No matter how good the tunes or the scenery, every car journey is significantly improved by a solid rotation of driving games. By now, you’ve spied all there is to spy, and asked about a million more questions than 20, so up your game game with these eight -- all suitable for people old enough to hold a license. Is that Jennifer Lawrence at the stoplight? Eh… probably not.
1. Guess that franchise
Basic Idea: Guess the next franchise that either pops up on the side of the road or on the next rest stop sign.
Suggested Rules: Keep your eyes on the map. As you shake off the East Coast and its weird quirks while journeying west (why does everyone like chowder so much?), oft-talked about legends like In-N-Out burger begin popping up everywhere. The game gets harder as you get into unfamiliar territories. You can’t anticipate a Piggly Wiggly if you didn’t know it was a place to begin with. The winner has lunch bought for them.
2. Radio Roulette
Basic Idea: Press shuffle on the FM Radio and be forced to listen to whatever it is for ten minutes. Because it’s FM radio, it will most likely be the same four songs on rotation (all of them featuring The Weekend) so the game might get old pretty quickly.
Suggested Rules: If you can’t handle it, the person that messed up has to play his or her next round on AM Radio. Brutal. You don’t just come back from that.
3. (The Gas) Price Is Right
Basic Idea: Guess the gas price to the nearest tenth of a cent -- a pretty hard game if you’re passing through different states. (Hey New York, it would be cheaper to fill up with blood!)
Suggested Rules: The person furthest away from the right price has to pay for gas next time.
4. Explain A Film Plot Badly
Basic idea: People do this all the time anyway, so you might as well make a game of it. Everyone thinks up a well-known movie, we’re talking The Godfather well-known, but that they somehow haven’t seen. The person whose turn it is has to describe the movie, without outright lying, and everyone takes a turn guessing what it is.
Suggested Rules: Everyone has just one chance to get it right, so if you go around in a circle and no one can guess the answer, the person who described the movie has to give up the title. Whoever hasn’t guessed at least one movie correctly by the next gas stop has to buy a gas station snack for the car to share. Family sized bags only!
5. The Anagram Game
Basic Idea: There are two types of people. Folks with plates like Ch33tah and everyone else. If only for the rest of the ride, live in a world where everyone is as adventurous as Th3 B0SS, and switch up normal license plates to make an anagram.
Suggested Rules: You get extra points if it’s dirty.
6. Who’s the celebrity in the car next to you
Basic idea: Look inside all of the passing cars and name a celebrity that the people in the cars resemble.
Suggested Rules: I see Jessica Chastain! I see Frankie Muniz! The person you are looking at and said celebrity MUST HAVE a resemblance. Two arms and a head aren’t good enough. TRY. If you get blank stares all round, your fellow passengers must name an alternate celebrity who looks more like the person in the car, until some agreement is reached. Whatever, just yell out celebrity names at passing cars and confuse the people you’re yelling at. Fun for all.
Basic idea: It’s like Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf: The Car Game! The bigger the group, the better.
Suggested Rules: You need a quarter, and some shady fellow passengers. Each turn comprises of two people -- the Questioner and the Answerer. The Questioner comes up with something dark, like, “Who here is most likely to marry a jerk?” The Questioner then whispers this question to the Answerer, who has to speak out loud the name of the person they think would do that. Then someone tosses the coin. If heads, the Answerer doesn’t do anything else. The question is never announced to the rest of the car, and it remains between the Questioner and the Answerer. Tails, the Answerer has to repeat the question out loud to the car -- so if you just answered that Jenny is most likely to do something terrible, now the whole car gets to know. The person who has gotten tails the least pays for gas, because now everyone is paranoid, thanks to them.
8. The Lyrics Contest
Basic Idea: If you can keep up with a long, complicated song or -- even harder -- spit fire along with your favorite rapper, you win control of the iTunes for the next few miles.
Suggested Rules: You can’t mess up the lyrics or the tempo. You also can’t let Showtune Greg win. For the sake of your car-mates.