Saturday, August 20, 2011

New England driving rants

  • Rant #1: No or missing street signs. There appears to be a law that any intersection can have at most one street sign. Sometimes none. Never two or more.
  • Rant #2: Which lane do I stay in to go straight through an intersection? When approaching an intersection, Bostonians will queue up into two lanes (although there is no painted line separating them). Sometimes the left of the two lanes is treated as a left-turn-only lane while the other lane is a right-or-go-straight lane. Other times the left of the two lanes is a left-or-go-straight lane and the other is a right-turn-only lane. These are not marked, but townies know how they want them to be used, and they will let you know with hand gesticulations if you are using them incorrectly.

  • Rant #3: When you are the first person in the go-straight lane, you are expected to pause and allow exactly one car from the oncoming left-turn lane turn left before you proceed into the intersection. This is an expected courtesy; again, locals will let you know with hand gesticulations if you do not provide it.
  • Rant #4: toll road exit numbers have no connection to mile markers. If you went by exit numbers, you'd think that New York is only 62 miles across and Massachusetts is only 26 miles across. This applies only to toll roads; if you exit a toll road onto a freeway interstate, exit numbers again match mile markers (as in the rest of the free world). Unnecessarily confusing.


D.J. Free! said...

O.M.G. I could NOT survive in Boston! Seriously. I would just take the bus or train system everywhere. On top of poor signs and there being absolutely crude drivers everywhere, they also tend to be a bunch of racist bastards to boot! When we visit, we will not want to spend much time in the city. Thanks :)

naturgesetz said...

Welcome to eastern Massachusetts!

One rule of thumb you could use is that the longer line is the straight ahead line (or at least that it is the safer one to be in).

Of course, it only takes a couple of times following a particular route to become familiar with things such as which lane to get in and when your exit is coming.

I'm not very familiar with Lowell, but I gather it has become quite pleasant. My dad was born there and spent much of his childhood in Chelmsford. (In his day, the "l" was silent. If you hear someone say "Chemsford" or better still "Chempsford," you know he's local or has inside info. "Chellmsford" is for newcomers.)