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Driving me crazy

I'm a bit late on discovering this story, but I have to agree with Bruce: I, too, demand a recount.

I've spent more than enough time discussing the idiocies that seem inherent to Cow Hampshire's neighbors to the south, but that really shines through on the road. And I think I've discovered a trick that, so far, seems purely the hallmark of the Masshole.

Suppose you're looking to turn left on to a busy road. The lane you wish to enter is full, but the oncoming traffic (on your side of the road) is light. Now, the way I would treat the situation would be to wait until the way was clear from both directions, then take my left.

But not according to the Super-Secret Massachusetts Driving Manual, it seems. The theory there is "get while the getting's good." According to this book (whose existence I can't seem to verify), one should pull out across the oncoming lanes, blocking oncoming traffic, and sit there and glare at people on the opposite side of the road until they let you cut in front of them. (Bonus points are awarded for ignoring and/or flipping off people who you are blocking.)

To my way of thinking, I'd just take a right, then find a thin spot of traffic or traffic light to cross the oncoming traffic and turn around. Unregulated left turns can be a major pain in traffic, so I avoid them when I can.

Just another reason why I think I'd never make it as a subject (er, resident) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Comments (15)

This tactic is common on th... (Below threshold)

This tactic is common on the avenues of Dallas, TX, too. Pull out to the middle (because you could) and block right-bound traffic while left-bound traffic develops an entry point. However, this is usually only done in slow

I find it very amusing that you posted this, Jay, as this is one of my biggest pet peeves in driving. I usually lay on my horn continuously until they clear (if I can't change lanes) or lay on the horn continuously as I pass them in a clear lane.

If I drove a POS, I think I'd win any court case that developed from t-boning their car... especially the cases where they barely get out in front of right-bound traffic.

The one time I visited Bost... (Below threshold)

The one time I visited Boston I was working at the Fed Building close to the Fleet Ctr and the idiot who booked the trip put me in a hotel in Norwood, Mass.

To get back to the hotel, I had to get on I93. To get to the road to I93, there was a road that curved to the right, where it merged with a road coming from the left. Just after the merge was a T-intersection with ONLY a stop sign where you could turn left or right from EITHER LANE.

Who the hell designed that? John Kerry?

When I moved to Northern Vi... (Below threshold)

When I moved to Northern Virginia from Ohio, I was shocked by this tactic. I almost killed several people before I began watching for idiots pulling out of parking lots and blocking my lane so they could make a left hand turn.

At least (in my limited experience) people in the Boston area know that when you're in a merge lane, that lane will eventually end, and that it makes sense to get out of it as soon as possible rather than wait 'til there's no more lane and swerve madly to the left without regard to the traffic already in that lane.

I hate that.

A few years back I was driv... (Below threshold)

A few years back I was driving in Europe (Spain and France). As the last person to give a compliment to anything European, I must admit that they are way ahead of us in traffic efficiency. They have traffic circles that work way better than stop signs/ stop lights and they also use a "jughandle" for left turns from busy ways, ie: you want to make a left, you pull to the right, allow traffic to clear, then proceed. The way they respect the "momentum" of the prevailing traffic is awesome, it sure beats the speed up--stop--speed to the next light--stop that we use.

Also a common practice in C... (Below threshold)

Also a common practice in Connecticut. What's worse is I have seen cops drive by these idiots and do nothing.

As only one of you may know... (Below threshold)
spelling lyncher:

As only one of you may know.. my mother is moving from NH.. where the author lives.. to Mass.. where the author despises. The reason is of course her marriage ( FINALLY) 18 years of living with the guy finally getting legal) but in doing so.. she has to erase her NH existance.. insurance, liscence, taxes, and then ( SIGH) endure the mass confusion ( no pun necessary) in getting all of the details. in our country. we have the freedom to move and live where we want to. but paperwork wise... it is a challenge for all to endure

This is one of my pet peeve... (Below threshold)

This is one of my pet peeves. Here in Oregon I see this sort of driving all the time; that is, some asshat is stopped in the middle of the road trying to get into another lane, or cross a busy thoroughfare, and traffic is all backed up behind him. So what he has done is to make his own problem everyone else's problem. My thinking is, there's no stop sign or stop light there, so why does he think he can simply stop in the middle of the road? If you can't find a thin spot to merge into within a few seconds, that's just too bad for you, drive on and find another way.

I rarely used to see this, but over the past few years, I notice I have been encountering it more and more frequently. Maybe it's because people, on the average, are simply getting more self-indulgent and lazy.

You know people, this would... (Below threshold)

You know people, this wouldn't be a problem at ALL if the people coming from the other direction would be courteous enough to yield a place in the traffic lane. In the area where I live, this is a common occurrence, because Route 3A, the main toroughfare into the South Shore, is quite busy, and if you had to wait for both sides to clear, you'd sit there all day. People know this, so traffic on 3A is always accommodating cars trying to enter the roadway. If someone doesn't take the initiative on his own to creep out to half-way, the oncoming car is just as liable to slow or stop for them --especially if they see that the opposite traffic has cleared.

It's a very unusual thing on the roads of Massachusetts --- it's called common courtesy.

This drives me nuts. Is it... (Below threshold)

This drives me nuts. Is it that hard for people to plan that they are gonna have to make a left across multiple lanes of traffic? When I get off the highway for gas and traffic is heavy, I will always make a left into a gas station so that when I'm done I can make an easy right to get back to the highway. Much easier turning across 2 lanes than 4.

The kicker is, if you don't... (Below threshold)

The kicker is, if you don't pull out, the guy behind you will start honking at you. I'm now in California, and these drivers out here just seem incapable of understanding my Massachusetts driving techniques. It makes for fun and excitement as I wonder if the car I'm cutting off/blocking/ignoring/glaring at contains a gun-toting gang member or run-of-the-mill-psychopath.

wavemaker,You are ... (Below threshold)


You are way off base. It's not common courtesy, it's dangerous. The vehicle making a left across multiple lanes of traffic cause every other vehicle to slow down or stop in both directions if they use this tactic. All it takes is one person not realizing or expecting this slow down and bam!! I'm curious where you are referring to though (3A in Boston or closer to Quincy Shore Drive perhaps)?

When I moved to Massachusetts, this was one of my biggest pet peeves and I refuse to let people in when they are doing this. I grew up in Jersey and thought it was bad there, but Mass takes the cake for aggressive, careless, and reckless drivers.

People actually stop on the... (Below threshold)

People actually stop on the road and block traffic to make a left turn or a lane change? That's insane. People in Maryland do some weird stuff on the roads too, but anyone trying that manuever is likely to end up squashed.

And sorry, ciudadcentral, traffic circles are a tool of the devil. The "jughandle" idea sounds reasonable, though.

I live in Massachusetts but... (Below threshold)

I live in Massachusetts but travel frequently to Cow Hampshire for fresh air and sanity. Not a native of the Bay State, I found this tactic of sitting half-way across and blocking the oncoming lane of traffic unnerving and exceedingly dangerous.

That was nearly two decades ago. I now practice this with the same aplomb as all the other drivers along the North Shore. I see from the posts in queue before mine that the Bay State has sent forth emissaries to carry the practice to the far corners of the Lower 48.

Love those traffic circles ... (Below threshold)

Love those traffic circles in England where you are already on the wrong side of the car, going what feels like the wrong direction around the circle and trying to turn onto the wrong side of the road as everyone goes blasting around. My solution was just to drive faster than everyone else. It either worked or I went around in circles really, really fast.

In Michigan, specifically -- near Detroit, they attempted to solve the left turn on busy roads issue by installing turn arounds in the medians and outlawing left turns at "most" intersections on these roads. So, what you get is a bunch of people trying to blast three or for lanes over to either make the turn lane or flying out on the other side to cut across four lanes to turn right to complete their "left" turn. Oh, so safe. I've seen more accidents in those lanes than I think I have anywhere else. Does make for exciting driving, though.

wavemaker,gotta ag... (Below threshold)


gotta agree with Mike here. It is very dangerous. I know this from personal experience, as I was behind a car that slammed on its brakes in order to let a Masshole out that had blocked about 20 cars in the other direction. Now I did hit the person, but I was lucky because there was a cop right there. I know what you're thinking, but the cop just shook his head and gave me a warning. No injuries, minimal damage.

Now, having some knowledge on the subject, there actually is a reason (I believe) for Masshole driving tactics: poor transportation planning (I know, old city), no new highways (except for an overpriced replacement section that took too long), poor road maintenance, narrow rights-of-way, and a refusal to change any of it.







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