How to Drive in the City

Southern drivers are not known for being the fastest in the world. Unless you’re in NASCAR, but that’s another category in itself. In California, this Southern girl had the opportunity to drive a few times. No, I didn’t get run over. It reminded me of drivers in a city near to where I live, but more aggressive. So I’ve come up with a guide that will help you navigate cities and areas with faster drivers than, oh, say, your grandma. Unless she’s a leadfoot.

1. Stop Lights

In the city near me, these are more like suggestions. Green light? Go. Yellow light? Go faster. Red light? Hurry through that intersection so you don’t get hit.

Though I didn’t see as many people in California following this rule (maybe they understand traffic signals better), I didn’t drive a whole lot. And while I was riding in the car, I wasn’t paying much attention.

I did notice that no one seems to know how to navigate four-way stops just like here. For some reason, it makes sense on paper, but when people get to a four-way stop it’s every man for himself.

2. Turn Signals

These are practically illegal in California. I started out using mine until I saw no one else was. Literally. That guy who’s barely in front of you in the other lane absolutely expects you to read his mind and anticipate his lane change. If not, too bad. It’s your fault.

Not wanting to be a noob since the car had a California license plate, I quit using mine too. As long as I didn’t speak, I fit right in!

3. The California Wave

Remember that guy who cut you off? It’s perfectly acceptable to express your feelings with a one-finger wave. They expect these things. If you don’t, you might hurt their feelings. For good measure, and to make sure they see it, blow your horn too. Nothing makes them happier.

4. Turning

In addition to running red lights, it’s a good idea to squeeze your car into the five-foot space next to the car in front of you just so you can turn on red. The people who are coming will wait. Also, ignore the “no turn on red” sign. It’s just a suggestion.

Not enough room? Go up on the curb if you have to. Make room. Just be sure to turn on red because you are in such a hurry and that BOGO sale on shoes will run out in five minutes.

Happy driving!


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