These Are Your States' Unique Driving Maneuvers

These Are Your States' Unique Driving Maneuvers

One nation, under the impression that laws just are suggestions

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These United States are an interesting bunch. Sure, we’re one country, but we’re one big country — there’s going to be culture that doesn’t make it into every little corner. For us, that means driving intricacies that exist solely in one state, or even one section within that state. We asked for your local driving habits, and you gave us over five hundred answers. The whole thread is worth reading, but like a sommelier offering wine pairings, I’ll give you a few of the top picks. Let’s go.

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Left Lanes in Texas

Left Lanes in Texas

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Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

In TX (Austin at least), left lane etiquette is totally lacking. And these squatters don’t know what a flashing set of high beams mean. And when you go around them on the right and get in front of them, they get pissed and flash you back. There is also a lack of respecting solid white lines. Partly because TX sucks in the way they create turn only lanes. They’ll take a straight lane and randomly make it a turn lane instead of notching out a new turn lane as they did in IL. So if you want to go straight, you are often changing lanes as you approach intersections. It is frustrating, but the disrespect for the solid white lines comes from this shit design.

The vengeful re-flash is one of the most beautiful moves in driving. Not only was someone in your way, interrupting the flow of traffic, they also decided to actively disregard the universal symbol for “Hey bud, you’re gumming up the works here.” Then, once you get around them, they get mad and flash you back? Incredible.

Submitted by: xspeedy

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The Michigan Left

The Michigan Left

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Michigan Left.

It’s this weird thing they do where you can’t turn left through an intersection. You go through the intersection, then, at some point along the way, there’s a spot to make a u-turn, so you turn around, go back to your original intersection, and make a right. Always takes some getting used to, but, it kind of makes sense. It’s been catching on in other places lately, but, everyone I ever met in Michigan always called it a ‘Michigan Left’. Contrary to the picture below, you can still drive straight through the intersection on the cross road (unless my memory is failing me). Banning that part of it has become quite popular here in North Carolina, for God only knows what reason.

Ostensibly, the Michigan Left was popularized because someone went to Pittsburgh, said ‘Fuck absolutely every bit of that’, and decided to ban left turns altogether.

This isn’t the only left-turn uniquity on the list, but the Michigan Left is truly something to behold. It’s basically the “elaborate and questionably legal maneuver” detailed by XKCD, but as an outright necessity to get around.

Submitted by: Mthew_M

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Georgia Hazards

Georgia Hazards

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Photo: Barry Williams (Getty Images)

Georgia is people who turn their hazards on when it rains. I had never seen it until I moved here, and it’s caught me out a few times in heavy rain where suddenly hazards appear in front of you on the highway and your brain panics thinking “oh crap, is there a stopped car directly in front of me!?”. Then you realize they’re actually moving the same speed as you, they just have their hazards on for no reason other then “hey guys, don’t know if you noticed or not, but it’s raining out here”.

Having spent years in western NY, I can tell you the road conditions that warrant turning your hazards on during highway driving. They’re few and far between, and generally involve low-visibility situations. Rain can be that, if it’s the sort of downpour that makes it hard to see your own hood. A regular rainstorm? Nope, does not qualify.

Submitted by: JTSnooks

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The Mass Pike, Just All Of It

The Mass Pike, Just All Of It

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Left lane campers in Massachusetts. F those people. Why would anyone think it’s ok to drive 40mph in a left lane on Mass Pike?

The Mass Pike is a great microcosm of Massachusetts driving. You’ve got left-lane campers and the people that will stop at nothing to get around them. There are no cash tolls, but some extremely easy ways to get around the tolls entirely if you’re willing to brave the incredibly poorly-paved back roads. The Mass Pike is where calm drivers go to die, and be reborn as Massholes.

Submitted by: willzyx

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The Relaxed Pace Of Gävleborg

The Relaxed Pace Of Gävleborg

I’m not sure if this is Gävleborg, but it’s definitely at least Gävle
I’m not sure if this is Gävleborg, but it’s definitely at least Gävle
Photo: Michael Campanella (Getty Images)

Gävleborg, Sweden - not quite rural wilderness but absolutely at the perimeter of civilization:

Exceedingly lethargic traffic by drivers who apparently do not consider that they share the roads with other people.

Most grinding detail is when traffic lights switch to green. That is when the locals depress the clutch and reach for the lever (manuals are still most common here) - and I am not even exaggerating for humor points.

Then they take a good 5-15 seconds just to cross the road. Three cars manage to pass before it turns red again.

I who am conditioned by driving a bike in the capital usually bolt off like a bat out of hell, even in my average performance car, and usually reach the end of the block before those behind me enter the block.

This spills over to the highways. 110 km/h speed limit, most drive 100 km/h, it is common to come up on those that do 90 or less. One would expect them to look sheepish when they get overtaken by a train of cars, but no - they bumble along with an oblivious facial expression.

The up side is that they aren’t driving dangerously by speeding a lot.

The downside is when you meet them crossing over on your side in intersections because they could not imagine meeting another car on the same road and turning the steering wheel is so very exhausting what with the extreme 0.01 lateral g’s, so you have to emergency brake not to get a heads-on collision.

Or when there is a lot of snow and they drive in the middle of the road, forcing you to scrape a wall of snow and ice not to get your left mirror whacked off. Still with a facial expression of blissful unawareness.

The concept of a relaxed pace on the roads is entirely foreign to me, a person whose entire life has been lived in New England and New York. These are areas full of important people in their important cars going to important places at important speeds. There is no hesitation, no pause, and no remorse — but there’s fury if you stand in the way. Gävleborg drivers wouldn’t last.

Submitted by: MechaMike

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The Pittsburgh Left

The Pittsburgh Left

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Pennsylvania really might as well be two (or even three) states so I’ll nominate the Pittsburgh Left. The way it works is this: If you’re at the front of the line to turn left at a light that doesn’t have a dedicated left turn arrow, the very split second the light turns green you put your foot to the floor and (hopefully) make it across the intersection before the drivers on the opposite side enter the interchange.

Many local drivers anticipate this and will even allow you to do it. Many other drivers just don’t have a fast enough reaction time to get in the way of a really motivated Pittsburgh Left-er. But if you encounter someone who reacts quickly and isn’t in on the game... you can potentially have a very bad time.

Needless to say it is also horrifically dangerous to pedestrians as this often happens while the “walk” light is illuminated and the drivers making a Pittsburgh Left are most definitely NOT looking at the crosswalk when they go for it.

I’ve inadvertently pulled one Pittsburgh Left in my driving career. It was an intersection that I could’ve sworn had a protected left, but the person in the oncoming lane who saw nothing but a green light and a car turning anyway disagreed — and made sure to let me know. To learn there’s a place in this world where those lefts are the norm, if not mandatory, makes me question the entirety of U.S. driving infrastructure.

Submitted by: As Du Volant

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Minnesotan Fear

Minnesotan Fear

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Photo: Stephen Maturen (Getty Images)

Minnesota: not kidding, fully half the morons here will, after coming to rest at a four-way stop, if they spot an approaching car on any of the other three streets (again, even if all of the streets have a stop sign, and their own sign is clearly marked “ALL WAY”), almost totally without regard to how far away said car is (if it’s visible, it’s a mortal threat to them), will sit there with their thumb up their ass until said car comes to a complete stop, before finally proceeding. An intersection that could be navigated in five seconds flat someplace like Chicago under like conditions will take about a minute here. They’re also huge on “false courtesy” bullshit like inappropriately yielding, which far from being “nice”, in fact simply creates an “accident” just waiting to happen.

Overly-aggressive drivers are, unquestionably, a danger to themselves and others on the road. But few people realize the dangers in being an under-aggressive driver — if you interrupt the flow of traffic, dawdle at turns, or generally act unpredictably, you can be just as dangerous as that Vee Cue Boy weaving his Z between the lanes.

Submitted by: 2 Fast 2 Spurious

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Minnesotan Fear, Redux

Minnesotan Fear, Redux

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Also Minnesota: People who think it’s okay to merge onto the freeway at 15-20 mph below the speed of traffic. I live in the metro, I get that some ramps are short and there isn’t time, but I’m talking about the kinds of people who get to the bottom of a half-mile long on-ramp still in second gear.

I scared the shit out of my wife and dog this weekend when we were driving around and I switched from singing an Irish ballad to screaming “GET THE FUCKING LEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND INTO YOUR FOOT! YOU’RE GONNA GET US ALL KILLED YOU GODDAMN MORON! LEARN TO FUCKIN’ DRIVE” and then went right back to the ballad.

(“She Moved Through The Fair,” not that it matters.)

Case in point. Speed isn’t what kills in accidents, it’s speed differentials — between cars, objects, or combinations of the two. Merging on to the highway at far-below-freeway speeds forces that differential, and demands that your slower-moving car interface with much faster ones.

Submitted by: NoBrakes58

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The Ohio Shuffle

The Ohio Shuffle

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Coming from California (where I rarely, if ever, saw a “California stop” ... I see it a lot more in Ohio), I like the “Ohio Shuffle”. Someone tailgates you, and then when you change lanes to pass someone, they just shuffle up to tailgate that vehicle while you continue on.

And don’t get me started on lane closures. As soon as Ohio drivers see a “Lane Closed Ahead” sign, they move out of that lane. You can end up with a mile or more of empty lane on a crowded freeway. And if you do like the states want, and use that lane up to the actual merge point, they get pissed at you and try to block you in the closed lane.

Ohioans, as free red-blooded Americans, demand their right to tailgate the cars ahead of them. No, they don’t want to pass, they aren’t maniacs interested in absurd speed. They just want you out of their way. In true American fashion, the only thing holding them back is themselves, and boy are they angry at everyone else about it.

Submitted by: Remember dialing “popcorn” for the time?

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The Greatest City In The World, Baybee, Number One, Let’s Go Mets

The Greatest City In The World, Baybee, Number One, Let’s Go Mets

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Photo: Michael Nagle (Getty Images)

This. There are rules to driving in NYC. They are not the rules written in the driver’s ed manual, but they nonetheless exist. The biggest one to get used to is that lane markings are merely suggestions (except the double-yellow center divider), but other than that just let the cab get in front of you — it’s not being cut off unless they actually hit you — stop at the dang red light and don’t speed outpace the other vehicles on the road, and you’ll be fine.

In the city, I always assume Jersey plates actively DNGAF and want to hit pedestrians, and PA plates just don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going and are terrified. Everybody from Connecticut seems to take the train.

Driving in New York is, at the beginning, an adventure. But when you begin to learn the rules, the unwritten rights of way, things begin to make sense. We aren’t so uncivilized here, we just have our own way of doing things. And we’re so kind, we’ll give you all of three seconds to figure those ways out. After that, though, you’re on your own.

Submitted by: burner’down

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