How The Interstate Highway System Unintentionally Improves Your Marriage

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It's road trip season, so raise your hand if you grew up in the back seat of some car bound for a National Park or Disneyland or your long lost aunt's house across the country in which you witnessed a few throwdowns between your parents who were trying to navigate with a paper map on a Summer road trip.

This short video from Yahoo is so fast and packed with facts that it's really only helpful for telling you one thing that you might not know: there's a method to the numbering system and you can actually tell a lot about a road based on its number. I think most of us understand that odd numbered highways run north-south, and even numbered highways east-west. Oh but it gets better. Those odd numbered interstates increase as you go east, and even interstates increase as you go north. For example, Interstate 5 is on the west coast whereas Interstate 95 is on the east coast; similarly, I-10 runs across the southern U.S. whereas I-90 the northern U.S. Starting to get it?

What's really helpful are the three-digit interstates. These are spurs or auxiliary routes that either loop around or bisect an urban area. The first digit is a prefix, the last two digits refer to that highway's parent. Examples: I-610 at Houston, Texas. Because the first digit, 6, is even, I know that if I mistakenly get on that highway even though what I wanted to do was stay on I-10 I can just stay on I-610 and it'll loop back to I-10. No need to flip out, stop traffic, figure out how to make a u-turn. Just keep going, everything will be fine. Should this actually instigate a fight with your spouse, play your cards right and this spur is not only brings you back to your original route but is also a road to fantastic make up sex, um, hug.

Although there are a number of exceptions to the rules, confusing all manner of stationwagon navigators and helmsmen alike. So, do some reading up.  Or learn to go with the flow. You can't always rely on the GPS.

The point? Know how to navigate the easy streets to enjoy as soon as possible the dirt roads that take you to places like this. Put the kids to sleep, sneak out of the tent, and . . . well, you know.

photo via Lyza on Flickr


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