DRIVING IN BOSTON
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DRIVING IN BOSTON
Entered on: 05/19/1998
Basic Rules for Driving in Boston: (Subject to change at any time)
Boston is often acclaimed as the most exciting city in America in
which to drive. Who would argue? Herewith, for newcomers and
visitors, are a few basic rules of the road for driving in these parts:
-- To obtain a general idea of how to drive in Boston, go to a
Celtics game and carefully watch the fast break. Then get behind
the wheel of your car and practice it.
-- Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and
left before proceeding.
-- When in doubt, accelerate.
-- Very generally speaking, the intransigence of the Boston driver
is directly proportional to the expense of his American-made car,
and inversely proportional to the expense of his foreign-made car.
But in applying this formula, bear in mind that they are all more
or less intransigent.
-- When on a one way street, stay to the right to allow traffic to
pass coming the other direction.
-- Drivers whose cars sport "I Brake For Animals" bumper stickers
may brake for animals, but they may not brake for you. Watch it.
- Teenage drivers believe they are immortal. Don't yield to the
temptation to teach them otherwise.
- Taxicabs should always be given the right of way, unless you are
bent on suicide.
- Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under
the wheels of your car. Most multicar pileups are caused this way.
- The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you
see. Grab it.
- Learn to swerve abruptly. Boston is the home of slalom driving,
thanks to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which puts potholes in key
locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.
- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive body work.
- Double-park in the North End of Boston, unless triple-parking is
-- Always look both ways when running a red light.
-- While it is possible to fit a 15-foot car into a 15-foot parking
space, it is seldom possible to fit a 16-foot car into a 15-foot
parking space. Sad but true. Don't even think of finding a 20 ft space.
-- There is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic in
-- Rush 'Hour' generally only lasts from 7am until 8pm.
-- It is traditional in Boston to honk your horn at cars that don't
move the instant the light changes. Color doesn't matter.
-- Never put your faith in signs that purport to provide directions.
They are put there to confuse people who don't know their way around
the city. And to confuse those who do but are detoured by the Big Dig.
-- Use extreme caution when pulling into breakdown lanes. Breakdown
lanes are not for breaking down, but for speeding, especially during
rush hour. Breakdown lanes may also end without warning causing
traffic jams as people merge back in.
-- Never use directional signals, since they only confound and
distract other Boston drivers, who are not used to them.
-- Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Boston drivers,
unuse to such courtesies, will think you are waving them on to pass you.
-- The yellow light is not, as commonly supposed outside the Boston
area, a signal to slow down. It is a warning to speed up and get
through the intersection before the light turns red. As a result,
yellow lights only light for a quarter of a second.
-- Seeking eye contact with another driver revokes your right of way.
- Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. Sidewalks
-- In making a left turn from the right lane, employ the element
of surprise. That is, do it as suddenly as possible, so as to stun
other drivers. Crossing entire 4 lane roads in one block always
gains the respect and salutes.
- Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel
- Whenever possible, stop in the middle of a crosswalk to ensure
inconveniencing as many pedestrians as possible.
-- Remember that the goal of every Boston driver is to get there
first, by whatever means necessary.
-- Above all, keep moving.
And good luck. You'll need it.
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