New England Driving Q&A

Living in Boston (well, Cambridge), one eventually comes to realize that there are some issues with driver education in this State. Here are a few Q&As to help those facing intellectual challenges on the road. I wish I could hand these out to people I see violating the rules of the road (yes, I’ve read Chapter 90 of the M.G.L.s and the drivers manual, as well as the rules for my own town…have you?). All of these Q&As would have applied in the space of the 2 hours I was on the road (on and off) today, except for the cop with the radar gun, which was a couple of weeks ago (at night, with his lights off, in the middle of the Mass. Ave bridge…like that’s not going to end horribly badly as some distracted driver fails to notice the obstruction one day).

Q). I love reading people’s bumper stickers and I can’t read at a distance.
A). Buy some glasses, or have a passenger read the bumper stickers for you. When you drive less than a safe distance from someone, you create a safety hazard and cause undue stress for other drivers around you.

Q). Why do people get angry when I use my horn? It’s the New England way!
A). Your horn is intended to convey safety concerns, and indicate your presence. Yes, even in the US. It is not a generic signal used to harass other drivers. When you use it at other times, it says “I’m a giant moron”. In CAPS.

Q). What are these sticks or levers on my steering wheel intended for?
A). These are called turn signals. You use them to indicate your intended direction of travel before making a manoeuvre. It allows other vehicles to avoid colliding with you, and is not a sign of weakness.

Q). Is it ever acceptable to wave someone across the street at a green light?
A). No. This is incredibly dangerous. It pre-supposes that oncoming traffic will not plough straight into the person crossing. Any decent driver education program would teach this, but Massachusetts fails horribly.

Q). I’m in law enforcement and like obstructing traffic so I can catch people speeding with my radar gun! Yeah!
A). You also create a safety hazard and should be suspended, and prosecuted.

Q). I don’t like concentrating on driving, I prefer to use my phone, read a magazine or a book, etc.
A). You should have your license revoked and be banned from driving.

Q). I think everyone should drive in the bike lane, it’s a whole new lane!
A). You should have your license revoked pending re-education. You should learn that you are a danger to others on the road, especially cyclists.

Q). I don’t like finding parking. I prefer to use the magic lights with the orange triangle symbol.
A). These are intended for emergency use to indicate your vehicle is disabled or that you are in need of assistance. When you use them to park in the middle of the road, you create a safety hazard and should have your license revoked.

I love my car, and I love driving. But driving in Massachusetts is a constant struggle of outwitting intellectually challenged morons who should not have a driver’s license to begin with, let alone be allowed to drive an SUV on the road, in winter. Driving (even in the US) is not a fundamental right. It’s a privilege that you get for following the rules. That’s not to say everyone is a bad driver, but it is saying that MA has a problem and does not do enough to solve it. Have a few cops out there actually enforcing the rules…and don’t forget to tell them that signals, traffic signals, and the rules of the road in general apply to them and everyone else equally in civilized society, not just to you and me.

Q). Hey Jon, didn’t you have an accident recently?
A). Yes. Someone hit me as I was making a left turn (at a left turn signal). Under MA rules, I am presumed to be at fault even though I was not the one in the wrong. The other driver had just had his car repaired from the previous accident, and was sitting on the plastic sheeting following an interior detailing. So, sorry, I’m not a bad driving example in this situation. I’m just the stiff who gets lumped with the insurance hike. And this post isn’t even about that, it’s about people not engaging their brains. There is also a difference between an accident and willingly ignoring sensible rules of the road, as in the above.


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