Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Driving in the South

by James Glaser
February 23, 2007

Right away I noticed some things were different about driving down here. First off, you don't need to use your turn signals, and when the light turns red at an intersection, three or four more cars get to go through the intersection.

A new one I learned today, if you are in the right turn lane and plan to turn right, don't be surprised if the person on your left decides to make a right turn too. . . right into your lane. The same is true if you are in the lane that is supposed to go straight through the intersection, you have to beware that the person in the right turn lane might decide to make a left turn from there.

Now I know all of these things are legal, because I have been in intersections where this type of driving takes place, along with a police car, and have yet to see a person stopped or ticketed. Heck, I have seen many police cars run red lights, and police cars don't have to signal either.

Speeding in the South is universal. Back home we felt safe if we stayed less than five miles an hour over the posted limit. Down here they figure that number to be fifteen.

Another thing that I see a lot of is cars that actually move with the beat of the music they are playing. I use the term "music' loosely, and really all you hear are the bass notes. Some times you can hear a car coming at you from blocks away, watch it pass and hear the beat of the song fade away for minutes as the car goes down the street.

If you are looking for a retirement investment, you might think about the hearing aid industry. Another good one could be companies that surgically erase tattoos.

Back to the driving. People aren't better drivers back home, it is that there are way fewer drivers, and you don't have to signal your turn, because every one knows where you are going to turn.

If you play your car stereo too loud back home, your parents, neighbors, friends, and probably your minister are going to tell you to knock it off. Here is Tallahassee we have close to 50,000 college students, and most of them are from out of town. . . so they do tend to run amok.

The drivers here have no excuse. I guess it is just the way they drive in Tallahassee. I don't see this kind of driving in Pensacola or Jacksonville. The speed thing could be because they don't have ice and snow to contend with, and people down here have newer cars. Newer cars are hard to keep under the speed limit. People in Minnesota, at least in rural Minnesota, will keep a vehicle until it rusts in half, and a lot of people don't play their radio too loud, because they can't get a clear station.

I think it is safe to say that the pace in Northern Minnesota is a lot slower, and now that I think about it, we don't have any intersections in Northome that have traffic signals. All we have are stop signs, and truth be told, there are a lot of rolling stops made at them, But people do signal their lane changes more often up North and maybe that has something to do with the ice too.

So, driving in the South keeps you on your toes.

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