Rules of the Road

I have driven all over the world, and have noticed the driving peculiarities of the native populations. Below are some of the main driving rules, and the main automotive accessories people use to cope with their particular driving environment. I am almost certain that these rules are in no driver’s manual anywhere, so these are the unwritten rules of the road.

New York City

Rule: Signal intentions with elaborate hand gestures.

Accessory: Horn-o-matic™, a computer operated horn that activates upon the detection of a Green Light. Unfortunately, in New York City, the speed of green light obeys special laws of relativity causing it to arrive at the vehicle behind you before it gets to you.


Rule: Drive your cah so that if the other driver does not take evasive action, he will hit you.

Accessory: Reinforced bumpers.

Los Angeles

Rule: Do not discharge a .45 weapon in a .22 zone.

Accessory: Kevlar siding.


Rule: If it’s raining (and when isn’t it), slow down to 15 mph, and crash into the nearest vehicle.

Accessory: Pontoon bridging equipment. You never know when the bridge you are planning to take will fall down or sink.


Rule: Japan does not have driving rules; they have parking rules since traffic doesn’t move. The quickest way out of a Tokyo traffic jam is to sell your car to the person behind you and buy the one in front of you.

Accessories: Cell phone, fax machine, and laptop so you can get some work done by the time you get into the office late in the afternoon.


Rule: Same driver’s manual as California, except translated into Turkish and interpreted with Islamic fatalism. If Allah wills you to have an accident, you will have an accident no matter how safely you drive. If Allah wills to protect you, no amount of daring will harm you. The conclusion is inescapable, put the pedal to the metal, and leave the driving to Allah.

Accessory: A copy of the Koran.

North Carolina

Of course, I can’t get away with just a few lines when talking about driving in the home state.

  1. North Carolina is NASCAR country. The overriding rule of the road is pole position. Position your car so as to be in front of the car in front of you. It doesn't matter if you have to drive 5 miles past your exit to complete the pass. Do not lift your right foot off the floorboard until you see the checkered flag drop.

  2. If you are bringing in a car from out of state, you will have to have the turn signal de-installed so it can pass inspection.

  3. If the car in an adjoining line front of you is signaling a turn into your lane, (out of stater obviously) accelerate to close the gap before it can pull in.

  4. A yellow light means, “speed up.” (See next rule).

  5. You can proceed through a red light if the car in front of you goes through.

  6. When approaching a red light, accelerate at maximum speed to the point where only maximum breaking will stop you before the intersection. You might just luck out and have the light turn green at the last moment and you won't have to slow down at all.

  7. Creeping forward into the intersection will cause the light to turn green. If you get your entire vehicle into the intersection before the light turns, you may proceed.

  8. Highway speeds are posted in mach, not miles per hour.

  9. Do not follow a pick up truck with a gun rack too closely, especially if it is driven by a man wearing a baseball cap that says "John Deere" or "Caterpillar." You don't want to get hit with a piece of spit out "chaw." Use extra caution if the driver is wearing the cap backwards. (Turning a baseball cap around backwards lowers the wearer's IQ by at least 20 points).

  10. All turns are made from the far lane into the far lane. In other words, to make a left turn, get into the right lane, then turn into the right lane of the cross road. (If you don't cross six lanes of traffic in the process, you’ve done it wrong!)

  11. Do not blow your horn as soon as the light turns green (You Yankees might want to de-install your Horn-o-matic™ ) if you are behind a vehicle that has a bumper sticker that reads, "If you can read this, you are within small arms range."

  12. It is illegal to pick up hitchhikers, but it is legal to pick up road kill. So, if you see someone on the side of the road, you have to run him over before you can pick him up.

  13. Watch out for children; they have a difficult time seeing over the dashboard of the heavy farm machinery they are operating.

  14. All vehicles must come to a complete stop before making a right turn except at a red light.

  15. If you are making a left hand turn across a lane of traffic, and the cars in front of you are doing the same, you can continue with your turn regardless of oncoming traffic. This concept is known as “left of way.”

  16. When in doubt, bear right. (This is Jesse Helms country).

Pavement Markings and Road Signs

Left Hand Passing Lane.

Right Hand Passing Lane

This sign is obviously not an official NCDOT sign. It is missing the bullet holes.

Speed Limit

Construction Ahead for Next 10 Years

Rear end collision area. Beware of the car in front of you. It may stop if there are people standing by the side of the road.

Expect to see the following filling the entirety of your rear view mirror