Sep 1, 2005

Bizarro driving in the Bay Area

After spending some time in more polite areas of the US, it was educational to have a few days to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area. My conclusion after this trip is that south of Gilroy, the southern border of the Bay Area, you'll find considerate and educated drivers. North of it, you'll find inconsiderate and dangerous drivers. The primary example I have is that of driving and passing in the correct lanes on the highway. As most people know from the California DMV code, the leftmost lane is used to overtake slower traffic. When overtaking a slower-moving vehicle, one moves to the leftmost lane and then at a point when it is safe, changes back to the right lane. One does not continue to drive in the leftmost passing lane for 10 or 20 or 30 miles, maintaining the same speed as the rest of traffic. This rule is not followed once inside the perimeter of the Bay Area.

You'll know you've entered the Bay Area by the “different” driving style. The arrangement of traffic inside the Bay Area is reversed: the leftmost lane chugs slowly while traffic moves progressively faster in the right-hand lanes. You'll not be able to change this highway custom, you can only harmonize with the environment and adapt to it. Otherwise you'll eventually go crazy and drive yourself off a cliff.

What is the scariest thing about driving in the Bay Area?
Answer: You will be sharing the road with this:

Note: The photo above was captured in Palo Alto, not Beijing. Was I was witnessing an episode of Punked, or did she just punch out from her job at the body shop and forget to remove the arc welder mask?


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