to Ask for Driving Directions (Without Feeling Dumb)
When you get lost, what do you do? Not everyone has a GPS or reliable map. Do you keep driving? Do you backtrack? The answer should be simple really, just stop and ask someone for directions!
Although not everyone is comfortable asking for directions, it is an effective way to get back on track, and find your destination. If you’re visiting a new city in your car rental, getting lost or taking a wrong turn, especially if there is construction or a detour, isn’t uncommon. So don't be shy or embarrassed. Here are some tips for how to ask for good driving directions:
• First, admit you are lost. If your pride gets in the way, it can also take you miles off track. As soon as you recognize that you are not headed in the correct direction, or even if your car rental passengers realize you are off course, stop, find a location to ask for directions, and save yourself the time and hassle of getting even more lost.
• Who should you ask? Pulling over and asking someone who is walking the street is likely not the most effect method of asking for directions. People often won’t approach a strange car, nor will they feel comfortable talking to a complete stranger. The best method is to pull into a small, locally owned shop. Big box stores often employ younger workers who don’t know their way around. Find a small shop, where the owner is more likely to live locally and have an understanding of the area. Gas stations are the most common spot to stop. If the attendant at the gas station doesn’t know how to direct you to your destination, the station likely sells maps that you can look at or purchase to help you find your way.
• How should I ask? Be polite and be direct. If you are honest about your predicament, you’re more likely to receive honest help. If you show your frustration to the person you’re asking for help, don’t expect a pleasant response. Remember your manners, ask politely, and say thank you after. If the person doesn’t know the exact address you’re headed to, try using landmarks, or neighborhood names.
• Write it down! One of the biggest mistakes people make when asking for driving directions after a wrong turn in their car rental vehicle is to incorrectly remember the directions. Think about playing telephone as a child. As the information gets passed down the line, it becomes less accurate. If you have a pen and paper, or the store clerk has one, write down their instructions, or have them write the directions down as they explain the route to you.
• Do I trust them? If the person you ask for directions sounds confident, they likely know the area. Listen for landmark information. Often locals who travel streets everyday might misplace the actual road names, but are extremely accurate with visual landmark directions. If they mix landmarks and street names, you can bet the driving directions are trustworthy.
• Follow the directions. Just because you think you recognize a street once you’re back on your way, doesn’t mean you should abandon the directions you were given. Follow the directions exactly as stated. If you are not confident in the driving directions you received, pull your car rental vehicle over and ask again.
• Call us! Don’t be afraid to pull over and call your independent car rental location. The staff there are experts when it comes to customer service and usually have an in depth knowledge of the city. They will be able to pull up directions using MapQuest or Google Maps to help you get back on the road…in the right direction. This is an excellent option when there are no local businesses in sight.
• Plan ahead. If the thought of asking for driving directions makes you anxious, plan ahead. Purchase a GPS, or rent a car with a GPS included. If you are not a fan of GPS systems, buy or print off local maps and jot down your directions before you depart.
Getting lost on any car rental excursion is typically not on the agenda, but when it happens, it’s important that you correct the mistake immediately. Find a safe looking neighborhood, pull over at a local store, and ask for directions. If you’re still stuck, or you just want to hear a reassuring voice, feel free to call your independent car rental location.