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Old 09-26-12, 09:05 PM   #1
Daves_Not_Here
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What weird driving behavior do you see in different regions?

Even though this is a cycling forum, I notice that alot of people spend alot of time complaining about how other people drive their ... cars (?!?) But hey, why should I be any different?

So as a valuable public service, I thought I would point out how drivers from various regions can't drive:
  • California -- extremely courteous and laid back, almost comotose. No horn usage. Could be related to recent advances in medical marajuana. Drive 90 mph in left lane like they're supposed to. Paralysed by rain.
  • Philadelphia -- enraged by turn signals, will ram the car in front of them to prevent a lane change. Drive 55 mph in the left lane, leaving 35 mph on the table.
  • New Orleans -- if you discover a New Orleans driver is not drunk, do NOT get in his car as he is dead.
  • New York -- can discuss advances in theoretical physics using only their horn.
  • Portland -- obnoxiously law-abiding. They stay right except to pass judgement on those driving the proper 90 mph in the left lane (ask me how I know this). Cannot safely pump their own gas and instead require assistance from trained professionals.
  • Albuquerque / El Paso -- when approaching a vehicle stopped at a red light, they wait until within 7 feet to begin slowing down.
  • Southeast US -- yield right of way to left turning traffic before proceeding straight.
  • Houston / Dallas -- traffic disputes efficiently settled out of court by Smith, Wesson, et al.
  • Florida -- if you don't like how Floridians drive then stay off the sidewalk. Extensive random directional signal usage.

I have not been able to assess the entire country, so please contribute your regionalized observations as to how other drivers can't drive.

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Dave

Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 09-26-12 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 09-26-12, 09:40 PM   #2
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Springfield, MA: Stopping for red lights is increasingly seen as optional. Not merely squeaking through as it turns red, but going through when it has been red for a few seconds. If you sat and watched certain busy intersections, you would literally see at least one red light runner for every cycle of the lights. This occurs in all parts of the city, nice neighborhoods and bad ones. As a result, wise drivers and cyclists always look both ways before proceeding on a green light.

A few years ago I spent a week in Tacoma, Washington and drove in many areas of the city. I didn't see a single red light runner. People stop on yellow lights there. I hardly heard any honking during the week, and not one car tailgated me as I drove around too slowly trying to figure out where I was going. The contrast was eye-opening, to say the least.
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Old 09-26-12, 10:55 PM   #3
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All of Oregon outside of PDX: Same rules regarding drunkenness as New Orleans.

Also, it is extremely important to spend as much time at the next red light as possible. To this end, Oregonians will put the pedal to the metal in order to pass other motorists between red lights. This could be why at least 25% of all cars with Oregon plates have at least one burned out brake light.

Since science is seemingly not taught in Oregon schools, motorists confuse distance and velocity relationships and just pull out in front of other motorists whenever the urge strikes them.

Oregonians aren't directly paralyzed by rain like drivers in Southern California. Instead, they prefer to crash their cars in it in order to create more than a few indirectly paralyzed former motorists.

It's been two decades since I lived in Lubbock, TX, but at the time every single person was either driving a Suburban or was saving for one. I don't know if that is still true, but it was the smallest car most people could fit into. (At 6'2" 190 pounds, I never felt so tiny as when I lived in Lubbock.)
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Old 09-26-12, 11:06 PM   #4
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Too many steriotypes and broad generalizations in the OP. How can you lump all of Calif. into one behavior pattern? Sacramento is just like L.A.?
Houston and Dallas are different in drving behaviors as well, and in my ~33 years living in the Houston area, I can say I never once saw a shooting on the roadway due to road rage. Plus different areas of the Greater Houston Area have different driving behaviors.
That said, The Alief area in SW Houston traffic is about as good as any large city but of course has many poor drivers as well. Also little-to-no bicycle infrastructure (busses do have bike racks) and high speed inner-city roads. I HATED riding there. On the other hand, eastern Harris county (Baytown) is just a bit slower paced. While there's still no cycling infrastructure, traffic is not as heavy and not as fast in most places.

Edit: Just noticed... this is my 1000th post.

Last edited by kjmillig; 09-26-12 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Self-promoting add-on.
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Old 09-27-12, 01:51 AM   #5
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People in Hawaii hate to turn on their headlights - double-plus-bad in such a rainy place. I often see cars driving around at night with only the parking lights on, but occasionally with everything off. There are enough of them that it seems like this "stealth mode" must be considered fashionable. Lots of cars driving around in fog and heavy rain with no lights on. And of course lots of bikes with no lights or even reflectors.

In Massachusetts I remember the famous Massachusetts left turn, where left turning cars stopped at a red will jump the next green light to turn in front of oncoming traffic going straight. Almost hit some of them before I learned to expect it.
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Old 09-27-12, 06:13 AM   #6
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North Dakota -- Veer slightly to the opposite side before making a turn, ie. drift left before turning right. Of course turn signals are optional.
Minnesota -- During a blizzard you must pull your chest to the steering wheel so that you can get your nose within a couple inches of the windshield, as it is obviously that 16 inches of clear air inside your vehicle that is obstructing your view of the road. Luckily this has limited effects on cycling though that is changing with the introduction of the Pugsley to the area.
Twin Cities -- Lane changes on the freeway do not require the use of a turn signal (or mirrors apparently).
South Dakota -- Speed limits are mere suggestions. Also, don't even think of bicycling within three days of the Sturgis weekend unless you enjoy being buzzed by packs of 50-100 Harley Davidsons.
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Old 09-27-12, 06:17 AM   #7
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This is not so much a driving thing but a cultural thing .
Beer bottles by the hundreds along the shoulder of the road. Some broken some not.

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Old 09-27-12, 06:21 AM   #8
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In Massachusetts I remember the famous Massachusetts left turn, where left turning cars stopped at a red will jump the next green light to turn in front of oncoming traffic going straight. Almost hit some of them before I learned to expect it.
This is the formal definition of "banging a left".

Also, the "Massachusetts shuffle" wherein you cut across 4 lanes of traffic in 10 feet to get to that exit you almost missed.

Actually, you can just watch this (warning for language):

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Old 09-27-12, 06:58 AM   #9
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In Georgia, speed limits are optional. Especially if you drive a Lamborghini, Ferrari or a Porsche to work. Stupidity seems to be relative to how much money you have.

No kidding, there is a guy who drives a lime green Diablo in this traffic around here....?

For instance, people in old clunky beaters seem to have more respect for others on the road than some guy in a Bimmer. Yes, a rhetorical generalized comment I know, but you should come ride on my commute if you want to see it in action... (poster shaking his head....)

The no texting law means absolutely nothing to some women with a minivan full of kids.


Oh, and if you do something stupid and look like an idiot, and someone calls you on it by honking? By all means, shoot them a bird, call them names and even swerve at them in your car if you feel offended by your own stupidity...

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Old 09-27-12, 07:00 AM   #10
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ARK-MO-OK / USA- If you see a car running down the road with it's blinker on for miles you can rest assured it was probably stuck on when they bought the car. People just refuse to signal here.

Drivers are loathe to turn in to the near lane, have to cross every lane of traffic to take turns as widely as possible, no matter how much it obstructs traffic and keeps others from turning and pulling through.

Refusal to turn on headlights in the rain, let alone dusk. I run my lights ALL the time.

A lot of drivers will NOT pull in the left lane for merging traffic on the freeway. Just blindly stare at their hoods and ignore all the traffic trying to get in from the right ramp.

Instead of what's logical when traffic is piling up at a 4 way stop sign, like two opposing cars pulling through the intersection at the same time or 2 (or more) cars making right turns at the same time in opposite directions they still take turns and wait for the other guy to completely clear the intersection before pulling out.

Right turns from LEFT lanes and left turns from RIGHT lanes, geezus people if you missed it you missed it, just go around the block or pull into a parking lot and go around.

Pulling out of driveways, roads, parking lots etc. and stacking the intersection, that is pulling out when there is no room for your car. A lot just sit there diagonally blocking 2 or 3 lanes of traffic because they're too stupid to realize they have NOWHERE to go once they pull out.

Pulling to far out and blocking the crosswalk. The white stop stripe applies not to the FRONT of the car but can mean the rear bumper too. And while you're at it when someone does this in front of you, you have to pull up within inches of their rear bumper so that in the rare occasion they realize they are blocking the crosswalk they can't back up.

And the ever present RUBBERNECKERS. Cripes more than once I sat in traffic for 1/2 hour or better as it crawled along all because of an accident - IN THE OTHER LANE ON A DIVED HIGHWAY. Everyone just HAD to slow down and look despite the accident not even affecting their lane.

Eaters, shavers, texters, phone users while driving. Hell there is so much going on it's a challenge just to do it while paying full attention, put it down and concentrate on driving.
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Old 09-27-12, 07:48 AM   #11
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The Portland Swoop. I saw this particularly on the 5 between Portland and Seattle. Folks in this area stick to the right lane as if glued there, but when they want to pass, they hit the left lane with gusto, drive to the first gap (however slight) and then swoop right... now assured that they are at the head of the line... for the moment.
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Old 09-27-12, 08:34 AM   #12
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The Denver Paradox:

At red lights, nobody stops.
At 4 way stops, nobody goes.
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Old 09-27-12, 09:07 AM   #13
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This is the formal definition of "banging a left".

Also, the "Massachusetts shuffle" wherein you cut across 4 lanes of traffic in 10 feet to get to that exit you almost missed.

Actually, you can just watch this (warning for language):

ON her way to see her therapist, no doubt!
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Old 09-27-12, 09:38 AM   #14
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MA - Merging traffic means holding place with car in front and not letting the other turd in. Expected by SUV's driven my women and bmw's by men in suits.
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Old 09-27-12, 09:55 AM   #15
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In the south, the bizarre habit of the driver putting his foot out the window.
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Old 09-27-12, 10:09 AM   #16
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In Alabama: Running red lights at below the speed limit. Stopping on the on-ramps because of an inability to properly merge.
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Old 09-27-12, 10:57 AM   #17
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KS and OK, this might be more generalized to more of the midwest, I dunno, but:
- Coming to an almost complete stop to make a right turn.
- Coming to a complete stop after pulling into a parking lot. (I've never figured this one out, it's like they stop to survey for a parking spot, leaving anyone behind them trying to also turn into the lot stuck at a dead stop in traffic.)
- 2 cars or more, with little other traffic, driving at least 5 mph below the speed limit, pacing each other to prevent any other traffic from possibly going faster.....

In Az:
- Never driving less then 5 mph over the speed limit (exception: snowbirds from the midwest, see above. Needless to say, this makes driving very interesting in the winter time in Az. they don't need snow, they got snowbirds!)
- Even coming to a red light, going full on the accelerator to the last possible second, then screeching to a stop, only to do it again at the next light. All of this even though there are signs along the side that tell drivers what speed to go to catch the lights green (they sync the lights in a lot of the city in Tucson).

Pacific Northwest:
- Paralyzed by sunshine. (see comments above about Californians and rain....)
- Left lane is often the busiest on the interstate, and the right lane is the fast lane.
- Car pool lanes re-dubbed (by me) Holier Than Thou lanes. Drivers will cut off every car, endanger life and limb, and create a hazard or backup for miles to get to the car pool lane, then proceed to drive 10 mph under the speed limit, all while looking smug and refusing to move for anyone else in the lane. They repeat this procedure when exiting, waiting until 200 yards before their exit to cut across 3+ lanes of traffic.
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Old 09-27-12, 11:41 AM   #18
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Actually, you can just watch this (warning for language):

Utterly and completely awesome.

If you want to be really frightened, read the comments and see how many people actually approve of her behavior.
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Old 09-27-12, 11:48 AM   #19
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Utterly and completely awesome.

If you want to be really frightened, read the comments and see how many people actually approve of her behavior.
Love the comment: "B*tch get off the phone..." but apparently it is OK for her.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:19 PM   #20
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Too many steriotypes and broad generalizations in the OP. How can you lump all of Calif. into one behavior pattern? Sacramento is just like L.A.?
Houston and Dallas are different in drving behaviors as well, and in my ~33 years living in the Houston area, I can say I never once saw a shooting on the roadway due to road rage. Plus different areas of the Greater Houston Area have different driving behaviors.
That said, The Alief area in SW Houston traffic is about as good as any large city but of course has many poor drivers as well. Also little-to-no bicycle infrastructure (busses do have bike racks) and high speed inner-city roads. I HATED riding there. On the other hand, eastern Harris county (Baytown) is just a bit slower paced. While there's still no cycling infrastructure, traffic is not as heavy and not as fast in most places.

Edit: Just noticed... this is my 1000th post.
Good point. Sacramentans are terrible about merging into traffic from onramps. They're usually going too slow and because the speed differential is too great, they panic. I once was behind a driver who tootled up the onramp at about 30 mph and then just stopped. If I were king, every onramp in Sacramento would have a huge blinking sign that says YOU MUST REACH A MINIMUM SPEED OF 50MPH BY THE END OF THIS RAMP. Sacramentans are also terrible about staying in the far left lane until about 100 yds from their off ramp and then banging hard across three lanes to the exit, blinkers optional.

Los Angelenos, by contrast, are excellent freeway drivers. However, freeways in LA rarely move at freeway speed, so there's that.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:29 PM   #21
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- Coming to a complete stop after pulling into a parking lot. (I've never figured this one out, it's like they stop to survey for a parking spot, leaving anyone behind them trying to also turn into the lot stuck at a dead stop in traffic.)
^^^^^^ This! I forgot about it, more than likely trying to blot it from my mind. This aggravates the hell out of me. Didn't they look to the right BEFORE they turned? They grind to a halt leaving me right behind them with my ass hanging out in traffic. I have always advocated teaching people that the phrase "look where you're going" is WRONG, you need to "LOOK WHERE YOU ARE INTENDING TO GO", we tend to go where we are looking and if you make a right turn (or any move for that matter) while looking at the hood of your car or just in front of it at the road then you are NOT looking where you are going, you're looking at where you are AT. Now if you are INTENDING to go straight then look straight, keep glancing to the sides and scanning for potential conflict but scan ahead too - FAR ahead to make sure your path is clear.

This also bugs me in walking, people enter a store, theater, any building for that matter and immediately come to a stop leaving everyone else behind them piling up while they figure out where the hell they were going.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:29 PM   #22
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Drive 90 mph in left lane like they're supposed to.
Dude. Seriously. You are the problem.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:31 PM   #23
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^^^^^^ This! I forgot about it, more than likely trying to blot it from my mind. This aggravates the hell out of me. Didn't they look to the right BEFORE they turned? They grind to a halt leaving me right behind them with my ass hanging out in traffic. I have always advocated teaching people that the phrase "look where you're going" is WRONG, you need to "LOOK WHERE YOU ARE INTENDING TO GO", we tend to go where we are looking and if you make a right turn (or any move for that matter) while looking at the hood of your car or just in front of it at the road then you are NOT looking where you are going, you're looking at where you are AT. Now if you are INTENDING to go straight then look straight, keep glancing to the sides and scanning for potential conflict but scan ahead too - FAR ahead to make sure your path is clear.

This also bugs me in walking, people enter a store, theater, any building for that matter and immediately come to a stop leaving everyone else behind them piling up while they figure out where the hell they were going.
Drives me nuts... especially now that more and more stores are making the entry/exit area narrow to reduce theft.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:48 PM   #24
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According to my personal experience and perception.
Seoul, South Korea - Extremely polite culture. Constant horn use, but not out of rudeness or being in a hurry. More like a reminder that they are right there next to you. Gives just enough room for cyclist so they don't hit.
Manila, Philippines - What traffic lane? As long as they fit they will go in that space if you are too slow. Cyclists beware, stay off the road. What stop sign?

Hong Kong (when it was still a colony) - Cyclists beware, actually everyone beware. Lots of cyclists, but still scary.

Swindon, England - Awesome place to cycle. Some horn use.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE - There's a speed limit IN the city limits? Very difficult to get a driver's license and yet they seem to have no regard for other vehicles on the road unless it is interfering with their progress. Very rare to see anyone run a red light, and they will slam on the brakes on a yellow light. Offensive driving is key! Lots of horn use and hand gestures (not the bird, however, just a lot of waving-like motions with the palms upward). The term "Frogger" takes on a literal meaning as plenty of folks constantly (no exaggeration) run across the freeway trying to dodge 120 kph traffic Scariest thing I've ever seen.

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Old 09-27-12, 12:53 PM   #25
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Texas: Cops on bikes texting.


Rome: Scooter races, the red lights sound like a bizarre motocross as the drivers rev their scooters in anticipation of a red light. They also have zero sense of self preservation, no fear, and no survival instincts.
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