what’s behind me.
Now here’s the beauty of the two outside rearview mirrors adjustment. When you are sitting in the driver’s seat and glance at those outside rearviews you will see approaching vehicles. That image will remain in the mirror until you can actually see the approaching vehicle in your peripheral vision.
Since I made this adjustment, I have never had even a close call with approaching vehicles. I can see them the whole time from the rear view mirror to my peripheral vision til they are past me. Perfect and safe. And I use the interior rearview for the rear view directly behind me.
Next, when I am on the road, I use the cruise control. Yes, you can drive as fast as you want, but that requires a lot more energy and attention and stress and I have no interest in arriving at the gig fried and wired and stressed.
So I set the cruise control on three or four miles above the speed limit and this assuages my need to be the bad boy with my need to arrive safely and in the spirit to perform.
Also, I don’t use the cruise control when I am in heavy traffic. You need to have your foot on the gas and to be able to take your foot off the gas in traffic. Cruise control is a little too slow for that. But for the long open drive, there is nothing like cruise control.
And I get to do the entire drive without interacting with the local gendarmes. An activity I avoid whenever I can. Speaking of which, here’s another little tip.
I had a friend in Santa Cruz who was a local policeman and he told me about the police attitude test. That is just what they call how you react to them after they have stopped you. If you are cool, calm and polite things just go much better for you. Rodney King was not cool or calm or polite and look at the mess that created. There were two other guys with him in that speeding car that was trying to out run the police. When the police told them to be still, they did. NOTHING happened to them.
And that’s what we want to have happen to us in that situation. NOTHING.
So the police give you this attitude test and if you are calm and cool and polite, you may not get out of your ticket, but you won’t get the maximum trouble, fines, and/or incarceration that could also show up at one of these stops.
The deal is, if you have to talk to the police, you want it to be brief and civil and as painless as possible. Yelling, saying you didn’t do anything, giving them any kind of lip and you are simply making things harder for yourself.
Remember the attitude test and ask yourself my favorite question, “what do I want to have happen here?”