I’ve been on the road for 15 years now. I do not think that makes me a better driver or an expert one. But I do have 15 years – not 5. I learned how to drive in Vermont where open highways reign supreme, traffic consists of a stop sign with four other vehicles in line and a town with not one light. Surprisingly, Vermont – in my hometown of Randolph – is the only place where I was given 2 traffic violation tickets.
I received my real Driver’s Ed while driving the grid of NYC, the non-grid of Boston city streets, and the Mass Pike more times than I care to remember. From there, I graduated – only to find that most other cities (and subsequently drivers of those cities) are complete idiots on the road. Over the years, I have kept a running tally of worst driver states. It’s all well and fun except when I’m living in one of the lower-ranked cities.
You might just think me a complainer. Or a bad driver. At least less courteous to others. In that, you’d probably be right. Yet I know that my pet-peeve drivers in any other city with adequate drivers would probably pull over in tears due incessant honking. I often dream about a front-facing speaker system so I could use choice words to direct the driver in front of me, or a screen with my running commentary. Imagine if you could get home and check to see how many times you were called an asshole on your commute home. Perhaps none of these things would make the world a better place, but they sure would make me feel better!
- NYC – The only thing about NYC drivers is just how close they tail other cars. It’s like dry humping without the damage. Other than that, they honk when appropriate, flick each other off when deemed necessary and no one takes it personally. They drive fast, swift and with purpose. And besides their parking clusterfuck, their streets make sense.
- Boston – for all the shit Bostonians get for driving, at least they get it done. Sure, the city is hell to navigate but once you know the streets, it gets easier. Like their counterparts in NYC, they honor the right of way, make swift turns and disappear before you are able to find your horn.
- Portland / Washington – most of my Portland driver angst comes primarily from Washington drivers who have crossed the border. That said I do have some major pet peeves.
- Charleston SC – First off, they have no regard for bikes on the road. Secondly, people just drive slower in the south.
- Connecticut – These people like to suddenly break on interstates causing major backups for no apparent reason.
Rules for the Road:
- When the car in front of you wants to make a left hand turn and is stuck – go around them to the right. It’s not that hard people.
- Making a right hand turn? Try not to take the better part of 5 minutes to do it. It should be easy gramps.
- Got the right of way and a green light? Don’t sit there like a jackass and let cars pass in front of you – it’s illegal to block the right of way so wave “sorry” to the oncoming car and get a move on!
- How nice, you want to leave a gap in the road so that car can pass on through? Guess what? There’s a bike lane to your right that still has right of way and is not obligated to stop – you are about to cause an accident.
- If you’re not passing someone, stay in the right hand lane – this goes for inner city streets too.
- Yeah, that sound coming from my car was directed at you. Don’t sit there and put your hands in the air like you can’t do anything and glare at me in your rear view mirror. Take initiative and move, lest you like the sound of my horn. Oh, and grow thicker skin.