Wednesday, June 22, 2005
19 Rules of Driving in Houston
My friend Texas Ivy has had a small fit of road rage.... I thought as a service to her, and also as a service to anyone who may visit Houston, I'd put up the 19 Cardinal Rules Of Driving In Houston..... 1. A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same jerks to squeeze their way back in before hitting construction barrels. (Bonus points are awarded for getting out of your car and moving the barrels.) 2. Turn signals provide clues as to your next move in the road battle so never use them. 3. Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you no matter how fast you're going. If you do, the space will be filled in by somebody else putting you in an even more dangerous situation. 4. The faster you drive through a red light, the less your chance of getting hit. 5. The car with the most extensive body work automatically has the right of way. (Remember no-fault insurance. He might not have as much to lose as you do.) 6. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to insure that your anti-lock braking system kicks in to give you a nice relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates. 7. Construction signs are carefully positioned to tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the last opportunity to exit, but just before the traffic begins to back up. 8. The electronic traffic warning system signs are not there to provide useful information, but just to tell time and make Houston look progressive. 9. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It's a good way to scare people entering the highway. Passing on the shoulder is encouraged; that's why they're paved. 10. Speed limits are arbitrary figures to make Texas look as if it conforms with other state policies; these are intended only as suggestions and are actually unenforceable. 11. Just because you're in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn't mean that a driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn't think he can go faster in your spot. 12. Please remember that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic. 13. Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even a person changing a tire. If you're lucky, you may see the unlucky breakdown victim get mugged. 14. Learn to swerve abruptly. Houston is the home of the very high-speed slalom driving thanks to Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), who put potholes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes. Parts of truck tires are left on new highways where potholes haven't yet been established. 15. It is considered correct in Houston to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant the light changes. Our city is founded upon such traditions. 16. Seeking eye contact with another driver automatically revokes your right of way. 17. Giving the finger may invite armed retaliation. Be sure that your rifle is on the gun rack in the rear window and visible rather than lying on the seat. 18. When in doubt, remember that all unmarked exits lead to Louisiana. 19. You don't have to wait for an exit to get off a freeway, just follow the ruts in the grass to the frontage road like everyone else. This is how Houston residents notify TxDOT where exits should have been built.