How to give a complete stranger driving directions

How to give a complete stranger driving directions

Have you ever been out and about and been stopped abruptly by someone needing driving directions? How about not knowing the whereabouts enough yourself to give adequate direction? Giving driving directions doesn’t really require you to be articulate and totally knowledgable all of the time about the towns that you may be traveling in.

There are a couple things you should probably know and possess out there on the roads: a driving map of the state you live in/county you live in, a compass, local landmarks and main roads/highways/intersections, and the nearest gas stations or rest stops. A fair sense of direction is all that is needed. If you happen to have a great sense of direction, or you are a truck driver or something of that kind, then you probably don’t have to read this.

If you have gotten to your present destination with little difficulty, you probably did so because you either followed good driving directions, know the area somewhat, or are able to navigate yourself around with some potential. Or, you may have ended up where you are on a whim WITH difficulty. In this case, you probably wouldn’t be the best candidate for giving directions, especially on that given day.

We all get lost at times. Sometimes even those computerized driving directions can seem awkward and inaccurate. Most times, when you’re the one who is lost, it is best to stop at a gas station and ask them or use one of their maps (usually posted on the wall of the test center). But, when giving directions, it’s best to give as much information that you possibly know to the person asking, as sometimes, even a familiar street name may prompt the person to know where they enough to find their way to or from.

So, don’t be stingy with information. Just because you can’t tell that person exactly how to get to a destination, doesn’t mean you can’t clue them in on some main streets and major landmarks, shops, or eyesores in the area. These just may be the clues the individual is looking for.

Have compassion for people who are lost. Just remember the times when you were lost and hoping to come upon some knowledgeable person walking down the street, who would assist you out of the kindness in getting where you needed to go. People who are lost on the road are usually at a very vulnerable point, so be somewhat concerned and helpful, even if you really don’t know all that much, as stated earlier.

Some things to avoid saying to people who are lost on the road: When asked: “Do you know how to get to_______?” … DO NOT reply: “I don’t know”, “Ask someone else,” “I’m not familiar with this area”, “I have no idea” or shrug, ignore the person, or walk away. There is really no excuse for the above replies or behavior.

If you REALLY don’t know, given a certain set of circumstances, say politely, “I’m sorry. I honestly do not know how to direct you, as I barely made it here myself, but the nearest gas station is one block on the left.” Get it?

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