Saturday, August 28, 2010

Remembering how to drive

Dear New York drivers,

While returning from Brooklyn today, I realized that many of you seem to have forgotten necessary driving lessons that would make all our lives a lot easier.  To remedy this, here is my list of things you should dredge up out of your memory banks and dust off.

First, road signs are there for a reason.  I know that multi-tasking might be tough, but I promise you can take your eyes off the road long enough to read them.  If you're having difficulties with this, hanging up the cell phone might help.  You see, road signs are incredibly good at letting you know where it is you're supposed to go and what lane you need to be in, which leads us to tip number two.

Anticipate a change.  Those crazy engineers that design roadways are actually really smart, and they have made sure that almost every change in a major highway is announced at least one mile in advance.  When you see these announcements, the key thing to do is follow where they tell you to go.  For example, if a sign says the exit you need will be on the right in one mile, continuing to speed down the left lane past cars that are stopped in the right lane is maybe not the best idea.  The reason for this is because you will rapidly reach your exit and have to slam on your brakes, stopping traffic in your lane, to try to move into the lane that you should have joined a mile ago.  I know it seems like speeding past those twenty cars and then edging in will put you in first, but in reality, behavior like this really just slows everyone down.  Anticipating a change is also very helpful when two lanes are merging, as the signs that mark those off usually tell you which lane is closing.  Therefore, you can make your way into the correct one before your lane stops and again avoid slamming on your brakes and generally being a frustration and danger to those around you.

Lastly, when you do need to change lanes because you've read a sign and know where you need to be, follow these few simple steps.  One- signal your lane change with your blinkers, even if you think they are only for turning.  Two- check your mirrors, but also turn your head to check your blind spots on the side you're moving towards.  This will prevent you from careening sideways into a small car that does not appear in your mirrors.  Assess the space you have and the speed you need to be at, then make a move.  Due to the massive number of people that drive around New York City, you will have to do this in a very decisive manner.  Do not hesitate and try not to change your speed too much.  There are few things more annoying than having someone move into your lane ahead of you and then slam on their brakes for no good reason.

If you manage to follow these tips, I promise that life will be much easier for all of us.  After all, there is no good reason why it should take me 45 minutes to go two miles on the Van Wyck Expressway.  After all, it's supposed to be express.


P.S.  Please don't think I'm picking on you, New Yorkers.  The rest of the world could benefit from these tips too.  I'm only addressing this to you because it was your traffic that gave me a headache this afternoon.  And because I really like your city and don't want bad drivers to ruin that love.


  1. So check this intersection out
    | | | | |
    | | | | |
    |<-- | <--| | -->|
    | L | L | | R |
    | | | | |
    |Guy | ME | | |

    2 Left turn only lanes, one straight, one right turn only.

    Had a guy go straight from the leftmost turning lane despite me and several other cars turning from the lane on his right.

    Of course, thats in Mass.

  2. So blogspot doesnt interpret spaces correctly. Ignore the diagram.