Cracking the Code: Why Californians are such bad drivers.

driving%20mad.jpg I’ve lived in virtually every part of the country at some point in my life, and can say without reservation that the worst drivers in the nation are in California. But finally, after years of enduring left-hand turns from right-hand lanes, people doing 50 in the passing lane of the 101, and slamming on my brakes when the person yammering on their cell phone suddenly swerves into my lane, after all this I can now say I have cracked the code as to what's gone wrong. It's all about culture. California is a prototypical car culture. People in California think of their cars as their own little islands of tranquility. It's a place to get time away from other people, to listen to your favorite music and generally to relax. The other cars on the road are, if anything, an invasion of privacy. I think this explains the otherworldliness that Californian drivers display. They tend to treat the roads as their own personal conduits for their customized transport pods. Boston however has the best drivers in the world. The reason why is drivers in Boston tend to be better drivers is they unconsciously understand that traffic is a super organism. A car is a conveyance to get from one place to another, and that you have to be constantly aware of what everyone else around you is doing in order to be a safe and efficient driver. For example if you're merging onto the highway at the height of rush hour in Boston everyone cooperates in “zipper merging” where every other car let's someone in much like the teeth on a zipper. Don't misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that Boston is the paradise of driving. One of the reasons why Bostonians tend to drive more aggressively than other drivers is they have a healthy mistrust of all the other drivers on the road. Bostonians are hyperaware of the other cars around them because they simply assume you're from California and quite capable of having an out of body experience behind the wheel at a moments notice. Did I mention I had a frustrating day in traffic today?

One thought on “Cracking the Code: Why Californians are such bad drivers.

  1. Ric

    Actually, this has more to do with a common discursive story on American culture, that probably can be found in most places everywhere. This is the story of how people can’t drive, either here or over there. This is something everyone says.
    This has actually been operationalized and tested though. A group went to all major cities and tested how fast people drive in the passing lane, how aggressive they were, etc… and NYC won as the worst place to drive. Second was Dallas.
    Having driven in both, I have to agree. Dallas is unique in Texas for horrible driving, and it’s also unique to the police taking over an hour to clear an accident. In Houston or San Antonio you get a ticket if your car can still move and you don’t move it to the side of the road. Here, the police stand around talking will miles and miles of traffic back up.

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