So you decided to commute to Boston. Now what? Driving in the “City on a Hill” is not for the faint of heart. It involves certain skill and there is a certain etiquette. So here are some tips.
Boston does not tolerate snoozers. If you are at the red traffic light pay attention to that light. If you snooze for exactly 1/2 second let me assure you, you will hear that horn. It is almost a common courtesy to honk.
There are different types of honks. A quick tap on the horn is usually sufficient to make the person pay attention. Laying on the horn is usually reserved for special ones who are about to hit you or run you off the road. With an angry honk, you definitely risk starting a road rage where the other person is so angry that he/she would purposely find an opportunity to cut in front of you and slam of the breaks so that you will hit them if you don’t react fast enough. Hey, we warned ya.
Change your lanes promptly. I once heard a joke “In Boston showing your turn signal is giving your enemy strategically important information”. If you need to change a lane, show your turn signal and change it – and you have to do the two almost at the same time. If you wait for a second an experienced Boston driver will smell the hesitation and will close that gap. Which brings us to the next point.
Boston does not tolerate hesitation. If you drive decisively people will let you get away with almost anything. Often times you will see what others get away with and will think to yourself “I did not even know you could do that!?”
Watch out for interstate licence plates. People from other states tend to be the ones who hesitate. They do not know the city well and will drive slow, make unexpected moves or stops. If you are the visitor yourself, stay to the right of the road to avoid honks.
Watch out for taxis. They are smooth criminals. They always drive slightly above the speed limit, but not fast enough to draw attention of the police. And they just glide into the neighboring lanes, no turn signal (they probably came up with that joke above)
Watch out for pedestrians and bikers. Especially on campus. Especially at night. Especially with the rise of distracted walking (thank you cell phones). Red light, green light – always be aware of your surroundings. When opening the door, double check for bikers.
Do not bring your Boston driving habits to your small hometown. I remember the first time I honked at a driver who snoozed at a light in New Hampshire. Occupants of my car were in shock.
“Why did you honk?”
“But that was only a second.”
“That is half a second too long.”
If you have some of your own lessons learned please do share.