Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Driving laws as understood by DC-area drivers

1. Directionals are optional equipment on all vehicles sold in the Metro DC area. (Any vehicles with working directionals were undoubtedly purchased out of state.)

2. If you are in a driving lane that can go straight or turn left at an intersection, it is not necessary to use your directional. The people behind you will understand your intentions once the light turns green and you do not move, as will the oncoming traffic.

3. When turning left, directionals are not necessary if you pull far enough into the intersection. This maneuver, if executed well enough, will put you so far into oncoming traffic that you effectively give yourself the right-of-way.

4. Merge lanes are not to be used to join moving traffic already in the driving lane. Merge lanes serve the purpose of giving you a straight-away to gain enough speed that by the time the lane lines are gone and you are just about on the shoulder, you can cut off the driver immediately to your left, who is in the driving lane, forcing him to stop. This technique, when well-executed, can back up traffic in the driving lane for miles.

5. Optionally, the merge lane can be used as a passing lane. You can leave the driving lane and slide into the merge lane, attain proper speed, and blow past the suckers sitting in traffic, right up to the point where you are on the shoulder, then follow the steps in #4 above to stop traffic and join the other cars in the driving lane.

6. Solid white lines are no different than dashed lines, and may be crossed at will. Crossing a double solid white line is even better.

7. If you are on a two-lane road with parallel parking on the edges (that's really a 4-lane road, but with two driving lanes ...), and someone stops to maneuver into a parking spot, or if a garbage truck is making stops, you have the right-of-way. You may move to the left of said vehicle and cross the two solid double yellow lines, on the curve in the road, to pass the vehicle that is in your way. This right-of-way overrides the right-of-way of any oncoming traffic.

8. If you are in the left of two lanes, you are allowed to turn right into the gas station without regard to traffic that might be in the right-hand lane.

9. If you are turning left onto a road, and multiple lanes turn left, and you have plans to turn right at the next block, you must start off in the far left-turn lane. This will give you additional lanes to cross over within the next block in order to turn in time, and increases your chances of stopping traffic in multiple lanes.

10. If there is an incident on the shoulder of the freeway, you must slow down to get a good look at what is going on. If there are emergency vehicles present, you must come to a complete stop to get a really good look. This serves to increase the traffic back-up by several additional miles.

11. If your light is green, you must enter the intersection, without regard to whether or not your vehicle will actually clear that intersection. If your light turns red and you are blocking the cross-street traffic, you must look straight ahead and never make eye contact with the blocked party.

12. If you want to turn left from a side street onto a main street, again, directionals are optional. What works best is nosing your vehicle into the driving lane so far that you force traffic to stop so they do not hit you. Make sure that as you turn you wave to thank them for not slamming into you.

13. If you are on a hand-held cell phone, you are allowed to go very fast, and you do not need to use your directional when changing lanes. After all, your directional hand is busy on the phone. The other cars will 'get it' when you move into their lane without regard to the fact that they might already be in that lane.

14. If you are running into the grocery for 'just a few things' you may stop your car next to the yellow curb with the posted sign: 'No Stopping, Standing or Parking - Fire Lane'. Those empty parking spaces in the lot are for other people.

15. If someone gets pissy with you about parking in the fire lane, you may park the car in the nearest handicapped spot.


  1. OHMIGOSH!!! This is TOO funny ... and yet, so, so true. I wish someone had given me a list of these laws when I moved here about a year ago. I was so annoyed and frustrated my first couple of months living here. I've now come to understand that these are the rules that are followed by an elite few (many) around here!

  2. unfortunately this applies in a lot more places than just DC. like say, Halifax....

  3. This is excellent. I had no idea about some of these. Will implement immediately. Thanks.


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