17 May 2007

10 Things to Remember on the DC Beltway

1. If the city is to your left, you're on the outer loop. Think geosynchronous orbit. If you don't know where the city is, you don't belong in DC.

2. People will always telegraph their intent unless they are on the phone, reading directions, putting on mascara, fiddling with the radio, yelling at their kids, flirting with the girls in the next car, checking stock prices in the paper, etc. Watch for telegraphing where it occurs.

3. Don't confuse a telegraphed intent (car begins to drift left) with a turn signal. Trust what the car is doing more than what the signals are indicating or not indicating.

4. It doesn't matter if a driver shouldn't be doing what they're doing by law. The only law on the beltway is survival. Yours. So get mad all you want but don't expect them to change.

5. Corollary to #4: The left lane is only the fast lane if people get out of your way in the left lane. Otherwise, any lane is the fast lane.

6. Go to the bathroom before you get in the car, make sure you have gas before you get on the beltway and keep a snack in the car because you will get stuck in unexpected traffic.

7. Just because there's no visible reason for a backup doesn't mean there won't be a backup.

8. Just because the traffic jam clears, doesn't mean the traffic in front of you will suddenly realize this and pick up speed.

9. Bob and weave. Nuff said.

10. Don't play chicken with the merge lane. People are crazy here and they'll kill you if it means they can get on the beltway. This doesn't mean they understand the concept of how to properly merge. See #4.

Bonus: When everything else fails, pop in a CD and sing your heart out, complete with gestures. You'll enjoy the experience more and it'll look like your yelling at the people around you. :)

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