Of course the snow does serve to highlight the not so great driving habits of The Great State of Rhode Island (the full, official name). I know regional driving quirks, and mocking thereof, is not new or clever, but seriously? Since moving here I have really noticed that the "quirks" of RI drivers are a lot more like "wildly dangerous death wishes."
So, in no real order, here are the bits of Driving Safely 101 that 95% of RIers seem to have missed:
- You put in your lights on when you are using you windshield wipers. Especially here where the rain is often joined by fog so dense you can swim to your mailbox. Just please for the love of all that is holy, make sure people can see you.
- Stop signs mean STOP. Even on back roads, even if it looks like there is no one around, even at 3am. Always. I have seen people grind downtown traffic to halt in both directions so as to let someone do a left turn into the gridlock. I have seen people come to a full stop on the goddamn highway because here those YIELD signs actually mean something. Yet somehow, no one gives a care to the lowly stop sign.
- You turn off your high beams when approaching another car. I know. The roads are dark and winding, ill-maintained and not at all lit. I understand. But you will be in a dark-windy-ill-maintained-ditch if you don't get your goddamn halogen stadium lights out of my eyeballs.
- Trucks are shitty snow vehicles. Everyone here drives trucks, the bigger the better. Though very few seem aware that classic rear-wheel-drive trucks are super shitty on less than perfect roads. Hard rain, a single snowflake...trucks lining the sides of roads. Put some sandbags back there and slow down.
- When you decide to pull out in front of the only car coming for miles, floor it. Chris and I now refer to this as "The RI Merge" since the habit of waiting until just before a car reaches the intersection, then pulling out at a sedate 5 mph is so common. If you really can't wait the ten seconds required for the single car (we don't have traffic here, it is not really a thing)to pass, then you better haul ass as you cut in front of me. Combine this with the stop sign issue and well, you take your life in your hands every time you drive.
- Clear off your whole car. Not just the front. Not just the "important" bits. All of it. Clear your hood, lights, windshield, mirrors and roof. This is so you can see, and so people driving near you don't get hit with giant junks of roof debris. Don't be an asshole, grab a broom and clear that snow.
Now look, I am terrible driver. I learned to drive in NY, the birthplace of horrible driving. We tailgate (even if there are no other cars on the road, hell, especially if there are no other cars on the road!), we speed, we feel signals are optional and yield signs are for chumps. I get it. We all have our driving crosses to bear. I just really want to drive to the library with less than five near misses from people shooting out of side roads and promptly slowing to 10mph as if I am deserving of some manner of punishment. I feel like that is not too much to ask.