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Feb 6 2009

Rules of the Road, Springfield Edition

After spending more than two years in St Louis, I can safely say I know what insane traffic is like. Now that I live in a smaller city, I find that while the pace is slowed, the insanity is by no means lessened. And so, since so many of the ways people drive around here make me crazy, I present The Rules of the Road, Springfield Edition.

1. The posted speed limit is merely a suggestion. To determine your personal speed limit, select the appropriate option:

  • If you are over the age of 65, your personal speed limit is 20 mph. This is true no matter what road you are traveling.
  • If you drive a pickup truck, modify the posted speed limit as follows:
    • Add five mph per extra wheel. Dually pickups therefore may add 10 mph.
    • Add five mph if your vehicle is a diesel.
    • Add 10 mph if your chassis is raised and your tires are oversized.
    • Add 10 mph if you have a gun rack. You will receive 25 bonus mph for each visible firearm.
  • Heavily modified compact cars may drive at whatever speed they wish. Try to find the speed at which it presents the most inconvenience to drivers of those boring, factory-model cars, and then speed up and slow down to annoy them.
  • Everyone else may add 10 mph to the posted speed limit.

2. If you are not talking on your cell phone, messing with your MP3 player, cooking oatmeal, AND applying makeup while driving, you aren’t making good use of your time.

3. When turning, make sure to slow down as much as possible. In fact, if you can contrive to come to a complete stop, even better. This is especially important when turning left in a busy intersection, as the people behind you cannot possibly wish to turn left while they have a green arrow.

4. When turning across traffic, wait as long as possible before turning in front of the oncoming vehicles. This keeps them on their toes, and gives them a reason to test both their brakes and their horns.

5. In multiple lane roads, if a vehicle wishes to change lanes to pass a slower vehicle, make sure to drive up in the lane next to it and then match speed. The driver probably doesn’t realize he or she has her turn signal on.

5a. When passing a slower vehicle, leave as little room as possible between you and them. There is no good reason for this other than “everyone else does it”.

6. Multiple lane roads are really extra-wide one-lane roads. Feel free to drive in both lanes.

7. If traffic is heavy and you wish to turn left, use the turn lane to drive around cars in the lanes. It isn’t necessary to follow the markings that show where you may merge to turn left. If there is no turn lane, it is acceptable to drive in the oncoming lane. Those drivers will be happy to wait while you use their lane.

8. If you have been waiting to turn left on a yield light and the light turns red, you are allowed to turn anyway and delay normal traffic flow, since it is ridiculous that you would be expected to wait your turn for more than one traffic cycle.

9. If you have been waiting at a red light and it turns green, be sure to wait a full minute before moving forward in case someone enters the intersection.

10. Bonus! In a parking lot, always block the aisle with your vehicle while you wait for the person who is just now loading their groceries or entering their vehicle to vacate their parking spot. Other drivers like waiting for you to get out of the way. It gives them time to catch up on their e-books.

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3 Responses to “Rules of the Road, Springfield Edition”

Running Commentary:
  1. Matthew says:

    My favourite Springfieldian-driving-quirk was observed by my friend Simon from Neosho.

    “Why do people in Springfield brake as they approach a green light?”

    My immediate response was that we’re all speeding and know there might be a cop at the intersection, but it is funny if you pay attention around town. Nearly every car that is going through a green light will brake before they do so!

  2. Megan says:

    I have to agree with your list! I have always lived in Springfield…and these ALL drive me nuts. I have to add to #8 the eight cars behind the original car running the red light. I guess these cars believe as long as they are as close as they can get to the car in front of them it is like a train and they are also allowed through the light.

  3. SaraKate says:

    hehe. you make me giggle….mostly just because its totally true!