Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband and I get along just fine while traveling, until he panics. When he becomes lost or confused as to which way we should turn, it suddenly becomes my fault. He thinks I should have read his mind, known he was going to become confused, and
be able to give him instant directional help.
One day I lost it and threw the Rand McNally at him. I know that probably wasn't a good idea, but he was impatient and rude.
When I do try to help him, he says I’m nagging, I’m wrong, I’m directionally challenged or I couldn’t find my seatbelt with both hands.
Do I need to put up with this abuse? How can we turn our directional relationship into a bit more of a civil conversation?
--You Turn in Yuma
It takes a village to direct an RV. There is a general rule that few people seem to follow in directional relationships. I don’t think it is widely known outside of RV academia. It is called the “Nagivation Theory.”
Everyone in the vehicle has the right and duty to be involved in “Nagivation.” Holding on to the steering wheel does not give one passenger sway over all the others.
In your case, you should both be involved in deciding your route and in navigating it. The old saying, “two heads are better than one” fits perfectly here.
It should take much less "Nagivation" these days if you implement the use of all the tools available for navigation. Instead of using just a map book, familiarize your route using map apps, GPS, and even google earth.
If your husband is a nervous driver, pay close attention when you are coming to decision points and work together to alleviate his anxiety by feeding him information that is helpful before he goes ballistic.
Knowing where you are going is also a safety issue. You don’t want to be making sudden lane changes, quick turns and ducking map missiles.
When coming into a congested area it is better to pull over when convenient and do a bit of studying together so you are both on the same map page.
Doing a bit of homework will eliminate a lot of “Nagivation” and make you less of a "Nagivator"
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink