All right. Calm down. Relax. Take a breath. But don't relax too much. You're in one of the most terrfying cities to drive in. The scenery might be interesting, but, let's face it: You're lost.

Keep in mind that Boston is a maze filled with crazy-ass drivers and their mortal enemies: the pedestrians. Unlike places like New York, here "DON'T WALK" means "well, you might want to consider it...hell, why not." So you have to keep your wits about you. You want out, you want the relative "safety" of Route 128 (I-95 for outsiders). Let's try to get to it.

Step One: The Hazards of the Journey (What Not to Do)

  • DON'T think that driving straight will somehow take you directly out. More often than not, a large, multilaned street will turn into a blind alley, even if you somehow manage to stay in the "Straight ahead" lanes.
  • DON'T try to follow a numbered route. Oh, on the map Route 28 might look easy to find, but trust me, it will dance out of your grasp like the gingerbread man. Reassurance markers? What are you, kidding?
  • DON'T stop on the street to look at a map. One, this will cause the driver in back of you, probably me, to want to wipe you off the face of the planet, and two, you have to feel it....trance it, in the words of Will Self.
  • Lastly, once you reach a highway, DON'T try to pull any super-clever, I'm-going-to-take the-backroads approach, no matter how bad the traffic jam. Leave that to the professionals.

Got it? Good, now that that's out of the way...

Step Two: Survey the Scene

This is something you can do if you're driving, provided you can read signs and not slow down. It would be better for you to stop somewhere, if you're lucky enough to find a place. You need to find out where you are. Let's go through the process:

Find a street sign. This is a good first step. If you recognize it, then good, use it to your advantage. Try to find a cross street, rather than an address. Numbers don't help anybody.

Find out what neighborhood you're in. All right, maybe the name doesn't help you. Fine. There are other clues:

If you are looking at a street sign, what style is it?

Boston is peppered with parking permit signs. Usually this will say the neighborhood.

Landmarks are also important clues. Boston related nodes should help you out there.

Step Three: Getting Out

This is usually easier than it seems. One basic way is this: When in Rome. Follow everyone else, except for: taxis, buses, and cars with rims worth more than the car. Especially during afternoon rush hour, which in Boston runs from about 5 AM to 11 AM in the morning, and 3 PM to 8 PM at night. (Think I'm kidding? No way.) Usually, everyone's clearing out. Massive traffic jam? Good. Join it. Love it. Again, no backroads. Don't even think about it.

Other ways include:

And that's about it. Hopefully that helps. If not, well, you can always abandon your car and take the T. Maybe next time you'll take that instead!

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