I have previously written about how car-addicted society U.S is here. Then I lamented about how I am not able to do anything because I don't have a car. So now I bought a car. I wrote about my first impressions about driving on U.S roads here. So these are some of my experiences driving the car in a utterly new country. I do know the rules - Stop at stop sign, maintain speed limit, yield and drive on right side of the road etc - or otherwise how could they have given me license. Somethings which we take from granted in India cannot be done here and therein lies the problem.
Two big things which you cannot do here are - 1. you cannot stop and ask anyone for directions (Actually nobody walks on the roads - so even if you tried to do this, you will find no one to ask. And if you really tried to go near someone - they might be afraid that you have guns and shoot you before you even speak a word) 2. You cannot stop on the road wherever you want or TURN BACK or other direction once you passed it. So even though I know these things, the effects of these are not so clear if you don't experience it. So without further ado, this is my story.
Story 1: Even before I bought my car, I wanted to visit the temple at Bridgewater once. I was just interested to see how different it is from our temples. So when I bought a car, I wanted to drive there. I didn't have a GPS set at that time, so I hesitated a bit. But the Google maps application on my phone came to my rescue. I put the address in the maps and followed the instructions and successfully reached the temple. I was happy that I was able to drive that far without any problems. So I was a little relaxed when I was going back. The temple is at Exit 17 (think mile marker 17, except that you can go out of the highway only at that place) and my home was at Exit 40 on I-287. It is a four lane highway on one side i.e 8 lane highway. We can enter and exit only from the rightmost lane i.e the exit lane. I was travelling on the lane to the left of the exit lane till exit 39. I was happy that I was about to reach my home. Suddenly I saw that I was not going towards exit 40 but I am on a different highway I-80. Thank Google, my phone gps safely brought me back to my home. Later I realized that highways merge into other highways and if you are not careful you might go into some other road and you might have trouble reaching your destination. So I came back after half an hour I was supposed to come home.