The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 February 2008

Quote of the week

Tony Woodlief reveals the hidden contents of the Kansas Driver's Manual:

Just as the humble Disciples harvested grain on the Sabbath, there will be times that you need to avail yourself of the right lane. You will need to exit the highway. But there may be other eager travelers, just like you, wishing to gain access to the highway. People in less civilized communities might consider this a moment of friction, when a car attempting to enter the highway finds another car zipping along in the right lane, square in its path. They might demand that the entering car "yield" to the oncoming traffic.

Not in the fair state of Kansas, friend. What right, after all, does the car in the right lane have to continue at such a great rate of speed, when his poor neighbor needs to avail himself of the road as well? The wide, level plains of Kansas reflect our great democracy of citizens, in that none should be considered greater than another. Therefore, good Christian temporarily in the right lane, it is incumbent upon you to slow down, that your poorer neighbor on the entrance ramp might partake of our glorious highway, and as rapidly as possible bring himself to the speed, no greater or less, of his neighbors.

I must also include this comment by Patrice, for contrast of course:

I'm from Oklahoma City and our driving style is similar with one major exception. We don't brake for those entering the highway. The idea of the smooth highway merge is apparently missing from the collective driving consciousness here. Most drivers come to a complete stop at the end of the entrance ramp, especially during rush hour, apparently hoping (usually in vain) for a space large enough to accelerate from said dead stop into traffic flowing at around 75 mph. Those spaces are few and far between, unless, of course, a Kansan happens along who will break and allow the stopped Oklahoman the time and space to access the highway.

Gwendolyn, bless her little microfinished heart, makes her own spaces.

[Slightly edited after the fact.]

Posted at 6:50 PM to QOTW

And in such circumstances, it is near impossible to align one's heels, and effectively click three times in true Kansan tradition, to just "Go Home".

'There's no place like the right lane, there's No place like the right lane, there's NO PLACE, like the right lane....'

Posted by: localmalcontent at 12:17 AM on 16 February 2008

I am unsure what the TN drivers manual suggests or the law requires, other than everybody must yield, meaning that in practice, nobody does. As you have personally experienced, Nashville Interstate loops at rush hour resemble dodgem cars at the carnival. The only real difference is the interstate version replaces that ozone smell with the aroma of burning rubber.

Posted by: Winston at 7:19 AM on 16 February 2008

In metro Atlanta, we've solved the problem by simply driving at 80 mph on every paved surface regardless. Thus there's no need to "get up to speed" when entering the freeway. We've gotten up to freeway speed before leaving our own garages.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:58 AM on 16 February 2008

Oklahoma driving is why I waited until I was past 18 before I tested for my drivers license (although I'd had a permit since 15.5 of course). Took me that long to learn the courage/insanity to be able to bull my way onto the interstate effectively.

In contrast, Minnesota drivers will practically cause wrecks by LEAPING out of the way of traffic coming up the onramp. The downside to this, of course, is that you have to watch the onramps carefully, because drivers there rarely if ever check before merging onto the interstate, assuming they'll have a clear lane.

Posted by: Jennifer at 4:22 PM on 16 February 2008
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