Welcome to Boston: Drive Defensively Or die.
This one is for the students coming to Boston to begin the new academic year. Welcome! May I suggest you buy a T-pass and take the train? No? Drive you say? Well then, your education will begin the minute you naively believe you are capable of maneuvering the streets of Boston.
You may indeed, like Charlie on the MTA, “Never Return.”
We in Boston pride ourselves not only in having some of the best sports teams in the country, but also the most creative, uninhibited drivers. Think of it as a Picasso-like driving style. Yes, we can be vicious, and we also turn on the right side of our brains, thus eliminating logic.
Just to give you an overview, there is always traffic always; therefore, there is always frustration. It’s rush hour 24/7. We have no time for newbies. It’s sink or swim. But please do not cause an accident and make traffic any worse or you may become a human sacrifice.
Another thing right off the bat, all major highways have two names.
- MA Turnpike is Route 90
- Routes 95 and 128 are interchangeable
- Storrow Drive is also MA 28. Oh, and no trucks!
- Commonwealth Ave is Route 30.
This is not an exhaustive list, just some of the major roadways.
When it rains, we go into cat mode and spaz out even more. I don’t know why. I just know it’s so. Consider yourself informed.
Now you know some basics, but you need to be prepared or pay the price. Here are a few additional guidelines.
Traffic Signs and Signaling Are for Sissies
A yellow light means hit the gas. Why would you slow down when you can beat the light? It will save you a minute or two. Just make sure your butt isn’t hanging back in the middle of an intersection causing gridlock unless you are into offering yourself as a human sacrifice.
A stop sign means look right and left while rolling slowly through. Never come to a full stop. Anything you learned is out the window.
Yield. Are you kidding me? Never give up the fight.
Speed limits should be followed only in school zones or densely populated areas. Other than that, you can get away with driving 10 miles over. On the highway, especially, it is of the utmost importance that you keep up with traffic at all costs. Tailgating is not a thing of the past.
Don’t signal or as we say turn on your “blinka,” it gives the enemy warning and she, he, or they will speed up to cut you off. The goal here is to stay one car ahead of whoever you can. There doesn’t need to be a reason.
Feel Free to Change Direction at Any Time
Going the wrong way? Make a U-turn, where ever, whenever. If you’re entering a tunnel or exit, just put the car in reverse.
No really, people do it all the time.
The manual on this states that you must yield, such a harsh word, right-of-way to another vehicle that has come to a full stop before you did or a vehicle to your right that has stopped at the same time.
And get this, “Try to make eye contact with the driver to judge their intentions and avoid crashes.”
Okay, if you say so. I’d rather make eye contact with a baboon.
You’re still fairly unsullied. You decide when it’s safe to proceed.
In some states, they call these “roundabouts.” They are more common in Massachusetts than in other parts of the country. Of course! Only Massachusetts would create a Merry-Go-Round for cars.
It’s a timing thing. You want to get through without stopping or slowing down.
There are yield signs when entering. But here’s the thing, large rotaries are designed to handle speeds up to 40 miles per hour, so if you can make it, go! Yield to anyone with a bigger car or going faster than you, even if you’re already in the rotary.
Parking and Speeding Tickets
Just pay, don’t argue. You’ll get away with killing someone before you’ll get out of paying a ticket. It’s like death and taxes and this is Taxachusetts, the Pay State.
Hey, no one forced you to come here. And this is hysterical, not historical, Boston.
Let them go. Drive slowly. Ever heard of Jaywalking? It originated in Boston, sort of it means “a pedestrian who crosses a street without regard for traffic regulations.”
Those are all streets in Boston. If you hit a pedestrian, you’re screwed.
There are fines for jaywalkers, but no one cares. I’ve never seen anyone get a ticket and I work in Boston.
If you need to park on the street, get used to parking in a snowbank, or leave your car at home.
If there’s a chair in an open spot, best to move on. Don’t touch it. This isn’t a joke. There won’t be much left of your car when you return if you do.
As time goes on, you’ll adjust to the mayhem. You came here to learn, and not all of your education is going to take place in the classroom. Think of driving in Boston as one of those firsts that you’ll never forget.
You’re a smart kid. You’ll adjust.