Monday, August 21, 2006

Driving in Washington

In the south, for the most part, people travel at a slower speed. That is not to say that the speed limit is followed. People on I-5 in Washington drive much closer to the speed limit than anyone on I-40 has even dreamed of doing. (For the record, that is just because there are so many cops patrolling I-5.) The difference is in the style of driving when not on the interstate. The driving is more relaxed and friendlier. One example: My experience in the South is that many times a driver will allow another car to turn in front of them. If you are in a slow line of traffic, you might waive to another driver waiting to turn on the street and allow them to go ahead of you. Today I got honked at. I was going to turn right. The traffic light had just been red, so I was at a complete stop. When it turned green, a car on the opposite side of the road was waiting to turn right (going the same direction I was going). I allowed them to turn before I went and I was honked at. There wasn't much of a pause. There really wasn't much of a delay. The honk startled me. Then, I smiled and thought, “Ah, I love Washington.”


Carrie said...

It is interesting how vastly different drivers are in different parts of the country. Drivers in California seem to be the worst we've seen--speed, rudeness, no one knows what a blinker is, and the list goes on. Deadly car accidents seem to be the norm here as well as bumper to bumper traffic.
It was a huge change from North Dakota. Drivers in ND wave to passing cars--hey in the rural areas, you might be the only car they pass for 30 minutes or more. We found the only people that drove close to the speed limit in ND were military and their families. Natives in ND drove slower than the speed limit--definitely on country time. ND even has a law that if someone is on the side of the road, it is against the law to not stop and help them--because in the subzero temps you might be the only that passes them for an hour or more--which means it could be fatal to not stop.

matt said...

I've been to places where no drivers in the US could survive:
Runner up: San Luis Potosi, Mexico. There are no rules... there is no pavement... there are no undamaged cars.

Winner: Sau Paulo, Brasil. 15 million people on a 6 lane highway. The cars go 2 mph, but the motorcycles go 120. Scary, scary stuff. When traffic is actually moving, it's amazing how few accidents there are with all the dodging, weaving, merging and disregard for personal safety that goes on there.