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Driving and Blazing

Blazing and driving is one of the world's greatest pleasures, but I have to avoid a million obstacles to avoid getting caught.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user TIffany Terry

Editor’s Note: This article is for entertainment purposes only.  Do not attempt to reenact anything mentioned in this article.

Blazing while driving is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Before I had my driver’s license, I shuttled all over the Northeast on buses, going from my mom’s house to my dad’s to my brother’s and back again. I’d always have to prepare myself for the bus’s funny smells and general discomfort. As I traveled across the country, I’d stare out the window at cars, longing for the day that I might own my own car and travel at my own pace instead of trying to sleep in a worn-out fabric seat amidst 40 pairs of blaring headphones. At 17, I got my wish, and my beat-up old car became my second room. My long trips went from being chores to being miniature personal journeys. I was free to blast music, eat rest stop fast food, and blaze hard. I’d burn a bunch of CDs, scroll around the FM airwaves looking for local news stations, and pull into a rest area to stealthily roll a joint before hopping back on the road. Once I got out of the city and onto the open road, I forgot about my stresses. If anyone wanted to get in touch with me, they couldn’t, and I had the perfect excuse: I was driving. Very often, I enjoyed my drive more than my destination.


While relieving one kind of stress, driving and blazing raises a few immediate concerns of its own. Getting caught is a very real risk. You could get pulled over for nearly anything, and if your vehicle reeks of weed, you are probably fucked. The best precaution to take is to get in the slow lane and not go more than five miles over the speed limit while you’re smoking—to be safe, I maintain that precaution while driving.

I’ve been verbally chastised once or twice for expressing my love for blazing and driving. Some people say I’m irresponsible. (This comment usually comes from someone who equates driving stoned with driving drunk.) I’ve done both, and I only regret driving drunk. The occasional pot user might easily become too high to drive safely, but since I smoke daily, I never lose my ability to drive. A joint simply makes the ride more enjoyable.

I don’t blaze and drive because I want to get stoned—if I did, I would eat an edible. I smoke at the wheel, because I love the ritual of preparing for the trip, the excitement of pulling over to roll a joint as fast as I can, and waiting until I’m on an empty highway to light the joint. These days, I’m usually smoking in a rental car, which adds a new dimension to the game. I have to make sure every last wisp of smoke goes out the window because any lingering smell could cost me an additional $200. I must be doing a good job, because rental companies have yet to charge me.


I’ve also never been pulled over during these trips. You’d think this would make me more brazen, but I have grown paranoid, because I believe the odds are stacking up against me. As long as I drive carefully and below the speed limit, I am likely to get away without arousing cops’ suspicions, but if the police get real close and see a bearded, brown dude with a hair bun slyly smoking a spliff in the slow lane, they might pull me over. Heck, if any other driver catches me smoking, they might call the cops and give them my plate number. It’s a dick move, but I know potheads who have found themselves in this situation. This is another reason for me to drive friendly. Maybe if I let a narc cut in front of me on the turnpike, they’ll forget about the smoke in my car.

I only have to worry about one other potential witness to my blazing and driving. When I drive on the turnpike, I have to interact with them, and when I do, they look directly into my car. I’m speaking about tollbooth operators. My college roommate worked as a toll collector on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and he told me that he blazed with people driving through the toll. This conflicted my perception of toll collectors as bitter state employees who feel claustrophobic and despise the hundreds of drivers that blow past them every day. Toll collectors are actually as varied as snowflakes, and I never know what kind I’ll get. One day, they’ll say, “Hey! Have a great day!” Another day they’ll say, “Sir, I can’t accept a ticket with coffee all over it.” Either way, the anticipation of driving up to a tollbooth can be stressful when I’m stoned, so I try to make it as quick and unmemorable as possible. The last thing I want is to be stopped long enough for the collector to catch a whiff of the smoke coming out of my car.

I know most of my routes pretty well, so a tollbooth rarely takes me by surprise. Sometimes, when I am in unfamiliar territory, a toll plaza will appear out of nowhere while I’m in the middle of a joint. This is one of the scariest feelings I have had while driving. I have to put the joint out and also either air the car out or cover up the weed smell. Without any other options, I typically stub the cherry out on my tongue and scrunch up my face as I gulp down the ash. I throw the joint into the beverage holder and roll down all the windows. A hundred yards from the toll, I light a cigarette and rapidly puff it to fill the car with tobacco smoke, hoping the scent will bury the weed smoke. One time as I approached the tollbooth, I realized that I had a fucking EZ Pass strapped to my windshield—my entire cover-up was completely unnecessary. I took a sip of my value-sized soda, looked in the rearview mirror, and called myself an idiot as I flew through the toll.

Despite the occasional scare, blazing and driving has proven to be a winning combination. This weekend, during a five-hour drive through Pennsylvania, I visited four rest areas, smoked three fat joints, and listened to lots of Christian radio featuring fake scientists who debunked evolution. I experienced one of my most enjoyable rides in years, and I already know the trip will outshine my Memorial Day drive back to New York, when I’ll be trapped in severe traffic for hours. I might not have as much Christian radio to look forward to, but as long as I’ve stocked up enough papers and can hit up a rest area, I’ll be fine.

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