Having come from Michigan where the speed limits are pretty much in the 70s regardless of what freeway you go on… give or take (more so give) five mph for the “unwritten rule” that Police generally won’t bother you if you’re just going five miles above the speed limit, and give another five or six miles for those reckless drivers like myself who spots someone going 80, gets behind them and steps on it with the hope that if someone gets pulled over it’ll be them, and not you— since you were merely keeping up with the flow of traffic, of course! Michigan freeways at this point, with the steady decline of its population, have become an autobahn like experience, much to my amusement. I relished the days when I could cruise down the Lodge without a care in the world, since the freeway is so small there aren’t any shoulders for Police to sit on and bust you for speeding, and people generally know how to speed without wrecking. So, on my first day of driving in Dallas, boy was I in for a shock!
Dallas freeways seem to be in perpetual traffic jams! Regardless of what time of day or night, there seems to be traffic…but, I guess that’s the price you pay when living in a city with 6,447,614 other residents. What makes driving in the metroplex even worse is the fact that the signage here is just all wrong! You’ll see a sign on your right telling you you’re exits coming up in one mile, so you prepare to get over only to find out .2 seconds before its time to exit, that your exit is really on the left side of the freeway and now you have to do a triple salchow across a crowded freeway just so you won’t miss your exit. I’m sure some of you are wondering… why not just go to the next exit? Well, there are plenty of reasons, but here are just a few:
1. Texas has some of the most ridiculous tolls I have ever seen in my life! These tolls require you to not only pay when you get on, but pay 50 times along the way, and again when you get off. So, in just a five mile drive you’ve already spent a hefty $3.00 on tolls. Now, do you think I am at all interested in paying to get off on the wrong exit, only to have to pay to get back on, and then pay to get off on the right exit? No gracias!
2. Some of the freeways here are set up as traps. Really. The exits can be literally three miles down the freeway before you can even get off, and I personally am not at all interested in burning extra gas to go alllll the way to the next exit, then come allllll the way back to the right exit. Why go through that when I can just zig zag my way to the right exit?
3. Could it just be that I have no idea where I’m going? If I miss my exit I just may need to call the Police and report myself missing… there are just that many freeways and that many exits here!
But, there are pluses to driving in horrendous traffic. People are so anxious to get where they’re going that they are willing to drive ten miles over the 60 mph speed limit just to get there. While some might complain that people drive way too fast here, I feel… a sense of belonging. I have a lead foot, I’ll admit it (and so will my Michigan drivers license *hee hee*) but so does everyone else, and I LOVE it! I couldn’t possibly imagine myself driving 60 mph!
So, what are my tips for the out of state driver?
-Step on it! Please don’t try to go the speed limit, you may get shot by an impatient gun wielding Texan.
-If you can drive in any type of weather (i.e snow, sleet, rain,drizzle, light wind, cloudy skies that might possibly be rain), good for you, because no one else here can! If you value your life please stay in the house when inclement weather hits! I cannot count how many flipped over cars and accidents I have seen since I’ve moved here.
-Reduce your road rage to merely talking to yourself… in your head. There is a never ending list of news stories about someone being shot over giving someone the finger, shouting out the window, or cutting someone off on the road. I’ve considered road rage a major part of my duties as a driver, until now! Sure I get annoyed by the Texan jumping in front of me on a rainy day just waiting to hydroplane, flip over and kill us all… but I keep it ten in two since everyone here has a gun, and I’m just not prepared for a shoot out.
-Be prepared to sit in traffic…. simple enough, right?
-Get a toll tag,it will save you so much time and agony! Yes, it costs $40 and yes they automatically charge you another $40 when your tag gets down to $10, but its so great avoiding some of the heavier traffic on the free freeways.
Hope these tips and tricks help you out on your journey from point A to point B!