Road trip snacks are some of the best things available to us when we are in the middle of a long and arduous drive. I learned that the hard way.

At 8am in San Diego, I began a rideshare with a woman I had met just for that express purpose. The trip started out great. It was a sunny, clear-skied day in southern California. The roads were clear and we made great progress. As we wound our way across the southern tip of California, onward toward where we would split in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we chatted about so many things.

One of the things I expressed to her was how grateful I was for ridesharing. She concurred- I was saving her gas money and providing her a lively driving companion. Not only was I helping to stave off the boredom of a long drive, but I was helping her stay awake as the day turned to night.

By nightfall, she asked if I cared to drive. We stopped at a small gas station where she bought some snacks, asking if I wanted to come in and do so. “No, thank you- I’m not hungry,” was my reply. Little did I know that was an almost fatal mistake. As it was, it was a very costly decision.

Not long after that stop, I fell asleep at the wheel. A complete 360, windows blown out, doors crumpled, a “Careless Driving” ticket, and thousands of dollars later, I was left to reflect upon the dangers I had put us both in. Luckily, neither of us were bodily injured. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had simply bought some great cookies to keep me up, if I wouldn’t have found myself in that predicament.

I never heard from that woman again- she probably hates me to this day. I made the situation as right as I could by paying for a new used car, her hotel stay, and making sure she could stay in touch if any accident-related injuries surfaced later. But I will never forgive myself for putting us both in danger, and potentially other motorists too, all because I was too stubborn to buy a few snacks and drinks to keep myself awake late at night.

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