“On my first trip to Italy, I found myself in Rome in heavy traffic, riding out to the highway that leads to Florence. We were driving during the rush hour in winter, and so the sun was setting, and the unique pastel colors of the eternal city made the old buildings come alive in the warming light.”
From "The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life" by Thomas Moore
How to interpret "riding out to" here?
A person is either driving a car or riding in a car. Does "riding" here imply that the writer himself was not driving the car? Because the following sentence tells us that they were driving during the rush hour, I guess the writer’s family was driving the car. But I am not sure.
Does "out" imply that they were going to a remote place or does it simply mean out of traffic?