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  • Sudden change of conditions. Glare ice + hills + small children.

    • Driving in the left lane of a 6 lane highway when my 4 year old in the back seat suddenly started shrieking and screaming . The highway was busy and it it was a challenge making it over several lanes to the side of the road. When I finally made it over and stopped the car, I turned around expecting to see blood or worse. My daughter stopped crying and said “Mommy, I saw a bug!”

      • Driving over Donner Pass right before they closed the road due to extreme snowy conditions

        • I hate driving it on a nice day. Kudos for doing it.

        • Been there, done that. I was the last vehicle through. There was huge semi in front of me and I followed his taillights. If he’d gone off a cliff I’d have followed him.

    • Last summer driving from California to Ohio in a 26 foot RV. Going in had a couple of scary moments but coming home was the worst experience ever! I think I may have had Covid and driving while sick isn’t a good idea. Each day brought more scary moments but the worst were 2 days of strong winds and recommendation for high profile vehicles to stay off the road. My planned 7 days to get home took 12!

    • The ‘camel snow’. November 2020 in Bethlehem PA. Snow over an inch an hour, completely unexpected. Accidents everywhere, bridges closed, plows unable to get to the streets. A 29 minute commute became 5 hours. A camel being transported to a petting zoo was allowed to walk around beside highway. It was all over the internet.

      • I remember that news story!

    • Decades ago…Driving a VW bug through the dark California redwoods on the way to visit my retired parents. No highway lights back then. Winding narrow road. I came up behind a logging truck and visually Velcroed myself to his taillights. I figured he knew the road by heart. He must have noticed me clinging to his truck. When I hit the turn signal to go up a side road to my parents’ house, he honked the air horn a couple of times. I’m 77 and I still remember that scary drive of more than forty years ago. And the stranger who made it less scary. Never underestimate the kindness of big rig drivers. They know the roads better than anyone, and they’ve probably faced more road problems than any of us.

      • I’m with you on big-rigs. This was pre-GPS. We ran into a blocked I-95 “somewhere in Georgia.” I knew Route 17 ran parallel but where? I followed a big-rig off the highway on faith, and he took us down 17 and got us right back on.Amazing!

      • I drove a VW bug on that route in those days. There was a full moon which that created a strobe light effect on the highway but at least I could see.

  • My worst experience was trying to get to work (which was normally a 45 minute drive) during a winter snow storm. Being winter, it was still dark in the morning. It didn’t seem so bad when I headed out of town toward the city, but it quickly became evident this was going to be a slow drive, and that it would be too dangerous to try to turn around. Somehow I made it to a small village en route (which took an hour instead of 15 minutes). I pulled into a restaurant parking lot, prayed in gratitude, and waited for daybreak and the snow ploughs.

    • Snow, ice, whiteout; was the 30 mile Target run really necessary?

  • Driving on the expressways in the Chicagoland area. I spent my adult driving years in small urban areas, but I am now in suburb of Chicago. A simple phrase—“Just get on 294 and head north”—triggers a wave of anxiety. Because I am a mature, intelligent adult and newly retired, I have a set response. “I will find an alternate route.”

    • I am a native Chicagoan. Driving there is frightening. I’m with you on alternate route!

    • This is why my GPS has an option to “avoid highways!”. In my case, its I-5.

  • I drove a 22/24 foot (can’t recall) truck from Vermont to Illinois after college with all my stuff and there was a lot of construction and a tiny bridge. Ahhhhh

    • Two friends and I were touring France in a rented Mercedes, not your typical European size car. The parking area for one hotel was a small courtyard with a narrow entrance. We got in ok, but upon leaving could not get the car rotated to drive forward out, and backing it out was way beyond our skills. After a great deal of vocal support and guidance from the hotel guests, in French, a US military guest on vacation finally backed out the car. We certainly were the entertainment for the day.

    • Driving from Pennsylvania to Ohio on the Turnpike in a blizzard. There was no blizzard when I started, but they were closing the road behind me. I couldn’t see. When I pulled over to scrape ice off the windshield, a trucker stopped and told me to follow him. He was really an angel.

  • What a great column!! One never knows what’s going to be in the next edition of the Insider, lol. And it’s nice to know those pro drivers don’t always slide into tight quarters without having to work at it.

  • Purchasing a RAM cargo van. 7’4″ high without realizing it would not fit under a shared carport at my weekend place. Given other contributing factors, I chose the van. Am selling the condo.

  • Glare ice + a guardrail as a newish driver at college in Vermont. I was okay but the 70s Subaru was injured.

    • All of my stories involve snow, and some have ditches in them. Thankfully no one was ever hurt!

      • Feet of snow and drives home from work back in OH. I never again wanted to deal with lake effect snow, so off to OR in 2014! Best idea ever!!!

    • My husband and I driving home from Nashville to Bowling Green. We are from NY so not afraid of snow. As the snow started he said let’s get going, then as we headed up I65, it became evident that they were not plowing. As it piled up, he said let’s stay in a motel, this is getting bad. I’m hard headed, and said no. Keep going – he was driving long story long – our normal 1hr plus trip took about 4. So much blowing of snow we couldn’t see where the edge of the road ended. 4 hrs later we pulled into our driveway. That’s the last time I gave “advice” like that!

  • Driving on glare ice!

  • Hydroplaning on the multi switch-turn downhill mountain road from Signal Mt into Chattanooga was my heart stop moment.

    • Oh wow, I know that area, however we were down there on a beautiful summer day. Glad you made it.

  • Getting a camper backed into several camping spots over several years without resulting in spousal murder! Distantly followed years later by driving a big U-Haul moving truck myself as the marriage ended.

  • Driving a van for the first time, from Boston Logan airport back to Cambridge after dropping off the family I was dog sitting for, getting badly lost in east Boston as a 19 year old in 1980. No cell phones. No paper map. Still can feel the adrenaline….

  • Parallel parking when learning to drive – yeah I am old enough to remember my first driver’s license test when parallel parking was required to pass it! I passed.

    • I remember my first driving test as well. The officer didn’t believe me when he asked what I would be driving that day. I had a 56 Ford. Sadly I didn’t pass the parking test. My dad set up a spot at his business and I practiced every afternoon. Went back the next week and parked that big ol car in one go.

  • Teaching my son how to drive a stick shift (many skeins of yarn ago)!

    • Parking in NYC!! Living there for 23 years, I am a pro. I can get in and out of teeny tiny spots, no problem!!!

  • The biggest driving challenge has to be parallel parking before all the multiple cameras installed in new cars!

  • I’m a competent parallel parker, but the other day I needed to slip into a cramped space on a busy, unfamiliar Brooklyn street, and I choked. I don’t, however, like to give up, so on my fourth try, I glided into the space like the parallel-parking boss I like to imagine I am. Notably, the drivers behind me and the sidewalk pedestrians neither honked, chortled nor offered sarcastic applause. Victory.

  • Having a deer run out in front of me with absolutely no time to stop. Car and deer both lost the game of chicken

  • A 400 mile drive in the snow from Chicago to Upper Michigan, with my nursing newborn and my 2 yo son— I’m the only adults/driver. Took 10 hours when it should have been 7.5

  • Moving from a mountainous area to a flat area of the state, I seemed to have lost all sense of direction. I quickly realized that for my entire life I’d been surrounded by mountains and had used them, as compass points. Without them, driving anywhere in our new home town without GPS was a challenge.

  • Driving a standard shift car in San Francisco on the hills there.

    • Did you learn to use your emergency brake in a fancy combo with accelerating?

    • Moved to England. Friend of a friend brought me to pick up a rental car then said, “follow me.” First turn out of the lot was into a roundabout (clockwise). Quickly had to get over driving on the opposite side of the road while making sure not to lose sight of him in order to get home

  • Going on a home visit to see an elderly patient who hadn’t shoveled out their yard and couldn’t on their own. I tested out my AWD car in 9 inches of the white stuff and then called a guy.

  • That Time I Rented A Car In Finland. (AKA the automatic transmission I requested was broken, it was 9pm at night, and a random Finn waiting for his ride taught me the basics of stick shift in 10 minutes.) I only stalled once on the way to the timeshare, when I had to turn up a hill. Probably in part because I stayed in second gear the whole way. Thankfully I was going slowly enough that when a moose walked in front of me, he was out of the road before I reached him. This all makes me sound like I handled it well, which I Did Not. There were some smells and noises that were not good, and once we reached our room I vowed Never Again. The guy from the rental company arrived at 3pm the next day with the repaired automatic we’d rented, and we were finally able to go get some food after a very hungry day of granola bars and chocolate.

  • Blizzard of ‘78, Providence, RI. Although there were reports of incoming snow storm, I was a dutiful young professor and stayed at work to hold my office hours. By the time I left work in the early afternoon to drive across town to my apartment, road conditions were terrible and everyone was trying to get somewhere. Cars couldn’t get up hills, intersections were blocked, cars ran out of gas, etc.—gridlock! No cell phones, no real info on radio. After 7 or 8 hours, it was clear—even to Ms. Pollyanna—that I was going nowhere. Left the car under a railroad bridge and walked the last mile or two. It was a week before I could rescue my car, right where I’d left it.

    • Many years ago I bought a stick shift car and had no idea how to drive it! The salesman gave me a crash course and got me off the flat parking lot. On the way home, in town, I had to stop on a small hill. Oh the embarrassment of stalling out repeatedly and having to wave drivers around me

      I went to the public library’s parking lot with a hill and practiced the better part of an hour on that hill. I’ve never had a problem with a straight shift vehicle in the past 44 years

      • I also bought a bright stopper colored Toyota standard with only limited knowledge about driving one. I was a sight trying to get through Ward’s Corner in Norfolk, VA. When I got to work that day (second shift), my supervisor regaled the room with a description of me “bunny-hopping” down the road.

    • A friend and I drove from Boston to Baltimore to get back to college in that Blizzard. After staying mostly ahead of the snow until we got to Maryland, then we followed a snowplow in to get onto campus and park the car.

  • My most challenging driving experience to date was driving in a COMPLETELY TERRIFYING white out through New York State on a two lane highway. At least I think it was two lanes? Who knew?

  • Driving itself is a challenge. Does anyone take Driver’s Ed anymore?

  • I was living in NJ. It was winter. On the top an icy hill, I watched another car slide down and decided to try to turn around and find another way to work. Gravity had other ideas. My car began to slide forward and I slowly did a complete 180 turn ending only when my rear wheels hit the curb. I decided I could stay there until a thaw, but a woman came out of her house and talked me through getting back in the right direction….honestly I would have been happy to remain there until spring!

  • Parallel parking. I never learned how. The driver’s ed teacher had us drive north to the next town so that he could get a copy of the daily newspaper, then return to the school. There were no curbs. I now live outside the next town to the south. It has a curb on Main St., but is always parked full by the townies. That’s fine. If I am somewhere that has curbs, I look for the closest open parking lot. Husband said maybe we can buy a self-parking car someday. I don’t think so. I will be 64 in February & haven’t had to parallel park yet. Living in the country does have its perks.

  • Parallel parking! I’m the worst at it!

  • I ALWAYS love your emails, but this is the most bizarre and wonderful missive ever.
    Thank you.

  • Leaving the airport in a rental car in Sydney, Australia. After a 20+ hour flight (although it seemed like 200 hrs.) driving on the left side of the road was a mental challenge that required reciting every move out loud. “Making a right turn. Cross both lanes and turn in to the LEFT lane, etc.” Looked a little crazy but we got to our hotel unscathed.

  • Teaching both kids how to drive a stick shift…4 years apart!

  • sudden blinding snow blizzard between Denver & Colorado Springs resulting in pile-up; my VW van only suffered minor fender bender & kindness of strangers pulled me out of ditch.
    Fun one is Million Dollar Highway in Colorado

  • I have to drive up and down the M6 motorway regularly to get to work. It’s always a white knuckle ride.

    • Parking— it’s always a parking story! I’m known for asking about any potential place to go—how’s the parking there? Is there plenty of parking and you’re sure there’s no parallel parking?? On a different topic, driving in torrential rain can be terrifying. That’s a driving issue I would rather not repeat. And getting a ticket is embarrassing and also very scary. One time years ago I had my 2 very young sons in the car with me, both in the back in car seats. I was driving distracted, trying to help them (don’t even remember the issue now), and all of the sudden I see those tell-tale flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I was shocked. What had I done?? Turns out I had blown through the school zone near me—-had not even seen the little blinking lights indicating I should slow to 20. I got off light, though. After I inadvertently showed him the wrong insurance card (I had the right one but in my stressed state pulled out the wrong one), the policeman ticketed me for showing him an old insurance card. I had to pay a $7 fine and had to go to the courthouse and show them I had up to date insurance. He could have given me a very stiff fine, so I was so grateful for his creative way of letting me off lightly.

  • Getting my car out of our garage.

    • Ha! I’m with you, Peggy. I admire the people who have written about their experiences driving in snow and ice, and getting used to parallel parking and gear shifting. And I’m glad that they made it through their challenges safely. I would never make it that far.

  • After a snowstorm, my 50 mile commute became quite treacherous. But my little Honda wagon with manual drive was a trooper getting me up and down hills, passing tractor trailers that kept sliding backwards. Finally get home, after the plows had been down the street, just to get stuck on the snow they had mounded in front of my driveway! Maybe the Honda was too tired from the arduous journey, but it just gave up on this final obstacle. No matter the back and forth, just couldn’t pull the rest of the way in and couldn’t back it out into the street. Neighbors came out and we were able to shovel out some of the snow until I could finally pull in the driveway!

    • I inadvertently drove up a walking trail at a hilly church retreat looking for a shrine. Backing down and out was the challenging part since there was no place to turn and there were several very narrow bridges. Turned out fine-just a few scratches on the van fenders and walkers with frazzled nerves.

  • I drove a u-haul through a thunderstorm in Kansas when I was 21. It was terrifying!!!

  • Being the passenger with my older two children while they were learning to drive. White knuckles, foot flooring an imaginary brake and the need for a lie down upon immediate arrival of the destination. Only one more kid to go! (Thoughts and prayers accepted. Ha!)

  • When I was learning to drive a stick-shift, I stalled the car through 3 lights while sitting in the middle of a 5-way intersection. My younger brother was in the car with me, yelling “move’s the whole time.

  • Parking a small school bus full of excited tweens in a TINY NYC parking lot spot!

  • My most challenging driving experience is actually a riding experience. I was sitting next to the driver in a car in London. The driver was weaving in and out of traffic in narrow streets and busy boulevards. It was all I could do not to gasp or grasp the door handles as we seemed to be poised to crash at every turn.

  • Definitely driving the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur!

    • South bound, right. Once is enough. Forever.

    • Yes, totally! Southbound, in the back seat of a VW Bug with three other girls, in 1979, still never.

  • Carr Canyon in Arizona. This is a windy, steep, gravel road with no guard rails or berms. Did I mention steep with shifting gravel and two way traffic on a one and a half lane steep, twisty, mountain road.

  • The most challenging experience of driving behind the wheel was getting from Missoula to Helena Montana on highways with black ice and blinding, blowing snow.

  • Driving on ice!

  • MDK stands out very nicely on the side of the trailer…and, the trailer is super clean! Thanks for being that good neighbour!

  • Dense fog is always a challenge.

  • The most challenging driving experience…OMG…I drove 700 miles with my husband to see the grandkids in NJ. He wanted to go a new way and would not use WAZE or listen to me. I kept my mouth as shut as possible and knit

  • My most challenging driving experience (aside from ATL anytime I drive through there) was driving cross country through a major winter storm at the ripe old age of 19. In addition to being exhausted, driving a Ford Escort holding everything I owned, and my cat Celia, I was thankful for the semi drivers who looked out for me, and the snowplow that I followed through OKC.

  • Learning how to drive a stick shift after 30 years of driving was painful. Loved that car though!

  • Driving through Atlanta, with three children in the car, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, in an ice storm. Harrowing!

  • Blizzard, Wyoming, in a Datsun 210 (now called Nissan Sentra). I worked at a coal mine near Rock Springs, and I-80 was passable at 6am when workers drove in for day shift. By 8am I-80 had been closed, and we had to take the nearby 2-lane hiway to go the 30 mi back to Rock Springs in white-out conditions. 3 hours later everyone was home, but it was a crazy stressful drive.

    • I really enjoyed your description today of getting that rig into your lot, and have added “monback” to my vocabulary list. Am actively looking for opportunities to use it in a sentence or two! ☺️

  • It’s a toss up between winter driving in MN, learning how to parallel park a Grand Caravan on campus streets when I went back to school, and stalling in the middle of a 6 lane intersection when my daughter was learning to drive a stick shift.

  • Yesterday- I would advise never going to the recycling center on a Saturday. Especially if one is re- learning how to drive a sorta jacked up Honda Pilot – I hate that it uses so much gas but…. It’s one of the few vehicles that can make it up my drive plus as my daughter said when she gave it to me”Mom it’s dented on all 4 sides already so it’s perfect for you!”

  • My most challenging driving experience was when my NEW Prius Hybrid wouldn’t start on the open 5th floor of an airport parking garage when I had been away for 10 day and it was 30 degrees out. Long story, short, it took two hours to get someone there to start the car and two very long visits to the Toyota dealership to get things fixed. End of story: all is fixed, car always starts and I am learning to love it!!!!

  • Driving on extremely slippery roads! But I had to pick up by baby from the sitter. I made it, but it was scary.

  • Coming home after an unexpected snowstorm, I had to navigate stopping on the hill to turn into my neighborhood. We were all slow because of the storm, but I still felt lucky not to get rear ended!

  • Have you ever been a tourist driver on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland? Yes? I’ll say no more

    • Yes! My husband did the driving. I totally know what you mean, though!!

  • I’m short – I drove the big 27 ft Penske rental truck from Florida to Virginia with my son, a dog and a cockatoo….. sitting atop two bed pillows to get me so I could see the corners, my dad was a professional trucker and made me go get a CB radio and hook it up for the drive…. hearing the hoots and hollers when my son let the cockatoo out of her crate and she perched on my shoulder till I could get to the next exit…. cooing in my ear and doing a little dance she did when she found herself there was quite entertaining to everyone but me…… My son lived – he was 7 at the time and one of those kid things, was checking on her and ah, mom, she got out…. mad rush to close hand crank windows so she was not sucked out…..

    • I was driving southbound on the Mackinac Bridge in a blinding midnight snow squall in my newly purchased Volkswagen Beetle when I taped the brake and began to spin … was it 180 or 360 or more? I was quite low on gas and quite alone on the bridge. Praying I was headed on the right direction I continued… happy to find I was headed home.

  • New York or Dallas.

    • Driving on a highway in a snowstorm in my MIL’s car – – stepped on the brake ever so lightly and did a complete 360! Everyone was going slow and just gave me a little space to do my pirouette! I was able to continue on my way.

  • Following my sister and BIL thru a snow storm in the Rockies. I lost them, pulled over, and just waited for them to come back and find me. I’d never driven in snow before!

  • Worse ever flooding but was scheduled for day shift at hospital. Disregarded policeman’s warning and made it anyway.

  • White out snow storm. Worst drive ever. Couldn’t see where the road ended and the other lane started on one side or the ditch on the other.

  • Driving in blinding snow at nighttime. My sister and I were driving to Vermont in one car and meeting other’s up at my friend’s house. We gave up and spent the night in a hotel. The next day the sun was out, the roads plowed and the fire was going in the wood burning stove.

  • Cousins trip to the homeland, Croatia and Slovenia. Driving our rental car to Plitvice Lakes National Park in rural Croatia that looks a lot like Appalachia, so the road winds up the mountain side. As we rounded a turn, we came face to face with a large tour bus and were forced to back down (!) to a turn-around. Fortunately my son was with us at the time . . . And we are all still alive.

  • While heading to a former boss’s xmas festivus, the driver’s side windshield wiper flew off and was lost. I had to turn around and make the 30-minute drive home (couldn’t leave my car where it was) during a heavy snow shower, in the dark, with no traffic to follow, driving a standard with no wipers. All I had was a tiny strip at the bottom of the windshield to peer thru, so I could keep an eye on the yellow line that was quickly being covered in snow.

  • Whoa–reading through these is very anxiety-producing! Like many here, my most memorable is probably a long U-Haul truck drive in my youth (Chapel Hill, NC to Chicago). So grateful that I knew how to drive a stick shift. In a city with great public transportation, I have been a non-car owner for many decades now, but keep a membership in ZipCar to occasionally brush up on motoring skills!

  • Oh my! My most challenging driving experience was learning to drive a stick shift as a kid. It was such great fun most days and such terror when stopped at a red light on a hill! Memories….

  • I live in Minnesota, so I have many challenging driving experiences this time of year.

  • Riding with my brother at night when he turned off the car lights and we drove in the dark!

  • Six solid hours of driving in dense fog. “We’ll be out of it soon. It can’t go on forever!”

  • Being in the passenger seat with my 85 yr/old father as he careened around the MANY curves down the mountains into Palm Springs area in his 1972 Cadillac. Again in the passenger seat with my 89 yr/old father in his Jeep Wrangler as he decided take a diagonal turn & cut across 5 lanes of traffic in Palm Springs to get to his favorite restaurant. My 91 yr/old father picking me up at the PS airport, & at the first stop light the Honda SQUEALED to a stop, no working brakes……..

  • Almost being part of one of those massive highway pileups when the road turned to glare ice. Eek!

  • When driving my motorcycle on the highway at 65 miles per hour a car passed me and cut me off. He clearly didn’t see me. Miraculously my bike stayed upright as it turned sideways and I was able to bring it back around to drive off in the right direction. These days I stick to knitting!

  • Our cat was an anxious car rider. After being on vacation, we picked him up from the cat hotel and he pooped in the cat carrier halfway home.

  • Driving home from work in CT in a snowstorm. My wipers got iced over, and I had to stop and clear them. And then there were the hills where I watched a mini van ahead of me slide all the way down. Thankfully, I wasn’t right behind it. I put my car in low gear and made it up (yay for my Subaru!). I did make it home safely.

  • Do we get to drive the truck?

  • Ice. It’s always ice.

    • Agree! I will never forget sliding backwards down an icy hill bordered by trees and ravines on both sides. Never thought I would pray to hit a tree.

  • My most challenging driving experience was driving my youngest daughter home from Blacksburg VA at night through the mountains while the rain was so heavy you couldn’t even see the cars a few feet in front of you…

  • Having the confidence to drive again after having a car accident!

  • Having to park a manual drive car on an incline and trying to get out without rolling back into the car parked behind me

  • Nerve wracking more than challenging- parallel parking while being observed. And the only entertainment in view at the time, so I knew I was being watched.
    When I was parked, and walked past the observer, he said, “You did okay.”
    Clearly surprised at the lack of entertainment.
    He didn’t know that for ten years I lived in an all parallel parking neighborhood…..

  • As a new driver, our family had a VW Bug, stick shift and those things were tanks. Dad taught me in the high school parking lot from the back seat with a six pack of beer back there …. got it down so I could take off and shift through 2nd before the 3rd beer. He was evidently not overly optimistic starting out. I drove it everywhere and the one drive that sticks in my mind was the time the snow storm had us closing the restaurant where I worked early. In the haze of blizzard snow conditions and dusk, what should have been a 10 minute drive up a hill above our town, took and hour and 10 as I drove 5 miles per hour the whole way, dodging multiple other cars headed for the ditches, other cars, houses situated just across a curb, etc…. slow and steady did it but it was a hair-raising multiple uphill turns around blind curves, watching for the sliding cars going past me. Still remember the relief and adrenaline letdown after I pulled in our driveway – my brother had already dug out…. god, bless his sweet soul!

  • Manhattan on Christmas Eve. Never again.

  • Road Construction in Metro Detroit area. Before leaving home, we make sure our journey can avoid it if at all possible!

  • Parallel parking anytime someone is watching.

  • My most challenging experience driving was backing a fully loaded hay trailer into the barn by my own teenage self. At one point I thought the barn was going to come down on me, and worse, that I’d have to tell my dad!

  • It happened 40 years ago when I was still in university and I opted to drive through a whiteout snowstorm. I should have waited until the next day, but I had a date that I refused to miss! I got through successfully, but with the advantage of wisdom that only comes with age, I was extremely lucky!

  • Lately – it is teaching my son to drive. Me personally – driving during a north Texas ice storm. Horrifying on many levels.

  • After being stung by a scorpion, I flew out of the Grand Canyon by helicopter and limped to my car. It was with great pain (in my toe) that I drove to Flagstaff, Arizona to the comfort of a motel.

  • Confession: like an alarming number of Native New Yorkers, I do not have a driver’s license (it’s a challenge).

  • Trying to get a Datsun stick shift going on a steep hill after being stopped at the light near the top of the hill. Did I mention that the clutch was not great? I kept sliding back down the hill into the opposite lane. A driver behind me ended up driving the car up to shoulder for me and even he had a hard time. In my defense I was about 18 and not experienced in driving a stick.

  • Learning to drive a 5 ton truck with wheels as tall as me in the Air Force. I am 5ft 2…lol

  • Leaving VT as a college freshman during winter break, decided to take the Taconic pkwy over my father’s warnings. He was right. Luckily everyone ok.

  • 100% teaching my children how to drive!!!

  • Complete loss of breaks coming up to a red light with lots of cars stopped. At the last minute I steered up the curb onto a snowy sidewalk, which stopped me.
    Hair raising.

  • Driving a company van on a very slushy highway and running out of wiper fluid. Had a very difficult time changing lanes to pull off the road.

  • So… there was the time when the only parking place available was parallel, on a one way street, on the Left. Yes, dear reader, on the Left. In front of a massive beer truck, behind a VWbug, being watched by the dudes who were unloading the beer. As I pulled up to attempt the parking, I saw them gather on the sidewalk, laughing, speculating, and most likely putting money on my chances.
    Remembering my late father’s words, “Line up your steering wheel with the adjacent car, and crank immediately, “ I aligned, reversed and swung my car into that place like a boss.
    The stunned looks from those beer purveyors, as I jauntily stepped out of the car, and walked away, will be a joyful memory forever.

  • Oh my gosh, thinking about challenging driving experiences, there have been a few.more than I expected. Of course a couple treacherous snow storm ones where I probably should have stayed home. I’m going with the one that I didn’t know was challenging until later. I had an old VW Fastback who was acting up. I could fix most things on her but couldn’t get her right. Made the appointment with the mechanic, took the windy back roads there, dropped her off. Went to work. Got a call asking if I took the windy road there. I said yes. They said I was the luckiest person they knew as when they test drove the car, the clutch cable broke as they pulled out of the parking space I should have not been able to drive those roads with the string of a clutch.

  • Driving over Sam’s Pass (the road through the mountains between Asheville NC and Johnson City TN) in January in a storm. I ended up scooching over as close as I could get to the highway divider so at least one side of the car had traction. Anyplace that had been plowed had turned to ice. Thank heavens for Subarus!

  • My first time driving through a tunnel on the PA turnpike…I may have been a little hysterical!!!!

  • When my first child was 4 days old I strapped her safely into her car seat and set out to the grocery store. Within 2 miles she was crying, soon I was crying……we turned around and went home. Groceries can wait when newborns need soothing.

  • Oh so many to chose from! But, I’m going with Hwy1 along the California Coast. The heights, the hairpin turns- noooooooooo thank you. Even the gorgeous views would never allow me drive that highway again.

  • A Christmas Eve a few years ago-in the dark, with the snow coming straight at me

  • Easy – Downtown LA at rush hour!

    • The Chesapeake Bay Bridge! Seems like there’s nothing between you and that deep water is a teeny tiny guard rail

  • My most challenging driving endeavors are parallel parking and backing into a parking spot. The backing in a
    I am getting much better at. The parallel parking,not so much.

  • 🙂 sometimes parking garages are hard.

  • In the UK on a street that was so narrow our mirrors cleared centuries old buildings by an inch on each side. Horses and carts obviously had wayyyy less width. Add to that driving on the “wrong” side of the road!

  • It was in Arkansas after a freezing rain. I started up a hill not knowing I’d encounter ice up the hill. My car began to slide back down the hill. Luckily, I had not gotten too far up, so on the slide down I hit dry pavement fairly soon where I could gain traction again. I’ll mention that this road was up against a rising steep embankment on side, but on the other side, there was an equally steep drop off.

  • Pretty much any day in South Philly

  • Since I live in Michigan we do challenging driving experiences more often than we like to remember. Potholes are the worst. They have ruined many a tire

  • Family trip: driving north from San Francisco to Stinson Beach. VERY twisty windy edge of cliff driving. Fog rolls in. Lots of fog. We get there, immediately turn around because of the fog- but first Mom sees a Japanese family arrive- they don’t speak English, but Mom is undeterred, gesturing wildly to tell them go back! Too foggy! not safe! We all made it back it back to SF in one piece.

  • 3 kids, 2 dogs and a fish, moving by car from Florida to Virginia.

  • Sudden blizzard while driving on Interstate 90 in the Berkshires at night. Very frightening! Thank goodness for a slow-moving truck ahead of me so I could drive by the light of the dim taillights!

  • Driving up the Mt. Washington Auto Road (NH), with a friend’s 8 year old daughter, hoping to bring her back safe. Vowed I’d never do that drive again, but I did with my own daughter.

  • Most challenging driving? On St Thomas in the Caribbean where we lived for 5 years. Not just the terrible roads with no curbs and, let’s call them “condition issues”…but also the fact that you drive on the wrong side of the road in an American type car with the steering on the left. So your shoulder is quite literally on the shoulder of the road (if there even is one). Steep hills, narrow lanes, absent lane striping, iguanas…not for the faint of heart.

  • Driving up Pike’s Peak in Colorado! Hands down the scariest thing ever!!

  • My most challenging driving situation was hitting a deer driving my daughter to crew practice at 4:30am. I swear it appeared from thin air!

  • Many years ago on vacation in Maui, I was the door handle clutching passenger while my husband drove the long, winding, and treacherous Road to Hana. At that time, rental cars were forbidden to drive there, but, hey, my husband grew up there and had made the drive many times in his teenage and young adult years with a very likely group of motley friends. The views and the thrill of the adventure were memorable, along with the gut wrenching feeling that we might be the “lost tourists” that didn’t return to their hotel room that night.

  • We rented a cottage near cold spring NY one year. It had a very steep driveway and was essentially in a gulley. Our friends could not get their car out without either a 300 point turn without sliding directly in to the house. Very challenging. Strangely, my father, who was maybe not the worlds best driver figured out the angles and got them out.

  • Prairie Home – monback!

  • Driving the hills in San Francisco in a stick shift VW Beetle!

  • Learning to drive a stick shift on the hills of downtown Marquette, Michigan in the winter!

  • Driving from Des Moines to Lake Superior with howling cat and whining dog.

  • “My”/our most challenging driving experience was an attempt to find some restaurant in Turkey that Lonely Planet said was very good. After getting halfway up a mountain with only residential housing we decided to turn back. Well, finding a place to do that on a one lane road was difficult so we turned into a driveway and attempted a multi point turn. When the front tires starting going off the slope, and I was tasked with doing the backing up while everyone else pushed to get us back…. let’s just say I now have PTSD when driving on narrow roads in the mountains. We managed the turns and were very grateful we had insurance on the car since there were significant bumps on the rental after that experience.

  • The $1200 catfish wrap. One evening after attending a work event, I decided to eat at a local BBQ place where their catfish in a wrap was delicious. After picking it up, I backed up –big clunk!! I hit a telephone pole which was hidden by the blind spot — a $1200 repair to the door. That catfish wrap didn’t taste as good after that!

  • Way (way) back in my twenties a friend and I had a boarding stable for horses. I would borrow a grain truck to go to a nearby saw mill to get wood shavings for bedding. The first time I did this I backed the truck into the barn and all the way down the aisle to the far end of the barn. I tilted the hydraulic lift and dumped the shavings. To make room for the ever growing pile I inched the truck forward a few times. What I didn’t notice was the support beam across the top of the barn. Luckily I didn’t hit it, but I now I needed to back up so that I could lower the bed without taking out the support beam. Unfortunately the huge pile of shavings prevented any backward movement. I now had a ginormous grain truck stuck in the barn aisle. Hmmm. How can I get out of this? The only thing to do was to move the mountain of shavings-wheelbarrow full by wheelbarrow full, hour by hour until the truck could be backed up enough to lower the bed.

  • Driving home in blizzard like conditions after dark in Western Kentucky was my worst driving experience. I knew if I stopped I would be stuck there for a couple of days.

  • Driving with my car sick .

  • driving my truck in a parking garage in ann arbor. about 1” from hitting the light fixtures!

  • My worst Driving experience was learning to drive a manual shift car. My teacher was my husband who was in pain from a collarbone fracture. Needless to say he was not the most patient of teachers. But, I learned!

  • hydroplaning downhill needing to make right turn in pickup truck pulling horse trailer with my friend’s teenage daughter and my toddler riding along

  • When I was 16, my little brother and I were visiting my Dad one weekend when a huge snow storm hit so bad that the local schools and businesses where Dad lived were closed for the whole upcoming week. My dad is a surgeon so the hospital sent Jeeps around to pick up the doctors to stay the week at the hospital. My little brother and I cross country skied over to the hospital to surprise Dad with a visit.
    A couple days later, we decided we better try to drive back to Mom’s 90 miles away because our school is near a big city and they will probably have the roads opened up. Forty miles later we finally make it to the big highway, my brother and I started singing Looks Like We Made It, but only one lane had been plowed and was covered again in snow and ice and eerily there was still very little traffic for that highway. Further along, my car was sliding sideways across another patch of ice as it had done many times on that trip but this time it didn’t respond to my skillful knack of getting it back into the sweet spot of the lane and the car continued up over the harder snow the plow packed along the sides, then gently rolled upside, settling on its roof deep in the snow. We couldn’t see out and the snow prevented the driver side door from opening at all while the passenger side could be opened a slight amount. My little brother and I were fine but suspended upside down by our seatbelts. Our emergency blankets and shovels were laying on the roof of the car along with many many tubes of WindsorNewton watercolors from my paint set. Someone arrived outside our car immediately to help. The snow was so deep we couldn’t see each other but I could hear their footsteps crunch in the snow as they ran to both sides yelling to us. Two of every emergency car showed up: two police cars, two ambulances, and two fire trucks. The local news also filmed us. Lots of commotion for a 16 y.o. The news featured the video that evening. We were driving my older bother’s car who was away at college so he learned about the accident as his friends started coming over to his dorm, telling him they saw his car on the news. Decades later my little brother and I will look at each other and start sing Looks Like We Made It.

    • This is a GREAT story. So glad you made it!!!

  • I was17 years old and a new driver. Driving with my dad in his precious 1969 Mustang, stick shift, up a hilly gravel road with a stop sign at the top. I couldn’t clutch and get traction on the slippery slope. I gave up, put on the parking brake and got out and let dad drive. I drove manual transmission for several decade after that and still would if I could.

  • We were stuck in traffic in the GA mountains. A tornado had just come through ahead of where we were stuck & flipped some vehicles. Fortunately, no one was badly hurt.

  • Trying to find where to return my rental car at the Phoenix airport, after spending days hiking Grand Canyon. This was long before the days of onboard GPS, although we did hike with GPS.

  • A few years ago, I was on my way home from my office in Nashville. I lived south of Music City at that time so I spent a fair amount of time on the interstate.
    This particular afternoon, I was cruising along in the left lane, likely thinking about whatever knitting project I had waiting at home, when the pickup truck and open trailer ahead of me caught my attention. There was an entire fiberglass bathtub and surround sitting upright on the trailer, but it was not in a box. Definitely not aerodynamically sound, but to each his own. Then I noticed it was sliding around. Not a lot – just a shimmy now and then. Surely they had this behemoth strapped down, right???
    Then, suddenly, the bathtub was no longer doing a shimmy – it was actually achieving lift off. I hit the brakes to put some distance between me and the bathtub that was floating and bouncing on its trailer.
    I really wanted to slam on the brakes and swerve, but I was hemmed in by a pair of dump trucks, one to my right and one behind me. I didn’t want to get hit by a bathtub, but I also didn’t want to get flattened by a dump truck.
    And then, it happened.

    The bathtub and surround achieved enough lift to clear the back of the trailer and was flying!

    Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The bathtub dropped down onto the roadway and started sliding toward me, completely upright. I slowed down even more but still couldn’t move over. I had a time to think about how I was going to explain to my insurance company and my husband that I was involved in a hit and run on 840 involving a bathtub.

    Right about the time that I was bracing for impact, the bathtub just casually slid onto the shoulder and into the ditch. The pickup truck and trailer never even hit their brakes.

  • I had to rent a car and drive. cross country after Christmas when Southwest Airlines crashed. The whole experience, including finding a rental car, and driving by myself, was traumatic!

  • Driving to North Carolina from Alabama in winter a few years ago . It was sleet and fog the whole way up . And ice mixed with snow flurries the entire way home. Not a fun trip .

  • Driving to my aunts with my dad. Should’ve been easy as my good friend who I visited nearly every week was her neighbour, but my dads panicking over road conditions (pot holes) was so bad I ended up pulling over and making him drive. We were late.

  • Anxious to go for a hike, one fine early spring morning, we drove our car down one of this island’s dirt roads to get to a trailhead. All of a sudden, the road collapsed under us and the car sank up to its front bumper! We scrambled through the woods to gather branches and sticks in an effort to make a surface the car could back up onto. The road was so narrow that there was no way to turn, so we had to heave rocks, sticks and anything we could find into the soupy mess so we could go forward enough to a place wide enough to turn around. And then, of course, we had to go right back over that unstable roadway in order to get out. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it, but somehow, eventually we did. When I related our adventure at knit night, I was informed that we had made an up close and extremely in-person acquaintance with a frost boil. Once was definitely more than enough!

  • I75 through the Smokies in a rainstorm! Semis thundering by while I could hardly

  • Black ice.

  • Going back and forth between driving on the right and on the left when I visit my family in Ireland.

  • Last winter I drove my electric MINI on snow packed streets. I slid through an intersection and ended up in the turning lane going the wrong way. By sheer force of my NASCAR driving skills my car made it through unscathed. My nerves not so much.

  • 2 miles from my home, a deer sprang out of thicket onto the hood of my SUV – the stunned deer got up from the road & ran into the woods. Shaken I drove home for last time in that SUV – under the hood, all parts had been totaled.

  • This has to be one of my favorite MDK sharing sessions!

    My story deals with a D-9 bulldozer that was required to retrieve my wedding cake from the family ranch when the roads were impassable and the wedding reception was moved to the small church in town…. Complete with incredible church ladies that defrosted their best and were the perfect hosts, I loved Douglas, Wyoming in the blizzard of 1979. AND, we just celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary! The said wedding cake stood diagonally until the cutting – better known as the smashing of cake into the face of your new spouse. Ah…. memories!

  • We full timed in an RV for 3 years. The RV was 31 ft and we towed a small pickup truck. Driving up mountains at a snail’s pace and screaming downhills, being mindful of the elevation of bridges and tunnels and small radius turns with parked cars were challenging. We had many ‘Keystone Cops’ moments, jumping out of the RV, unhitching the truck, each of us manning a different vehicle and untangling ourselves from gnarly situations. I can relate to your NASCAR semi!

  • Oh wow – I would have been covering my eyes instead of watching that play out!
    As for my most challenging driving experience – when I was just a new driver (and didn’t know any better…obviously) I drove over an hour to work in a glare ice storm. Had the presence of mind to leave early though. When I got to work my boss met me at the door and reamed me out for even making the attempt. He had called to tell me not to chance it but I had already left. It was interesting to see cars losing control and heading for the ditches but God must have been with me that day because I made it safely. Young and stupid, what can I say!

  • Learning to drive in Japan. (They drive on the left side of the road). I even put some big scratches on my husband’s new boss’s car. Not good, but confessed and was forgiven.

  • Driving my Dad’s huge Oldsmobile through NJ/NY traffic at night after my cousin’s wedding. He no longer was comfortable driving at night and I had the crazy thought that there wouldn’t be much traffic at 11pm. What a long, scary ride that was!

  • Hands down is driving on I294 to Chicago burbs.It is crazy! People drive as if on the autobahn. Add a lot of construction-mess! Good luck if you try to observe speed limits. Need a dark roast coffee when I reach my destination.

  • Anything involving parallel parking is my biggest challenge, so I avoid it any time I can. But the Woolery used to be located on a street with only parallel parking options (their new location has a nice big parking lot!), and I feel like I spent about 30 minutes trying to park there one day!

  • Driving on the freeways of Los Angeles when I took the kiddo to visit some west coast colleges. I’m not fond of city freeways anywhere, but those were by far the most intimidating I’ve ever encountered. Felt like 100 lanes, everyone driving 90, and everyone honking. Ugh. I was so glad kiddo chose an east coast school!!

  • A winter storm, the office shut down early. My commute was from Perth Amboy to Rockaway NJ, usually a one-hour trip. Traffic crawled, my driver’s side wiper was frozen and useless so I tried to see out if the passenger side of the windshield. And, in 1977 of course no cell phone to let anyone know how I was. At the bottom of my parent’s driveway my battery died, not in the middle of Rt 87!!!! The 4 hour trip used more energy in heating, windshield wiper motor and lights than the alternator could replenish because I had to drive so slowly. Thank God it was a Friday and I was young (25) and just bumbling through whatever blizzards came up.

  • Towing our Airstream up our curving, hilly driveway-backwards!

  • A passenger, but nerve racking nonetheless – I was going to school in downtown ATL for my masters degree (28 years ago!). A friend and I were leaving a late night pharmacology class, and got turned around coming out of the parking deck. We ended up in an unsavory part of town. We were stopped at red light – this was before everyone having cell phones and nav systems – trying to figure out where we were, and all of a sudden there was a crash on the roof above my head. We were twisting around trying to see what happened, and I saw 3 young men carrying bats running down the sidewalk towards us. My friend floored it, ran the red light and finally made it out of downtown. And luckily, the school started a new fangled learning – they offered “distance learning” – new for the mid 90s! – and we switched to o watching the classes from a nearby high school!

  • How fun, a celebrity tractor trailer lol, I can’t imagine maneuvering a huge truck like that! My most harrowing driving experience was on a highway overpass with patches of ice.

  • Being cut off by a car that was in a hurry. The conditions were icy. It did not end well for the car.

  • Learning to drive a stick shift when I was young, taking the wrong exit off a highway and ending up at a red light on a steep hill, in Toronto, when a car pulled up close behind me!

  • Growing up and living in Montana for many years, I think I had all the experiences list below with the exception of the nursing newborn. Too many to remember.

  • Riding shotgun for 9 hours 5 weeks post op total knee replacement. I couldn’t get comfortable and even stopping every 90 minutes to walk and stretch was tough. That night was the worst sleep I’ve had. So painful.

  • When I worked second shift as a lab technologist in the snowbelt of Northwestern Pennsylvania, I had a few challenging drives home at 11:30 at night in blinding, drifting snow on backcountry roads, not knowing exactly how close I was to ditches on the side of those roads, all the while watching for deer!

  • Growing up in Iowa we had ice storms. Driving home from school in an ice storm in our hilly town was a challenge. One day I couldn’t stop for the stop sign coming down the hill. I slid right through the intersection and past my parents who were coming up the other side!

  • Driving my VW bug in S.F. Specifically, stopping at a sign on a Very Steep Hill and negotiating the clutch, gas and brake pedals each time it was my turn to move forward on the busy street. Stress was caused by how easy it was to roll backwards instead. Happy to report no physical damage was done. I did get a finger-wagging by a police officer after my final ‘stop’ was more more a ‘gentle touch and roll on through’. haha

  • We have a fifth wheel that can prove challenging. I’m usually the passenger or the guy in the back doing the guiding. Our garaging space is the worst because it is such a narrow space. As far as me actually driving, its ice and chunky snow. I hate it. I feel like I have no control, even if I really do. Spring doesn’t come soon enough for me.

  • I had to get my UK driver’s license in at age 54 and had to do it in a standard transmission car. This meant as a right handed person I had to shift with my non dominant hand as well as drive on the left. BTW I was quite proud to pass the test on the first go but it was a real challenge.

  • I used to commute to Cambridge MA (143 mi RT) multiple times per week. One semester I only had to go in on Wednesday evenings – yay! That was the Winter we had a heavy snowstorm Every Single Wednesday for 6 weeks running. After six, I stopped counting.

  • Riding with my Mother who is 83, & has cataracts…drinking adult beverages afterwards sure to commence!

  • We used to see it all on frequent trips on I95 between NC and MD. Two of the best: an [injury free] accident involving a reefer that split open and spilled its load of Boars Head: ham and turkey heaven for two miles: oh, the waste!!! Then: a shiny rig proudly emblazoned with [Somebody’s] Professional Driving School: lying on its side half off the shoulder. I95 was truly the ‘expert course’ – it wasn’t at all unusual to see a tire – just a mounted tire – rolling down the middle of the lane all by itself.

  • My share of driving from MI to SC across mountain pass, thunderstorm rain, surrounded on all sides by semis. Both hands on the wheel, couldn’t see around or over the trucks, just keep with the traffic. We survived….

  • Most challenging driving experience was when I was driving on the highway and I wanted to pass a truck and he didn’t see me and started coming into my lane and I couldn’t go anywhere so I ended up in the median strip very harrowing and lots of cursing

  • Driving from Virginia to NJ for a family gatherings, on I 95 in a horrible rainstorm. The rain started about 15 minutes into the trip. Traffic crawled and it was almost impossible to see, but that wasn’t the worst part. We have a car rule, the driver chooses the music. My dear husband brought a CD of Gene Autry singing Christmas carols (I don’t know where he got it and why he brought it) and insisted we play it. It was the middle of AUGUST! The trip should have taken 3 hours, it took 5 and felt like a week.

  • Parallel parking a rental car, on a hill, with a clutch, from the opposite side of the car, on the opposite side of the road in Bath, England. That was day one with the rental and the hill won. By the end of the trip I was pretty good at it, acing a similar parking challenge on the Royal Mile in Scotland.

  • Icy roads that spun my Explorer around completely! Scared the sh*t out of me. Also, I suck at parallel parking.

  • I have driven Denver to Nashville without an overnight stay. Three times. Never again.

  • Black ice driving south on I-5 by Samish Way (in Whatcom County, Washington) on a foggy morning in February of 2002. I was absolutely white knuckled!

  • Driving home through a summer thunderstorm storm with straight line, tornado-strength winds was the worst. Creeping along in the left lane and driving over the very top limbs of a giant tree that was blown down across a my half of a 6 lane (three and three with an island in the middle) road was the highlight-or should I say lowlight. It was raining so hard, I didn’t see it until I was just about upon it. Ironically, I live in the upper midwest and have always had worse experiences in the rain than in the snow. My second worse experience was leaving home and in about 5 minutes, realizing that the underpasses were flooded; from that point, I turned around and it to me 40 minutes to get back home, wending my way through the streets that were not yet flooded. More than 6 inches of rain fell in parts of MetroDetroit that day.

  • My most challenging driving experience was getting out of the mall parking lot after a HUGE snowfall. When we finally got the ok to close early we had to dig out our cars only to realize we couldn’t move. A friendly plow guy came to our rescue: he pushed the biggest if our vehicles out to the roadway with the rest of us trailing behind. The only upside was that there was barely any traffic on the way home. Lol! ❄️❄️❄️

  • Definitely Spring 1967 when I had my Student Driver permit. My Dad told me to turn right at the light and I suddenly realized I was heading onto the southbound 405 freeway in Los Angeles.

  • Driving 504 miles in a blizzard with three teenage boys (none of them had a driver’s license) on the way back from their ski races in Presque Isle, Maine. In a blizzard. We compare all long road trips to that one. So far, nothing compares.

  • I volunteer at a local animal shelter, where much of my time is spent transporting dogs and cats across town (or across the state or several states) in a van. This is the only driving I do, as I haven’t owned a car since 1985. The animals are generally quiet during these drives, but sometimes they are quite vocal. The trick is to find the perfect song on the radio to keep them quiet – there are some universal favorites, such as “Happy” by Pharrell, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, pretty much anything by Tom Petty. The barking/screaming ceases when these songs play and returns when they end. Driving through highway traffic with a noisy crew is quite a challenge, as are the impatient and inconsiderate drivers who cut me off without regard to the many precious animals I bring – our vans are clearly marked.

  • OMG “road” up to tippy top of the Rockies in CO, with my anxiety ridden sister squealing the whole way up….

  • Driving home from Denver to the east coast at night last week, we encountered a sudden snow squall. The road iced up immediately and a pickup truck slid across 2 lanes in front of us and off the road. It was followed by at least 3 other cars on the same trajectory. My husband did a heroic job of getting us safely to the next exit where we were thankfully able to find a motel to spend the night. Yikes! We won’t soon forget that trip!

  • Trying to drive up any hill in southern New England, in an underpowered 4 cylinder vehicle, in the snow
    So many terrible choices for driving in snow

  • Buckling grandkids into their carseats before driving.

  • I learned to drive stick shift on my college boyfriend’s old truck with no power steering. Getting it in and out of parking spaces in the student garage on campus was an exercise in patience and a real arm workout.

  • I lived in southern California for a few years, and driving in heavy rain there was always stressful – the roads get slick, and many other drivers just forget/don’t know how to drive in bad weather. I swear it was worse than driving in a Midwestern snow storm!

  • The TEENIEST bit of ice in Washington, D.C., and a NINE-HOUR commute to make the five miles home. Nine.Hours. My Midwestern soul despaired, as did my bladder.

  • La Plata Canyon, Durango Colorado

  • Driving over Hardknott Pass in England’s Lake District in the 1980s. Drove hours out of my way to avoid going back over.

  • The Rocky Mountains! Driving the mountains can be bad enough, but then you throw in the fantastic views that you try not to look at while you are behind the wheel.

  • Many years ago, going to the Pennsylvania Turnpike through Maryland. Nighttime, pouring rain, and lotsa fog, and many trucks coming the other way, throwing extra buckets of rain at the windshield! Couldn’t see lane markers at all. Followed an 18-wheeler closely all the way; where he went, I was going! It all worked out, thank God!

  • Driving from Chicago to Madison WI in my mom’s Buick LeSabre (of blessed memory) to unite my nephew with his parents and brand-new baby brother. THROUGH A BLIZZARD. I later learned that in one of the many cars we passed that had skidded off the road was a friend who was headed there for a conference.

  • Our first car as a married couple was a stick-shift and I had to learn how to drive it in one evening. I had a job interview the next day and only moved from Buffalo to FL two weeks prior so didn’t even know the area. My husband very patiently taught me while I cried and hated everything. Got the job!

  • Putting up with all of my husband’s parking instructions….

  • driving in setting sun glare

  • getting home from work after a sudden snowstorm, cars unable to get up a hill just sitting on the road

  • Tiny European car called an Opal in a small cobblestone street village rounding blind corners using a paper map

  • driving on black ice in Massachusetts

  • Night driving across the Texas panhandle in whiteout conditions.

  • Parallel parking. I always get flustered.

  • Driving 70 mph on the interstate, in the dark, and suddenly realizing it was sheer ice and not dry pavement. Didn’t end well for the car.

  • Winter in Minnesota is Continuous driving experience. Rain, sleet, inches of snow, that was this week

  • Driving an old Corolla up a mountain in NW California, a steep dirt road with gigantic potholes, sharp drop-off below the road. The only way to drive was by keeping speed and momentum going; slow and cautious would have halted us. Scary, but we made it to our trailhead. The trip back down was much easier.

  • A narrow Lake Arrowhead road in an unexpected winter snow storm in a van with no snow tires or chains, my two blissfully ignorant young daughters in the car, and needing to make a full 180-degree turn to get down below snow level. Not go over the cliff at the edge of the road. Not convey my terror to my kids. Not wet my pants. After a maybe 20-point turn, we were heading downhill, and had a flat tire. Before I had time to do more than turn on my emergency lights, an off-duty highway patrol officer stopped, changed that tire more quickly than I thought possible, and let me sob in his huge embrace for a minute before I climbed back in and took my girls and me home. I learned never to take a drive – anywhere – for granted!

  • Driving down the Moki Dugway (a gravel road down the side of a cliff) in southern Utah, in a sudden blinding snowstorm after a rainstorm! Going any other route would have meant backtracking for 40 miles and added about 200 miles to the trip! But next time I’ll turn around

  • We have a travel trailer and I learned to pull it and I’ve learned how to back it into a camping spot. Not easy but I’m glad I can share the load with my sweetheart.

  • 6 years fighting LA traffic

  • In 1992, I drove straight into an unexpected blizzard on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. When I left Greensburg, it was snowing gently. I had no idea that before I reached Somerset, the snow and wind would be intense enough to make me unsure if I was even still on a road surface. I pulled over (I was pretty sure, but who knew where the shoulder was?) and put on my four-ways to wait it out. A few minutes later a salt truck passed by, going about 20 miles an hour, and I decided it was my best bet for getting out of this mess. I pulled in behind him and followed him to the nearest rest area, where I may have had a quiet weep of relief.

  • My most difficult driving came when my left arm was in a cast from wrist to elbow and I had to drive a stick shift car to get to my Mother who had just hurt herself. No uber nor taxis back in the 70’s.

  • Rain, rain, rain, slippery roads.

  • I once single hand idly changed a tire in the school drop off/pick up line while wearing white wool pants…… and didn’t get the pants dirty. #claimtofame
    And “monback” is my new word for the day. Looking for a way to use it.

  • Driving back from Houston to Austin after an ice storm on I-10 nearly 50 years ago.. All the roads looked pretty good until, I came to a bridge that still had ice and the car began to fishtail….All was OK, but I worried as I neared the end of the bridge, where there was a 20-foot drop-off, but no bridge railing.

  • Driving through snow falling so heavy that we had to open the passenger door to see the snow poles marking the road!

  • My junior year of college, I moved to a different dorm on campus. This dorm had great parking in front, but you had to back all the way out. There was no turning around – straight backwards. And these were the days of zero backup cameras. My first week or so were a little stressful, but thankfully I was young and determined. Backing up is no big thing now!

  • Years ago, I went to a coworker’s bridal shower at another coworker’s house in the country. I was anxious to get home and instead of waiting my turn to turn around at the head of the driveway, I decided to try to back down their extremely long driveway and ended up in the ditch. The teenage son of the family had to pull me out with a tractor. Very embarrassing.

  • Always driving in winter storms. Happy to be retired now and able to stay home.

  • One of my first jobs was on a dairy farm, and cleaning the barn with a rear mounted blade, and blading all the manure into a small pit in a corner was a challenge. Even harder was backing the trailer into the smallish back door and manoeuvring it with its load to wherever it needed to go. Good training! My boss was very patient and left me alone to figure it out

  • Driving through Iowa in an ice storm, everyone going 45mph on the interstate, knowing if one of us spun out we’d take the rest with us….

  • Learning to drive a stick in San Francisco

  • At the moment all bridges and many ramps amp up my anxiety level to the point I have to pull over. Reminiscent of that time I had to invoke the bridge police (who knew there was such a thing) to get over that bridge from NJ to Delaware. That was fun…

  • I’m a corvette groupie and my most challenging experience was going past a highway patrol parked officer (eating a donut?) at 85+ miles per hour, in a 55 zone, in my 2000 vette. The officer didn’t even look up, while I was sure for the 1st time in my life I was getting a ticket (which I deserved). No ticket but I did slow down slightly. I’m sure my boyfriend in his car would have gotten a laugh

  • Driving a shift car in San Francisco! Actually the driving wasn’t so bad but parking on a steep hill by my sisters house in North Beach was and my son g he ad to do it!

  • During massive rains a few years ago the only way to go was over a mud/rock covered road. We slid towards the edge, but I kept feet away from pedals, held steady, allowed the truck to take us home.

  • I had several terrifying drives home from work in our hilly area on ice. No one could stop or turn on one trip. Everyone kept a steady distance from each other until we got into a drier area – about 3 miles.But the worst might have been the night I was caught in a total whiteout on a narrow 2 lane road with ditches on the side and my 2 elementary age kids in the car. There was no place to pull over and wait out the squall – I had no choice but to have each of the kids take a side, open their window and watch out for mailboxes while I steered and hoped I was still on the road.

  • Dense fog, winding country roads and massively tensed shoulders!

  • driving in the snow with three children under four gleefully screaming as we slid up and down the hill.

  • 15 years of backing down a very narrow, multi-angled (not curving) driveway while trying not to hit the light pole, house, or carport. I thought it would get easier.

  • Lots going on there!

  • Ha! This is easy. I moved to the US in my 20s after driving myself around in India. Driving on the other side is HARD, people. I nearly gave my poor hubs a heart attack trying to turn left into traffic.

  • Traveling with my husband!

  • What a fun story!
    We lived in the Sierra Nevada Mtns for many years & there have been several heart-stopping auto experiences, but the absolute worst I’ve experienced is driving from NorCal to the Central Valley on the 99 and having tule fog appear. It’s so dense that visibility reduces to just a few inches; is the major cause of weather-related accidents; & what I think of when read about “pea soup” fog in 19the century London. I hit tule fog about 2 hours into what should have been a 5 hour, early morning drive. (Took 8.) Was on a stretch of the 99 with no nearby exits. Slowed down to 5 mph & said a silent prayer. After nearly 2 hours of this, the fog lifted for a few seconds. Saw, with shock, that the car’s front bumper was several inches under the rear bumper of a huge semi and that there was another semi just inches from my own rear bumper. Fortunately, GPS indicated that the next exit was only a few hundred yards away.

  • My dad tried teaching me to drive a standard, and I couldn’t move the seat up close enough for my feet to get the clutch all the way down, unless I perched on the edge of the seat. We were in a bumpy pasture, and when we went over a bump, I kept sliding off the seat.

  • my most challenging driving experience – i have to laugh about that. I do NOT drive! a life without a car! yes, it is possible!

  • Teaching my kids how to drive, and then trusting on their very first solo drive after getting their license that they’ll return safe and sound.

  • I am from sea level, My sea level born and raised father and I drove from NYC to Albuquerque, stopping at relatives in Utah and Co. We were having so much fun together. This was the first long road-trip we’d shared. But as we got to the mountain west, the altitude was making us both sick and dizzy. My dad started having nose bleeds. This continued throughout his week-long stay in New Mexico. At the end he said, “I’m sorry Darlin’, but I won’t be back.” Broke my heart. He never did come back. I would go visit him. I’ve now been here for 23 years. I’ve adjusted.

  • ICE! living in Maine we are all well vesed in snow driving, but ice is another story altogether. it takes patience and courtesy to other drivers, and even then it is challenging. Most employers are mindful about this and encourage employees to bring home their laptops so we kcan work from home. But obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, especially manufacturing jobs. So, patience and courtesy win out.

  • Driving from northwest Iowa to central Iowa in an ice storm. Was sure I’d never make it without an accident, but somehow did! A three hour drive took nearly six.

  • After driving through a white out north of Salt Lake City, with white knuckles, I decided it was definitely time to move to a less snowier part of the country. Ended up in western Washington. When it snows like that here, people just stay put.

  • Driving on icy roads with no visibility. Too many tines over the years as I live in northern Alberta

  • I hit a patch of black ice on I70 in January doing 85 mph ( it was legal in the 70s) and did a 360 degree spin, hit dry pavement and kept going. I was 21 and I have made it 50 more years. I have forgotten a lot of things, but not this!

  • Driving a rental Kia Soul up to the North Shore of Lake Superior in an icy snowstorm. It turned out that the car did not have winter tires on. How could a Minnesota rental car NOT have winter tires? Turns out the car had came from Texas the week before and I didn’t even think to ask the rental agency to make sure that we had a car with snow tires. That, combined with the lightness of the vehicle, made for a very hair-raising, slippery, slow, 250 mile trek north. Two days later, when we needed to make the return trip, the weather was beautiful (but cold), so we thought we’d have an easy trip back to the Cities. HA! That little car couldn’t even get up the slight slope of the driveway! A neighbor pulled us up the driveway with his pickup and then we were fine.

  • Driving 40 miles on a snow packed freeway to get to a test for a government job. I was young, had 3 pretty worn tires and one snow tire on the car. I passed many cars in the ditch in my way as I stayed in 2nd gear, never changed speed, and white knuckled it to my destination–safely.

  • The too many winters in the 80’s I drove a AMC Gremlin ( looks like it sounds) . Three speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive and no weight in the back. There were many times I had to be pushed out, have someone stand on the back bumper or sit in the tiny hatchback space to get up a hill or the worst- home from work through a 17” snowfall.

  • Possibly driving up the hill to my friend Signe’s house on a snowy night, when I was in high school. I was driving slow for the snow and didn’t have the oomph to get up that hill. But the snow meant I kept sliding sideways when I tried to back down to start over. In the end we left the car and Signe’s dad, Carl, came out to bring the car up. Nice guy that he is, he didn’t complain, though I did get a little (needed) advice.

    Also, one of Rackley WAR’s other drivers is Brittney Zamora – a local (to me, not you) girl who (I think) went to the same high school as my kids did.

  • 15 miles of steep downhill gravel washboard at the end of a 4 hour drive. It required patience and focus, both of which were in short supply. But I did it.

  • Last April, my husband and I flew to lovely Jamaica to meet up with my sister and friends from England. We rented a car at the airport and I drove us from the airport to the rented villa about an hour away. They drive in the opposite side of the road in Jamaica! We made it there alive and when it was time to go home we made it back to the airport, ALIVE! It was very challenging!!

  • Driving over Berthoud Pass towing a trailer with my (now ex) husband freaking out about the drop to the side of the road.

  • Driving home from college after an evening final exam in a driving snowstorm. The college did not close, the professor handed us the exam and said he was leaving. The drive home was terrifying.

  • Definitely driving the NYState Thruway in a blizzard, many years ago. Could not see a thing other than the dim red taillights of the car ahead of me. Made it off, but that terror still lives with me. Always put the studded snows on.

  • Love monback. I still remember my grandfather’s delight when he was actually able to self-apply the word ucaligon when a neighbor’s house was on fire.
    Identifying with so many here – the deer, the snow, the fog. Riding with family in Egypt where 3 lanes of traffic become 5, arms gesticulating out of packed cars, yelling … or at night, when headlights are off (to save electricity) until another car is approaching and lights are suddenly thrown on and everyone blinded.
    Memory of Mom driving down the Mt Monadnock road with a station wagon full of her singing Brownie Troop when the brakes gave out, low gear barely enough to slow the increasing speed and turns. Safely at the bottom, we were assisted by a local whose truck had only one door handle.
    Personal worst happened so fast I didn’t have time to be scared. Hydroplaning across 5 lanes of I-85 in Atlanta after being cut off by a sudden Exiter. Mid-choreography, I was facing a bank of stopped cars 1/4 mile back. Some how?!
    made it back and into the breakdown lane, hands still gripping the wheel as a man knocked on my window “You all right, ma’am? I seen the whole thing!”

    • Errata: Egyptian night driving with lights off. My husband informs that it’s to save the car battery. Egyptians are ingenious and rooted in their logic which is not always obvious to their guests.

  • My most challenging driving experience was last winter. We get windstorms where I live, so I’m used to driving around in them.
    However, I should have known this one was worse than usual when I left for work. There were tree branches everywhere, powelines down, and semi truck had been tipped over near the exit I have to take to get on the highway. I soldiered on, and made it to work. However, the wind kept getting worse as the day wore on. I left work early, hoping it wasn’t worse than when I drive in it in the morning. It was worse.
    There was one stretch where the wind was blowing over 100 mph. I’m pretty sure the only thing that kept my car on the road, and going forward, was the 50 lbs. of duck feed in the trunk.

  • My most challenging driving experience would have to be driving from State College, PA, to Germantown, Ohio, in my 1969 Dodge Dart, in 1982, in a blizzard. i stupidly started late, waiting until after my last class to leave. it was my parents’ 50th anniversary. i was on I80 in the dark, there was a single plowed lane for me and some dim red taillights to follow. i just kept on keeping on. i got to Columbus about 11 pm. there was a sudden curve in the road, i took it and went up on a 45* angle. when i came down, i called a buddy, who said stay here and let your car’s steering cool off. on the way back to State College, three days later i saw the huge cement barriers that i must have driven through on my way over. i never saw them during the blizzard.

  • Driving the high road from Santa Fe to Taos, with a wrong turn which was full of switchbacks so close to the adobe dwellings that we could touch the corners of the houses. We got to Taos just fine – I needed a glass of wine!! 🙂

  • An 18 hour drive by myself from Montana to California. I was in the groove

  • Living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I’ve had a least one challenging driving experience every winter. This year’s was getting stuck in my daughter’s driveway on Christmas Eve with 2 feet on snow having fallen and whiteout conditions.

  • I have two. Learning to drive a stick shift, Pittsburgh has lots of hills! Driving home from work in an ice storm, pale knuckle death grip on steering wheel the whole way and lots of spinning and sliding!!

  • Driving during a blizzard. Thank goodness for the truck in front of me, I safety followed him right into the the weigh station!

  • It may be recency bias, but I had an awful driving experience this fall: we were evacuating ahead of hurricane Ian, so I was very stressed, driving across Florida, and just as we got to the east coast where all the highways intersect like a plate of spaghetti, the rain turned into a downpour, and I could hardly see where I was going. Terrible!

  • most challenging driving experience was a standard shift rental car in Spain in the 1980s. Never a confident stick shift driver, I ended up reversing instead of going forward ( i know, it shouldn’t be easy to do that by mistake) and ended up flattening someone’s rosebed. Many apologies and some cash followed. Very very very embarrassing!!!!

  • There have been several challenging situations in my many years of driving…the worst was probably when I was changing lanes on a freeway in a busy city and a tire blew out. My car went across a lane of traffic and sideswiped the median barrier before I could get it under control again and then I had to get across 3 lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder. I have no doubt an angel in an 18 wheeler helped save my life – he saw what was happening and positioned his rig to prevent drivers in other lanes from getting too close. Then he pulled his truck over with me to make sure I was okay and that I was able to get in touch with a tow service. I will always have deep respect for anyone who drives a big rig!

  • Backing our little camp trailer into our campsite!

  • Trying to parallel park on the left side of the street in Brooklyn NY… Don’t think I ever had done it before or since

  • One of my most memorable driving challenges was driving a rented panel truck with an extremely touchy clutch. Through football game traffic to a residential neighborhood and parallel parking on a street that was barely wide enough to drive down. What an adventure!

  • New to Northern Virginia and working for the USGovernment, I barely knew where I was half the time. We were released early as a poorly forecast snowstorm was hitting its stride. I knew my way home, but some streets were becoming impassable & I had to divert to unknown roadways as I slipped & slid with my fellow commuters. No GPS or cell phones in 1984, and I envisioned I’d be found in my Chevy Citation once spring returned to Arlington (possibly the next day).

  • For some reason that I still don’t comprehend, I bought a standard transmission VW Beetle in 1973. The problem was that I didn’t know how to drive a stick! When my car arrived, I went to pick it up and VERY QUICKLY learned to drive a standard while sandwiched between two cement trucks on the freeway in rush hour traffic. I have no problem driving a standard transmission to
    this day 🙂

  • Well, I’m a bit sad to say that my most “impressive” driving challenge was the rather large and sturdy landscaping truck parked smack in the middle of a blind spot caused by the extremely bright sun in the early afternoon, right down the street. A route I drive multiple times every day, with plenty of cars and vehicles parked on the side of the road, but for that split second (driving along slowly with no distractions whatsoever) I saw nothing at all until I heard a really unpleasant scraping sound and saw my passenger side mirror go flying. I sideswiped the entire truck, leaving not a single scrape on it somehow, but did a shocking amount of damage to the entire side of our little Honda Civic. Still, no people or animals were hurt, no damage was done to anyone else’s property, and the car was fixed to look like new. My nerves, however, not so much!

  • What a hoot! I would have paid money to watch that!

  • Parallel parking my standard transmission volvo on the thills of SF as a new driver. Too much excitement.

  • When I was a new driver of 16 I had to back up our mammoth station wagon in a precarious spot next to a steep downward slope – in the dark. It was terrifying and we were very close to going over the edge. But I made it and all was well.

  • Learning to drive with a stick shift VW & stalling out on a hill with a gravel surface & 2 dogs outside trying to catch the car

  • Driving home from a college visit with my then-high school aged daughter along a long, flat, unpopulated stretch if the Pennsylvania Turnpike. My phone started blaring a tornado warning and instructed me to take cover — there was none to be seen. Then we were swallowed up in pitchdark clouds and a wild thunderstorm. . . Obviously, we survived. But I do not ever want to come closer than that!

  • Driving a UHaul truck packed with all my earthly possessions along the Jamaicaway in Boston. Think high speed, twisty, with granite kerbs and large trees on the side. I wasn’t used to the width of a truck, and I clipped the kerb hard, going at least 45 mph. I am forever grateful to the friend riding shotgun, who calmed me down and told me that I was doing a great job. In the end, we made it safely to our destination. Whew!

  • Bumper to bumper traffic through the Columbia River Gorge during an ice storm. If you tapped the brakes you would have caused a chain reaction accident that would have gone on for miles. Making it extra stressful…I had every possession I owned piled around my Jeep (moving after college) so I only had a 3 foot by 3 foot cavity in the drivers seat.

  • That would be the time I was rushing to a court appearance on the freeway in LA. As I was making the big swoopy turn that connects freeway 1 to freeway 2, with a big rig on one side and a sheer drop on the other, I encountered a large piece of rebar that was too large to get around. I hit it hard and blew out one of my front tires. My front wheel drive car started veering into the big rig that was alongside me and it took all my strength to keep from going under the big rig. I pulled over at the bottom of the ramp drenched with sweat and counted my blessings. The judge kindly forgave my tardiness.

  • Driving along Route 6 on Cape Cod in February several years ago after visiting my elderly father – snow on the ground and right into a huge fog bank. I couldn’t see the road AT ALL, nor could I see any other cars, so I couldn’t even pull over. I thought I would never see my family again, which caused lots of weeping and begging for mercy. Finally, after about an hour of sheer terror, the fog cleared slightly so that I could see the Sagamore Bridge and the Cape Cod Canal – smooth sailing all the way back to Natick, MA!

    • Carol, I grew up in Natick! Amazing town. What’s happened with Iron Horse yarn shop?

  • Fog – it was so sudden and dense. Dangerous and very scary.

  • I grew up driving in snow and black ice, but my experience driving from Los Angeles to Orange County on the 405 freeway one morning was the most challenging. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a ladder lift off a truck several lanes away and fly through the air. I hit the emergency lights and slowed down as much as I could in that second thinking what if it hits my windshield. It hit the ground, slid to a stop a foot in front of my car as I stopped as did the driver behind me. The next challenge was getting around the ladder and back into the traffic to this day I try to avoid being behind trucks with ladders on them.

  • Over the past couple of years, the increased traffic in the area where I live is becoming worse with the influx of people moving into the area. It is like an accordion and so challenging to drive in.

  • Definitely the unexpected inch of ice that confronted me when I emerged from my first law school exam.

  • While my hubster was driving cross country in an 18 wheeler. We ended up get lost in Chicago and down where no truck should be twice. Once in the area of the lake circling around the ritzy part of town and then in another area where the bridges across the road were really barely tall enough for the truck to get through but what do you but just go with it.

  • Driving into Paris for the first time in the days before GPS trying to find our hotel in rush hour. We had a paper map and 3 kids in the car who were almost as impatient as the Parisian drivers honking at us all the way. Once we found the hotel the car never left the hotel garage until we left Paris a few days later.

  • Driving an icy winter road [the 2-by-4] in Detroit, MI

  • This is a very educational thread. One of my top driving challenges was finding our condo for a ski trip in Colorado in college…at night, while it was snowing in a 5-speed Mustang 5.0. The snow was fresh and a foot deep and we were on some back roads. There was a lot of pushing involved.

  • First time driving the 20+ miles of Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham in pouring rain in 1965. The narrow sinuous road is cut into sandstone cliffs above Bellingham Bay on Puget Sound in Washington State. There is a sheer drop-off at many points and the lines had not been repainted in many years. White knuckles all the way and missed the touted views because of the rain and needing to concentrate on the road.

  • Parallel parking a full size pickup truck on Broad Street, downtown Nevada City during the day. When I got back to the truck 30 min later, I had a parking ticket… I was so relieved & proud of myself, I had forgotten to pay the meter!

  • Driving from Eugene to Bend Oregon at night in winter. My first hint that what I was driving on was NOT wet pavement, but black ice, was when these things happened almost simultaneously:

    – My headlights startled a deer in the middle of my lane.
    – The deer lost its footing on the ice and fell, its legs scrambling for purchae on the sluck road surface.
    – I slammed on my brakes, and started sliding at an angle.
    – The driver of the car behind me decided to pass me on the left.

    Miraculously, there was no crash. The deer found its footing and ran off. i regained control of my car. The car behind me backed off.

    I pulled to the side, heart pounding, and asked my husband to drive the rest of the way.

  • Driving a Chevett in the CO mountains over snowy passes with very little traction, despite several bags of kitty litter in the back and my friend in the back. Note this was in the ‘70’s and we were in college . We made it unscathed.

  • When my husband was running the Western States 100 mile race, I trusted GPS to get me to the starting line instead of following the race director’s instructions. It led me down a steep curvy one-lane dirt road with a cliff on one side. I prayed the whole time I wouldn’t meet a car coming up. My prayers were answered!

  • I did not have a driver’s license until age thirty-six. I am still the most chickenishist driver two decades later.

  • Taking my driving test in Texas, with the examiner in full sheriff’s uniform down to the “county mounty” hat. I failed on my first attempt (couldn’t back up straight), but thankfully the examiner didn’t arrest me!

  • wow

  • I was on the freeway driving in the second lane behind a long bed 18-wheeler when a Ford truck with a trailer swerved and cut in front of the big truck. The truck threw on his brakes and stalled with smoke billowing from the tires and with me braking directly behind him. This was in the busy part of the morning. I had cars whizzing past at 90 mh on both sides so I couldn’t move to another lane safely. I was at a dead stop in the middle of the freeway praying that I wasn’t hit from behind and smashed between the truck and another vehicle. I just knew I was toast. Luckily, I eventually made it to the slow lane with a racing heart and shaky legs. I had an angel in my pocket that day.

  • Learning to drive overall probably clocks in at number one. That was generally a very unpleasant experience for both me and my mom. But a specific incident that stands out is a rental this fall. I now live in Chicago and don’t drive that often. I was in the New York suburbs for a funeral, and there’s not a lot of public transportation in Westchester. I rented a Tesla (because gas prices) from the airport. Getting out of there on twisty back country roads with almost no visibility around corners with a braking system that’s different than standard when I already hadn’t driven for two years and had just gotten off a plane? Miserable. Absolutely miserable. Then I got to the hotel and the electric key stopped working and the remote rental people couldn’t get the door unlocked either, so just generally a cluster. Very much put me off Teslas even before Elon Musk’s latest rounds of foolishness.

  • One small problem – Will DiBenedetto’s name seems to be Matt…
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_DiBenedetto

    • Maybe THAT’S why he hasn’t answered my dm

  • I was driving next to a gas tanker on the freeway, the truck was slightly ahead, and the truck exploded with a huge fireball next to me. Luckily I was able to swerve across 4 lanes of travel. The truck cab was hanging off the overpass and was hanging on…The driver was safe.

  • I live in Alaska, so there’s lots of driving excitement, but nothing has been more challenging than trying to teach my daughter to drive!

  • Driving in NYC is becoming increasing difficult with bike lanes and double parked trucks leaving one lane for cars. To reduce congestion and help the environment I’m giving up and taking mass transit!!

  • It’s been a very long time ago, but my father insisted that I learn to drive stick shift to get a driver’s license! I’ve been thankful ever since.

  • Like so many people parallel parking is a huge problem for me.
    But wait, there’s more! See I recently had shoulder surgery and getting the car out of the garage and in to the alley takes a lot of shoulder work regardless of power steering!

  • Learning to drive a stick shift in LA traffic. All else seems easy.

  • On our way home to MD from a family visit on Long Island, my husband went into insulin shock while driving our minivan stuffed with our two kids, ages 15 and 12, the dog, and me, while driving at 70 MPH in the left lane down I-95. I needed to somehow convince him to let me take command of the car, bring it across two lanes of high speed traffic, pull onto the shoulder, switch places with him with traffic rushing by so fast that I felt g-forces pulling on my body, and drive to the nearest rest stop so we could get him something to raise his blood sugar before he went into a coma. I really don’t know how I did it, but I did. And am now sharing the story, 25 years later.

  • In 2004 my husband and I took a trip the PA to go off-roading in our new Wrangler Rubicon. He was an off-roader since the 70’s, me just a passenger. Well he got out of the jeep and made me do my first drive as an off-roader. The obstacle I faced was a passage through what he called a rock garden and not to break the jeep since we had to drive it home the next day. Well I passed without damage and became an off-roader.

  • Driving from central Illinois back to northwest Iowa ar Christmas, while 6months pregnant . Blizzard . Husband was driving while I had the passenger door open to see if we were still on the road. Yikes.

  • I was driving to work on the freeway during a snow storm and as I rounded a curve I spun into a 360 degree turn. I remembered not to put on my breaks, and luckily landed going the right direction. Other cars were able to avoid hitting me. Phew! It took me a while to get my breath back. Good old Hobbs, my orange 1970’s Volvo!

  • Well I know one thing: I ain’t getting in a car with ANY of you.

  • My dad would let me drive the 20 mile trip to church on Sunday as practice while I was in drivers training. This involved a badly designed freeway (196) which goes through Grand Rapids, MI as mostly a bridge over the Grand River including the part where an on ramp emerges simultaneously on both your left and right sides. An unsecured chest of drawers fell out of the trailer attached to the vehicle ahead of me while a car appeared on each side of me attempting to merge. I made it through without hitting anything or anyone. My dad turned around to tell my mom in the backseat that he thought I was good to go on that drivers license thing.

  • I will never forget driving through a brief but intense hail storm in New Mexico. It was essentially white out conditions and I feel like I had a guardian angel with me that day.

  • Just as I was driving over a mountain pass a semi and truck pulling a 12×60 trailer house passed me. At the same time a motorcycle passed me and went in between the trucks, my little boy accidentally dumped a gallon of cold milk on me and I lost my brakes. I was certain we were not going to survive.

    • This was before the seatbelt or carseat laws.

  • Driving in ice and snow. Not skidding off a mountain!

  • My biggest driving challenge is keeping my mouth shut when someone else is driving.

  • Going up a muddy, steep hill even with 4-wheel drive

  • When I was a teen I was driving on the newly constructed expressway in our town and exited where the exit hadn’t been opened yet. I plowed right through the barrier but luckily wasn’t injured. Scared me to death though!

  • Northbound I-25 from Colorado Springs to Denver many winters ago, all 9 seats of my Suburban filled with family, driving carefully under the speed limit because the roads were slicker than buttered owl sh!t when a small economy car rocketed onto the highway from an on-ramp in Castle Rock at an incautious speed, hit the brakes and started spinning across 3 lanes of traffic into my lane. Other cars started swerving and sliding, so I carefully zigzagged thru the gaps to an open space and continued on my way (heart pounding and fingers white knuckled on the wheel!). There was a moment of silence, everyone let out a shaky breath and my youngest (7 or 8 at the time) piped up with “wow mom, that was really fancy driving!!!”. Spinner managed to stop safely on the left shoulder and amazingly all of the others cars continued without any collisions. When there are slippery roads now the family loves to tell me “watch out, no fancy driving”.

  • I wasn’t doing the driving, but I remember visiting Paris as a teenager. We were on a bus on a very narrow street. I could stick my arm out the window and touch the buildings we were passing by. Our driver was very good.

  • I can’t back up any kind of trailer. Don’t make me retell the experiences. Ugh!

  • My husband and I were traveling from Logan, Utah to Yellowstone National Park in early May. The pass we wanted to take to Jackson was closed due to a mudslide. The alternate, and only feasible, route was over Teton Pass. Teton Pass was open to one way traffic, once a day because of the snow. The road to the top of the pass was not bad, however, at the top began a 10% downgrade and no guardrails. It was terrifying — the side of a snow covered mountain on the left and a drop of hundreds of feet on the right. I will never take that route again ever in the heat of summer.

  • Recently, I drove my mother-in-law‘s 2002 mercury grand marquis while my car was in the shop. It was all great until my long, steep driveway got just the least bit iced over! I had to contact my snow removal guy to come put a lot of salt and sand down, and he managed to get it up to the top of the driveway where it still sits. I am not taking any chances of getting stuck like that again! (At 93 my mother-in-law no longer drives which is why her car was available for me.)

  • Driving in northern Michigan during a blizzard and driving my VW Beetle into the ditch BESIDE the road to the roadside park where I planned to wait out the storm. A bus from a small local church stopped and the choir members literally lifted me out!

  • 1989, lived in Ft. Hood,Texas. I worked at a snack bar, and had the early shift. Had to be at work by 5:00 AM. We had a little snow. VERY little snow. Had to use a spatula to deice my windshield because no ice scraper, and went to work. Come to find out, Ft. Hood was CLOSED except for emergency vehicles. My coworkers also came to work, so instead of going home, we opened the snack bar. The soldiers were happy. 🙂

  • This is not about me but my friend. She and her hubby were so chuffed upon buying a new car for her. But when they got it hime, found it wouldn’t fit into their condo’s allocated garage! The punchline of this story is that they were both NASA scientists of the rocket science variety! I guess the moral of this story,even though it’s not driving per se, is that it doesn’t have to be rocket science to be challenging.

  • Driving through Miami (I swear it was about 100 miles) to get to Key West. I had thought driving that far with very little around would be unsettling as well as the long bridges but no; it was definitely Miami. I think the I-95 sign is what they use as a speed limit.

  • Moving my adopted mother from Virginia Beach VA to Pennsylvania. I despise bridges. I an terrified of underwater tunnels. Had to drive ACROSS that cursed Bay Bridge Tunnel 2 times. On the way home – following my adopted sister driving a u-haul van, I almost lost her in Wilmington DE. Saw her at the last minute before taking a wrong turn. Going thru a toll plaza that was closed (thank you COVID), and I do not have easy pass (got a $50 for. 50 cent toll). Oh and did I mention – mom’s slightly drugged cat in the backseat. Meowing most of the last hour and a hlaf.

  • Most challenging: driving from Wisconsin to Oregon on Friday of Thanksgiving weekend with 11 Merinos in the back of a UHaul. There was a raging snow storm from Cheyenne to Laramie (gulp), we all made it in one piece by Sunday afternoon.

  • Driving in New York City looking for a parking spot. I wanted to go into a lot, but my 2 friends were convinced we could park on the street. So here I am, with a stick shift car, a slight hill and a space maybe a foot longer than the car. It took s lot of hand signals, yelling, and backing up to finally get in the spot 23 backups later!

  • I learned on a stick shift so when I needed to drive an automatic it was quite difficult. Also when I was driving a stick shift if I was stopped on a hill making sure I geld in the clutch so it wouldn’t slide backwards.

  • A 14-hour drive from MA to IN .. during the Delta wave August 2021 ..with my husband and his bad back valiantly trying to book us a hotel room or airbnb anywhere in western NY … how about PA .. make that Cleveland? Finally we called my sister-in-law for a bed …. in Fort Wayne, IN! A detour from I-80, but infinitely better than snoozing in a car seat.
    We saw millions of electrical trucks driving east, for the predicted hurricane outage that never happened … and presumably pulling into all the hotels that were too full for us.
    Longest, toughest drive ever, for folks who switch drivers every two hours. But we made it!

    • Wait … skip that… ding ding ding, Wrong Answer! Definitely it was the time I was driving a rental car going up a narrow, two-lane twisty road in Dun Chaoin Ireland. driving my wrong and their correct side of the road. A car coming down the hill couldn’t get by our larger van with 5 passengers, and indicated that it was definitely the darned Yank tourist’s job to reverse down to a pull-off, without tipping over the cliff into the ocean and rocks below. The amount of swearing I did was impressive. Mission accomplished, I drove on to Dingle town center, and then declined to drive again the rest of our trip.
      Thanks for a fun Atlas column! loving the Comments.

  • What a fun post! Thank you.

  • Most challenging driving experience? Driving to Virginia from Chicago — alone.
    Google routed me off the highway & through the mountains. Though summer, it was well after dark and it seemed like hours of narrow 2-lane mountain passes. Curves. Sharp curves. Switchbacks. Vistas lost to view. Little towns. Crossroads, really. Businesses were just — right there. I could have stuck my hand out the window & touched the buildings, surely. I slowed to 40mph, if even. Then abruptly, I was back on the highway and I breathed again.
    But just as quickly, I found myself driving up a narrow lane. Narrow, like could two cars really fit? Enormously tall pine trees towered on either side. The dark was close. Dark is ink black in the mountains. And that’s when I realized, Google wasn’t tracking me anymore. I was just an unmarked, blue line glowing in the car’s dark interior. A few words were said. How had I not noticed? But my white knuckles (I’m sure they were) spoke to my focus to stay on the road, not along side it clinging to the mountain. I pulled into a lane leading, I guessed, to someone’s house — for all I knew, it could have dropped me off the earth’s surface — did (only) a 4 or 5-point turn and, praying no headlights meant no one was coming, shot back out onto the road. Just a little disoriented, I got myself back onto the highway, a circuitous route that filled me with doubt (you know the signs when blind faith is the requisite?), and very nearly took the same misleading exit again.
    Shew. I sucked in all the air in the car. Google had found me. Two more hours’d be nothing now. I was wide awake..

  • Most challenging driving experience? Driving to Virginia from Chicago –alone.
    Google routed me off the highway & through the mountains. Though summer, it was well after
    dark. It seemed like hours of narrow 2-lane mountain passes. Curves. Sharp curves.
    Switchbacks. Vistas lost to view. Little towns. Crossroads, really. Businesses were just – right
    there. I could have stuck my hand out the window & touched the buildings, surely. I slowed to
    40mph, if even. Then abruptly, I was back on the highway & I breathed again.
    But just as quickly, I found myself driving up a narrow lane. Narrow, like could two cars really
    fit? Enormously tall pine trees towered on either side. The dark was close. Dark is ink black in
    the mountains. And that’s when I realized, Google wasn’t tracking me anymore. I was just an
    unmarked, blue line glowing in the car’s dark interior. A few words were said. How had I not
    noticed? But my white knuckles (I’m sure they were) spoke to my focus to stay on the road,
    not alongside it clinging to the mountain. I pulled into a lane leading, I guessed, to someone’s
    house – for all I knew, it could have dropped me off the earth’s surface — did (only) a 4 or 5-
    point turn and, praying no headlights meant no one was coming, shot back out onto the road.
    Just a little disoriented, I got myself back onto the highway, a circuitous route that filled me
    with doubt (you know the signs when blind faith is the requisite?), and very nearly took the
    same misleading exit again.
    Shew. I sucked in all the air in the car. Google had found me. Two more hours’d be
    nothing now. I was wide awake.

    • Ooooh. Sorry! Not sure what happened.

  • Driving on a New Hampshire highway in a blizzard, and the highway was closed after I got on but it was too late for me to know that.

  • NASCAR sponsor is a great idea. I can’t be the only NASCAR fan who knits. 🙂

  • I drove school buses for 10 years. Snow, hail, tornadoes, puke, potty emergencies, accidents blocking traffic so I couldn’t deal with the last two in a timely fashion. Bus breakdowns, mud roads, ditches trying to eat the bus, deer in the road, teenagers in the back, teenagers driving on the road. I got stories.
    Ya’ll should have given that poor guy driving the truck a soda. Probably wasn’t his worst delivery, but it was up there.

  • My most challenging driving experience is actually a toss-up between 2 different occasions……..
    1. Parallel parking a 40′ school bus, packed full of 56 opinionated, ‘new drivers’ high-school kids on the busiest downtown street of Portland, OR at noon on a winter day. There was dead silence… and then wild, unrestrained clapping and cheering when I NAILED IT on the first try. No streetlight poles or newspaper stands died that day.
    2. On a VERY dark and rainy NW afternoon, discovering the single lane road that had a turnaround at the dead-end had washed out halfway down and so I had to back that same 40′ bus into a tiny driveway (drainage ditches on both sides ,of course, just wide enough to accomodate my 8′ width straight in …with only a 6 yr old kindergartner standing in the back seat spotting me…….

    Ronny: “Wait Miss Sherry, I can’t see the ground anymore!”
    Me: “Can you see the ground now?”
    Ronny:” Go, Miss Sherry, there’s a dog in the big puddle behind us……..”
    Me: “Is it a big dog or a little dog?”
    Ronny: “It’s a pretty big dog but the puddle is only around his feet.”
    After the proverbial 17 point turn……
    Ronny: Bye bye Mr. Big Dog….you were a good helper!”

  • Black ice at 5 am. Scary.

  • My most challenging driving experience as a new driver at age 49, I am now 75, was driving across the old Tappan Zee Bridge Across the Hudson River in New York! That bridge has been replaced by the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

  • Maybe 20 years ago, we bought a 5th wheel camper. I had never pulled one nor backed one up. The salesman took me to the Gensco parking lot on Murfreesboro road. I could back that bad boy into any spot on the the lot. Then…i drove it to the campground. Back up, go forward, back up , go forward. I wound up having to pull it to a parking lot and wait for someone who had done it before. I have never been able to back it since.

  • California state route 89 around the south end of Lake Tahoe. Two-lane road, lots of traffic. Many sections have sheer drop-offs on the lake side, no shoulders and not even the illusion of safety of a guardrail because there’s not enough level ground to hold one. And there’s one no shoulder/no guardrail stretch with a steep drop-off on *both* sides. My palms are sweating even thinking about it. I’d have to be kidnapped to travel that road again!

  • Learning to drive a stick shift in a VW Microbus in Seattle at rush hour! Beep Beep

  • Bringing my high school daughter home from basketball camp at the Univ. of Md. in College Park, Md one summer in driving rain on Interstate 95. On that 4-lane highway a lady stops driving in the middle of the highway with an 18-wheeler coming along. Only prayers and God’s grace got us around her car and on the way home with no accident.

  • Driving in the rain at dusk, or childen playing ball. I’m always afraid they will chase the ball into the street,

  • Learning to drive our 1928 Model A Ford. I was so jerky until I learned where to put my foot.

  • Learning to drive at age 41!

  • In my light truck, pulling a cherished trailered Harley-Davidson, cross country over the mountains and through the woods!

  • My most terrifying driving experience (out of many) was driving in an Arizona zero visibility dust storm between Tucson & Phoenix. Very scary!

  • You all live the best life. As a F1 racing fan and knitter, all I kept thinking as I was reading todays letter was, “They better get their logo on the car.”
    The big honking van in your parking lot is not too shabby as advertising goes!

  • Both mine were actually as a passenger. I shall explain. As a newlywed I was not allowed behind the wheel of my husband’s car (a 1964 AC Cobra racing car and the least comfortable passenger experience of all time), our only vehicle during our first year of marriage. Evidently, it was great fun to drive, but I wouldn’t ever know.
    First challenge: Husband wanted to drive around the Nurburgring race course (it opens briefly for non-professional idiots before the race) with me in passenger seat. My challenge: to stay in my seat and not scream “Slow down you @#$%^ and let me out” as we sailed around the curvy 12.5 mile course at 100+ miles per hour.
    Second challenge: We had just enough money for gas when we landed back in New York, but needed to get ourselves and car back to Los Angeles where funds waited. Three and a half days in a cramped car (no radio or A/C or passenger leg room) through desert heat, subsisting on a box of soda crackers and drinking fountains, napping at rest stops, all made for another teeth-grinding experience.
    I may have gotten pregnant as soon as we returned home just so that we had to trade in the sporty car.

  • I’m pretty sure all my driving experiences have been the worst.

  • Did anyone besides me try to figure what the Atlas folks were doing with that weird ball of thick string before they realized it was circling on the photograph?!? 😉

    • Aye, hand raised! Maybe there’s another story coming.

  • Already signed up for Snippets. Challenging driving experience: actually, I have 2, one a driving challenge and one a parking challenge. Driving: Elder Son did his undergrad at NYU, At the end of his junior year I drove our Dodge conversion van from Wisconsin to NYC to pick him up at his apartment on Pearl Street in the financial district, where the streets are roughly 20″ wide. I maneuvered the van almost perfectly, only clipped one rearview mirror. Parking: on a business trip to Denver when I was six months pregnant (same son) I parked my rental car in the motel parking lot, locked the doors, but forgot to put it in park. It immediately began to roll backward — I tried to stop it but remembered I was forbidden to lift anything over 15 pounds, so I just watched it roll. It rolled into an empty space in the next row between two cars and kissed the front bumper of a Mercedes in the next row. That parking space was so small I could not have driven into it. Even the rearview mirrors lined up to miss each other. Of course, I couldn’t get my suitcase out of the back seat so I had to explain at the front desk why I had no luggage. Later, when I came back to the lobby to buy a toothbrush, etc., I saw the entire staff of the motel standing in the parking lot admiring my car — which was a Cadillac convertible, btw. The security guy, clever fellah, figured out how to get into the back seat from the trunk, which would not have been possible if the car were not a convertible. He brought my suitcase to my room to many thanks. The car was still inaccessible the next morning so I had to take a cab to my destination. After I got back to Minneapolis and turned in my expense report, the company controller called me to his office to ask why I had turned in receipts for both a rental car AND a cab. Needless to say, the story was all around the office that same day.

  • Stick shift in London during Friday rush hour. It was our first attempt at driving on the left side of the road. Where’s the mirror? Where is that gear shift? Which way do we turn on the roundabout? … but we survived

  • nothing too scarry, somewhat new to electric car driving distances, so figuring out when we need to recharge and how high the charge needs to be etc.

  • Packing down my grandfather’s narrow driveway when I first learned to drive.

  • Returning to college after Christmas break my freshman year. At the end of 10 hours of driving, we drove the last 2 hours through the mountains with no head- or tail-lights; only flashers in the dark. Very relieved when we finally arrived intact.

  • Driving in the Outback, emu steps into the road from behind a bush. Swerving to miss anything on a dirt road in the Outback is never recommended.

  • Driving east on I-90 and it was raining so hard the rain was coming in through the closed windows! I didn’t stop because I didn’t know where the side of the road was and I was afraid someone would run over me.

  • Snowstorm December of 2021. Had to get home in the dark,45 minutes in to a normally 15 minute drive the car tells me to pull over it was no longer drivable. The wheels were so pack and encrusted with snow! All the lights on the dashboard wanted me to stop, but I was a mile from home. I continued on .

  • New Year’s Eve 2015. Blinding blizzard. A stretch of highway renowned for turning to ice for unknown reasons. Over a rise, accident and ambulance and the car in front of me spins out. Used everything I knew, spinning myself deliberately to miss the car in front of me, to perpendicular, drove through a 4′ snow bank and down the ditch along the highway. Still shaking!

  • driving for a couple of years with a teenager (new driving license) who was suddenly convinced i could do NOTHING right when it came to driving. It really started to chip away at my confidence!

  • Fifty years ago driving an old VW with no brakes into Manhattan from Staten Island on a Sunday night to pick up my young husband. Downshifted and used the handbrake. Risky and foolish then, suicidal today. We made it, though.

  • Driving to work on the 280 during atmospheric rivers pouring down this week in NorCal. Everybody’s driving at different speeds, freeway is flooding because the rain is coming down too fast to drain, and then a car passes on either side at the same time and I’m caught between two blinding waves of water. Amazing amount of water in a short amount of time!

  • Well, my dad was a truck driver, who taught all of us kids how to drive. And how to change a tire, and the oil, and check all the fluids and change the wiper blades BEFORE we were allowed to take the test. All 3 of his kids and 4 of his grandkids passed. But anyway….

    This summer, my husband and i went on a road trip to Eastern Oregon. And there is a tiny little town called Maupin. Its a beautiful place: high desert, with a river (running through it, (rafting and fishing if you’re into that. But alas, no yarn shop!). We do road trips quite often, and we’re used to narrow twisty roads. But if you take the back way from Maupin up to the Columbia River, there is a 10ish mile stretch of road that is reputed to be a 2 lane highway. It does have lines painted for two lanes. Two very skinny, very twisty, very narrow lanes. Like two cars can probably pass in opposite directions but we were praying that we wouldn’t see a truck. This is all ranch and outdoors sports country. The trucks are BIG and frequently hauling horse trailers or RVs. Or racks of kayaks and rafts. Pay no mind to the signs saying that the road may be closed due to high wind and there’s no place to turn around for 11 miles. Because on the inside of this narrow, twisty road is a sheer rock wall, about 60 feet STRAIGHT UP. And rocks and stuff are prone to fall off in the winter and spring, due to the freezing/thawing cycle. And the outside? I’m glad you asked. It’s about a mile to the bottom of the river canyon at the deepest point. A mile. Pretty much straight down. And this was my lane… We made it through, but my sweetie isn’t so fond of heights and he was a bit green and shaky.

    It was beautiful country, but we couldn’t stop to take pictures or breathe, because again, there’s no place to stop. As soon as we got back down to the flats, I pulled over for a break, and me and my Hubster just sat there going, “well, wasn’t THAT an adventure!” (and then I realized I was so nervous, I had to pee and retired behind a convenient bush to take of business, so to speak…) Next time we do a similar trip, we’re going up the Columbia River Gorge and back down to Maupin, because that way, I’ll have the inside lane!

  • There are many scary driving stories that I could tell but then I thought of one that truly was heart pounding. I doubled checked with my husband who was the driver and he agreed it was the worst driving experience for him. We were driving a Toyota Land Cruiser and towing a trailer with all our worldly possessions from Boston to Pennsylvania for his first job. We had been on this road once when he went for the job interview but that was in daylight and not towing. So it was late at night and we were tired from packing and it was a long drive. We were about one hour from our destination and had one mountain ridge to climb. No problem going up but we did not realized nor remembered that the other side was not as straight but had multiple sharp bends in rapid secession. Despite making it a point to slowing down at the top we quickly developed too much speed and he struggled to slow the car with trailer as much as possible. Back then the road as not as well marked with signs and we barely made it through the first curve. Scary! Tried to slow down again and a double curve appeared. Barely survived those. Mercifully that was the last of the really steep slope and it was mostly just a mild roller coaster after that. Forty minutes later and five miles from the rental house our hearts were almost back to normal.

  • I ride a Harley Streetglide, entry level touring bike. Being stopped on a hill, at a stop light with cars behind me. Letting out the clutch and giving gas without rolling back or dropping the motorcycle when taking off is always a challenge for me!
    And of course driving through Nashville from Indiana to Georgia to see my one daughter when she lived there. To stay on I65 it’s back and forth through all those lanes of traffic!

  • Evacuating for a hurricane with 2 teenagers. A trip that took twice the normal time.

  • I have a part-time job delivering flowers for the best flower shop in my city of Wausau, Wisconsin. Just a couple weeks ago we had a mid-week major snowstorm that caused major problems on our roads, But there were going to be several funerals that day (that were not going to be cancelled), and I had to make an early delivery (by 8:00 am) to a church that is up a very steep hill. From the road at the bottom it looked like the city workers had plowed and salted/sanded, so I took a running start up this hill. And of course half-way up my momentum stopped and I started sliding back down. That is very scary in itself, but then the wheels caught a patch of black ice and the truck turned sideways, still sliding down the hill. Luckily my back wheel slid into a small bank of newly plowed snow, so I was saved. But stuck. Really stuck, without a shovel to dig myself out. I prayed for an angel in the form of another driver – coming down the hill – to save me, and after about 5 minutes a man did come, he got me dug out, and he even maneuvered my truck to be going front-wise down the hill. And then showed me a better way to get to this church, leading the way ahead of my delivery truck. I actually made it to the church before my 8:00 am deadline! I thanks this man profusely, but he refused to give me his name. There are great people everywhere, willing to help someone in distress!

  • My most challenging driving experience occurred when I was a teenager. Lost my contacts at my friend’s party (don’t ask) and had to drive the few miles home the next morning very slowly while holding my breath since I am blind as a bat without said contacts.

  • Driving up a particular section of Highway 1. Very curvy, uphill, narrow, with a long drop down.

  • As we live on a tiny street in Philadelphia, parking challenges happen almost daily. Our neighbors know how to park (half up in curb, wheels straight, mirror tucked in), but visitors cause issues. There is No Way a tractor trailer could even dream about accessing our block, and that is a small blessing.

  • Definitely snow on I88 in the southern tier of New York State. In the dark.

  • In Canada, the most dangerous highway is called the Coquihalla. Coq for short. I started home from Vancouver BC. Beautiful sunny driving day. I looked in the rear view mirror, there was a wall of mainly black behind me. Having driven in some very nasty storms, I tried to outrun it. Not to be so. 18 wheelers backlogged and jack knifed everywhere as the storm caught up. A drive that was usually six hours took nearly 15 hours. I never feared. I knew I was being looked after.

  • Driving a ’59 VW bus over. the Sunshine Skyway (Fla), ran out of gas. There was no gas gauge on that vehicle. You had to reach down under the seat and pull a knob. I was 17 at the time. Thought we were going to die. What were my parents thinking?

  • Driving the Million Dollar road between Ouray and Silverton, CO at night. My husband was driving and I was holding my breath. Thankfully our GPS helped to show how the road was supposed to go so that we didn’t plunge off the edge.

  • Hauling a flatbed trailer down a snowy winding mountain road. A brake locked up, a wheel flew off, and truck and trailer spun around 360 degrees.. No injuries were sustained, but the whole family was adrenaline soaked.

  • Getting an hour’s lesson in how to drive stick shift on a car in the UK (so with my left hand), and then having to drive said car 2 hours each way through twisty Scottish roads, three times a week for six months, usually in the dark.

    Backstory: I am American but went to university in Scotland, where I and two other American students were chosen for a soccer team of players from universities across Scotland. We practiced 3 times a week in a city that was a 2 hour drive or almost 4 hours via bus-train-bus, so our university provided a car, but only stick. Neither other American was willing to learn stick or drive on the other side of the road, so I said I would. I still only know how to drive stick with my left hand…

    Not to mention this was a more stressful experience than driving solo through Rio de Janeiro rush hour traffic while jetlagged and trying to navigate via map, since my phone wasn’t connecting to wifi.

  • Driving a 15-person van full of middle schoolers going to church camp through Houston rush hour traffic!

    • Hahaaaa. Enough said! I taught middle school, so I can well imagine.

  • With three sons every trip was an adventure. Keep the older two from hitting each other while tryptophan find the babies binky all while keeping my eyes on the road.

  • Purchasing a manual car when I didn’t know how to drive one!

  • Stepping on the accelerator to stop the car.

  • The aftermath of hitting Mrs Grimshaw’s car door when I was 16 and (illegally) drove my sister and her screaming friends to church on a rainy Sunday day in Beaver, Utah.

  • I didn’t learn to drive until I was 17 and my first long distance driving a car came within a few months. My elderly aunt in upstate NY gave my family her 3-speed car. My dad drove our VW bus (stick shift) from NC to NY with only me to drive back the other car. Imagine driving though Wash. DC as a newbie driver using a stick shift my yourself without assistance (cellphones not around). Anyways, I was quite nervous but made it without incident!

  • We were on a canoe trip and my husband and a friend were below us (sort of a ravine) in the canoe, I was supposed to bring the van to the end of their trip. I still shiver to remember turning that van around… it might not have been as bad as I remember, but all I can say is Emergency Brakes, prayers, some screaming… looking down the ravine!!! Yikes!!! But we made it , and I lived to tell the tale.

  • Parking a full size rental car in a very tight and very busy underground garage at the base of Volterra in Tuscany. Although it might not sound like it, it was a feat!! Also, not sure if anyone has ever driven east on 70 (to the airport) as the sun is rising over Denver. It is absolutely blinding. Avoid it if you can!

  • I live about an hour outside Atlanta. Though I don’t have to go there often, EVERY time I have to drive in or through Atlanta it becomes yet another “worst driving experience ever!”

  • I took a skid class as a teen that was excellent and got me an insurance discount

  • Driving over one of those VERY high bridges in Florida which also slanted up (& then back down, of course) in the middle. I was scared to death!

  • I grew up on the Eastern Shore of MD. Back then, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was just 2 lanes of opposing traffic on a 4+ mile bridge that is super high. I needed to learn to drive a stick shift car to transport my sister’s car to her in College just north of Baltimore. I had to drive across that bridge at 17 years old with a brand new driving skill. If you can drive across that original span with opposing traffic, you can do anything.

  • I don’t drive but my first thought is If they had to come nose first to get it in how are they going to get it out without backing up unless there is a lot more turning space than I can see.

  • My most challenging driving was way back with my first car, an 1969 Beetle in the winter mornings to work. My breath would freeze on the windshield in front of me because it took a while to warm up the air and car. I had to scrape the inside while driving, under while getting all the ice/snow falling on my lap. By the time that I arrived at my work the car would be warm and I wet. After the first time I always had a towel in the car for on my lap.

  • Slid into a slight ditch, that was buried in snow. Had to climb out the window to get out of the car. Thankfully, nearby helper had a tow strap!

  • Trying to stop in the snow with antilock brakes always gives me a panic attack. I just keep sliding and praying no one hits me!

  • Learning to drive a 4-speed manual transmission in the foothills of Albuquerque before it was developed. There were paved roads, but nothing else and my dad would take me out after dinner to learn to drive the car I was going to drive back to college (in Texas). Sheer terror with the clutch and brake pedals pressed at a stop sign going uphill. (For the record, I did learn to drive the car and my husband and I drove standard transmission vehicles until just a few years ago.)

  • Since my car (KIA Sportage) was stolen this past summer from right in front of our house, where I had parked for close to 10 years, I’ve started parking in the garage. I got my car back when the police found it in St Paul and had it towed to the impound lot. The Mpls police came to my door to ask me if I was missing a car. I had not even realized it was gone!!! But, now I park in our garage…a very small garage that is VERY challenging to get into. I have to back in which I’ve never been very good at, but since doing it since last summer, I am getting better, (it only takes me 2-3 maneuvers instead of 5or 6!!!!!) but it’s made more challenging with the 15 inches of snow that we got last week, here in Minneapolis!!!!

  • It was several winters ago here in Western New York when The Big Storm hit while I was at work. Home is a half hour and 30 miles away. But through the driving snow, falling at an insane rate and the lack of lights of the expressway, my half hour became 2 hours of white knuckle driving and copious prayers. If it hadn’t been so cold, I would have kissed my driveway upon arrival! And I did not mind a bit celebrating the “Snow Day” that next day while I knit by the fireplace and sipped hot tea.

  • I was the passenger, couldn’t have done the driving, but my most challenging experience was not becoming hysterical while riding in our tiny rental car driving in northeast Scotland. For a few hours we were driving along the coast, incredibly beautiful scenery with the surf crashing at the foot of dramatic cliffs and the Atlantic stretching out forever to the east – but we were driving along the top of those cliffs, with a sheer drop into the Atlantic on the right side and a rock wall to the left. Best of all, this was a single-track road and the signs helpfully warned, “Oncoming Vehicles in the Middle of the Road” (!). There was almost no other traffic luckily, have no idea what people did when there was an oncoming car (or lorry) since there were not a lot of passing places on this route.

  • I’m from MN and SD, so dicey driving has always been a part of my life. I was driving in a snow storm near Duluth, MN. My now-husband, who is now a full-fledged Minnesotan, but had just moved from FL at the time, was riding and I was driving. It was snowing so hard and so fast that the only thing we could see were slight indentations on either side of the highway that were the snow-filled ditches/median. With few other cars on the road, we decided to drive right down the middle of the road, with our stated goal: Don’t go anywhere near the ditch!” We figured if we could stay on pavement, we wouldn’t get stuck. Success!

  • Driving a U-Haul from Maine to Colorado with a toddler. As a bonus the truck broke down on I-70 in St. Louis. For those not familiar, it is very busy and barely a shoulder.

  • Summer cloudburst in Houston back when I was a teen driver – makes 1″/hour look like child’s play. There was no way my windshield wipers (or anyone else’s) could keep up. Luckily it was over almost as soon as it started.

  • A winter blizzard-y day in Syracuse, NY. Made it through an intersection on a very slight downslope – but why were my brakes not working?! Ohh, slipping on snow covered ice! In slo-mo, I saw my car slowly and gracefully drive directly into the car in front of me. Pump, pump, pump – steer into the skid – softened the angle. Luckily everyone was going no more that 5 mph, so no dents or injuries! I’ll never forget that feeling of seeing the accident play out before me with no control over stopping it.

  • I was working in DC after living and working in the mountains of California. Two other staff and I had a meeting in Lake Tahoe then rented a car to cross the mountains to staff a hearing in the foothills the next day. I was the only one familiar with mountain driving, and fortunately the 2-lane highway was one I knew well, but I hadn’t been there for over 10 years. It was August. At dusk we crossed the mountain pass and snow began falling. I had to drive my two passengers down the mountain as snow built up and no snow plows to be seen. There was no traffic going our way, and little traffic in the opposite direction, but it was white knuckles as I worried about getting my passengers safely down the mountain, no chains in the rental car, nowhere to stop, and appearing as confident as possible. We made it!

  • My most challenging drive was Phantom Canyon Road in the Colorado Rockies. It was unpaved at that time and followed an old rail track, in some places barely wider than a railway line. The Road to Hana on Maui is a close second. It’s tricky due to hairpin turns, narrow bridges, feral pigs and irate locals.

  • My first trip to Europe. My husband was supposed to meet me in Graz, Austria. His flight was delayed so I was on my own to drive to the hotel. All the street signs were in German. I was given a mini van to drive which was big for the very narrow streets. I quickly learned that Ein Baun means One Way. Of course I was going the wrong way. I couldn’t back up or turn around because there were cars and people everywhere since it was late morning just before the shops were to close at noon. So I just stopped and waited until noon to proceed. I was told to look for a blue building for the hotel. Drove round and round the center of the village. Asked a construction worker for directions who was sitting on the curb having a beer, haha. He pointed behind himself. There was my hotel which was now natural brick. There was scaffolding in front of the building which covered the name of the Schlossgarten hotel. Parking in the garage across the street was another adventure. Finally checked in after starting this adventure five hours earlier only to have to leave again to pickup my husband from the airport. Ugh!

  • That is AWESOME! I’ve been a NASCAR fan for a long time and followed Matty D. since he was in the #95 in the cup series. How cool we live in such a small world. If I had the opportunity I’d be there on the 20th.

  • On our honeymoon out East. Husband got sick in the middle of the night from clams. Had to take him to the ER in a stick shift rental. Had never driven stick so the lurches compounded the nausea. Needless to say, he was unhappy and I was sweating. We’ll celebrate 57 years of marriage in June. It’s now a family story where everyone can laugh at mom.

  • Recently driving after an ice storm! Slid across the road and hit the curb, and thankfully no one else. Managed to get myself home where I stayed the rest of the day.

  • My parents did not let me drive before I took driver’s training in high school. I was out on the road at night. It started to rain so the instructor told me to turn the windshield wipers on. I reached for a knob and turned the lights off. He was not happy.

  • Driving in Ireland. Not only does traffic go in a different direction, the width of the roads is minuscule! AND people there park wherever they happen to stop. There might have been a sideswipe situation where the Guarda said, “don’t let it ruin your holiday!”

  • Driving my car through Pennsylvania on I-80 in a driving rain storm and almost being driven off the road by a LARGE semi that apparently couldn’t see me. Harrowing and challenging at the same time.

  • Most challenging driving experience was just on NYE – we decided to drive home in a rain storm and the highways were dark and empty. Scariest drive ever!

  • Driving to work after a snowstorm, a deer ran right in front of me. I hit a patch of black ice trying to avoid it, and spun out in my minivan.Thankfully no one else was out and I didn’t go off the road into the guardrail.

  • England. So, So wrong to drive on the left-hand side of the road.

  • Rental truck stuck crossways on a steep narrow driveway while trying to move out after a broken relationship…tears were shed…worst driving experience ever…WAAAY too much emotion all over the place!

  • Hi Ann and Kay, Thanks for sharing, this is the stuff I live for. I wish I had been there with a large bowl of potato chips and cold beverages to share. I might have asked to sit in the passenger seat of the hauler. Yes, Matt DiBenedetto is known in the NASCAR world as one of the best liked drivers — he is a gentleman on the track and off. He recently moved into the truck series from the “Cup Series”. I spend an extraordinary amount of time following racing — it pairs well with knitting. Wishing you the pole position and checkered flag, Ellen

  • Driving on Chicago roads anytime and especially in the bad winter weather.

  • There have been a lot of bad driving experiences this winter already (ice/snow), but probably the worst driving experience was in a 1979 VW bug convertible when its brakes went out.

  • Atlanta anytime.

  • Driving from the ski slopes to an emergency room in my old VW bug with manual transmission. Had to drive up over the top of the mountain and down the other side of twisty roads. My left hand had multiple broken bones but there were far more serious injuries at the resort due to ice, so I was told to drive to hospital. Road conditions wretched and my companion couldn’t drive a stick shift. (Injury wasn’t even my fault — a hot-dogging teen skiing out of control crashed into me from the side.)

  • A rental moving truck my friend drove to help move me between cities. The engine started smoking on the highway and we had to call for help and ditch it on the side of the road. Eventually a tow truck came and got us to our destination. The whole trip took about 10 hours instead of two. The rental company wouldn’t give us any discount because we “ got to our destination eventually so what was the problem?”!!!

  • Backing out of the driveway of my childhood home while my father is yelling “don’t hit the telephone pole.” 🙂

  • Driving on I-4 near Orlando and Disney is VERY challenging no matter what time of day. Nothing is more challenging!

  • Driving thru a white out snow squall on the NY Thruway in November a few years back. I could not even see the shoulder of the road for a while. Beyond nerve wracking…

  • My sister (who was sporting a full cast on her left leg) and I delivered an angel costume for our niece’s Christmas pageant. Sounds easy, right? We were leaving Kansas City at 4:00 P.M. for a four-hour drive to St. Louis in the middle of a terrible snowstorm. After driving VERY carefully and praying that I would stay on the highway as I drove over the Missouri River bridges, we pulled into the driveway at 2:00 A.M. much to our sister’s relief. Obviously, we had never heard of next-day delivery.

  • driving not a favorite sport ever. Even winter.

  • moving from florida to illinois with a baby and trying to back up into a single driveway with a fully loaded trailer, stick shift transmission and a screaming child!

  • I was teaching knitting workshops in Wyoming. This was before cell phones were common, in the late ‘80’s. I had a rental car and time to explore, so drove to a national park across the SD state line, alone. The park was quiet and I had given up hope of seeing anything interesting when around the corner my car was suddenly surrounded by bison as large as my car. Of course I had heard all the stories of bison vs autos. Autos never win. Apparently they were not at all interested in me (quietly having a panic attack). One bison nosed around the stopped car and the herd wandered off the road to allow me to pass. When I stopped shaking It was time for me to get back to the hotel!

  • What I noticed in the 1st photo was that rather large coiled up thing on a table. Please explain what that is. I thought that would be part of the story. My most challenging driving experience would have to do with driving in a blizzard, deep snow, or on ice, somewhere in NE Ohio, circa 1975-1995. I don’t drive in storms any more, I just stay home and hope the electricity does not go out.

    • Ha! You’re not alone as I also saw a large coiled up thing. After reading the story and going back several times to look at the ‘coil’ I realized it was DRAWN on the photo to point out the semi in the distance trying to enter the gate. You’ve made me feel better for not being the only one to see a giant coil on the table!

      • This is one of Ann’s 56,982 photos? Every picture tells a story (Rod Stewart)!

  • Definitely driving abroad!

  • Driving over the “Dinosaur Bridge” from Dover Delaware, to Wilmington Delaware. You would have to drive it to believe it.

  • East or west coast of Lake Michigan. Dense fog at night along the West Coast, blowing snow along the southeast coast when the wind I off the lake.

  • My driving challenge was driving on a busy highway with my daughter who was 2 yrs old. In the next lane, a transport truck lost control ending up on the grassy median and the load of cattle he was transporting fell out and walking all over the road. The cattle didn’t look disturbed at all but I was! All ended well but it was an experience!

  • I was 17 with a 5 month fresh driver’s license and a 1973 Chevy Impala, aka land yacht.

    Earlier in the day, my best friend plowed into the back of my car at a stop light that was yellow, about to go red. Her mom’s 1975 Grand Torino’s hood pinched up like a sock puppet pulling a face. She didn’t think I’d stop for a yellow (this is NJ, WHAT was I thinking!).

    Few hours later, hanging out with my friends in a local neighborhood where we all parked on the street and just hung out near a little grassy area with some shrubs. Time to go home, walk up the hill to get my car at my boyfriend’s house. Got in the car, it roars to life on all 6 of it’s 8 cylinders. Start rolling down the hill to drive past my friends and head home, going faster now, stomping on the brakes, faster still, stomping on the emergency brake realizing now I have no brakes at all. Laying on the horn, friends gawking in disbelief, head out the window screaming NO BRAKES, NO BRAKES and finally coming to a rest after aiming for and taking out the row of shrubs.

    Someone takes me home (don’t even remember who) tell my dad what happened because no cell phones, this was 1982. Next day my cousin comes with his tow truck, looks over the car. Manages to get the trunk open with a screw driver because the locks busted. Turns out the undercarriage was so rusted there was a 2×4 inside the width of the trunk with a tow chain wrapped around it holding the body to the rear end. When my friend hit me earlier, she shifted the body forward (which explains why my car had seemingly no damage) and the brake lines were cut.

    My dad was horrified, my cousin was screaming about him buying me a death trap. Many years later it’s a funny story and shows how I paid attention in drivers ed and my driving prowess at 17. This same car, the day before had caught fire in the inspection line because it kept stalling out and the constant restarting heated up the muffler which ignited the unknown books of matches under the back seat. Queue 17 yr old girl freaking out in the line at DMV in Daisy Dukes and Dr Scholl’s and a tube top. Guys running out with fire extinguishers, charred back seat, car PASSED inspection. You can’t make this stuff up and I swear on any book or artifact anyone finds holy that I did NOT make this up. True story.

  • Driving a rental car in England with a bad clutch

  • My older sister teaching me to drive a stick shift in 1971. Everything was going well. It was fun! Then we came to a stop sign on a hill and birth order mode was engaged. She was bossy and sarcastic, I was crying and embarrassed. We eventually made it home. Ugh!

  • Costa Rica! Mountains, unpaved roads, potholes, ruts, and no outdoor lighting at night but the stars.

  • Driving from Oklahoma to North Carolina in my tiny 1976 Honda Civic, I rounded a long bend on I40 in the mountains in Tennessee and came face-to-face with a driver speeding the wrong way towards me in my lane. I was in the left lane passing another car. In what was probably milliseconds but felt like a week, I threw the wheel to the right, and thankfully the other driver sped up and I was able to get to the shoulder without hitting him. I sat there for a long time before I composed myself enough to drive to the next exit and find a motel room for the night.

  • The most challenging driving condition is the one where I’m driving. I much prefer driving conditions where I am passengering: managing the listening, reading, knitting, doling out snacks and drinks, and making pithy chatter.

  • Teaching my daughter how to drive! She was so scared I had to take her to the local college parking lot on a Sunday and she still broke out in hives.Poor kid. She is still a nervous driver and rider!

  • Driving Engineer Pass – narrow road, tight turns, high levels of exposure on either side = not super fun for someone with a fear of heights!