The Boston Driver's Handbook

These are excerpts from "The Boston Driver's Handbook", by Ira Gershkoff and Richard Trachtman, a seriocomic publication that is sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious, and most of the time quite accurate. calls it, "...a complete guide to the Big Dig (a massive highway project guaranteed to keep Boston's roads backed up for at least a decade) and everything else about driving the Hub in the 1990s. Photos, diagrams, and maps."

Street signs
"If you are in an unfamiliar part of town, don't even try to navigate by street signs. Most intersections don't have them; those that do are likely to be turned. Major streets are almost never marked; cross streets might be ... It is assumed that the motorist always knows which street he is driving on. Since even experienced Boston Drivers do not always know this, and there is no logic to the layout of the streets, getting lost is a common occurence."

Street layout
"The hodgepodge of one- and two-way streets pointing in different directions, curving wildly, merging from three lanes to one and back again, and sprinkled with 'No Left Turn' signs is enough to unsettle any anarchist."

Right turn on red
"We must reluctantly point out that Massachusetts was one of the last states in the United States to pass legislation permitting right turn on red. As soon as the measure became law, 'No Turn on Red' signs began appearing on every street corner ... To make up for this, city planners are now gathering support for a new law permitting straight ahead on red, and there is a chance that it will pass this year."

Left turns at intersections
"If the car in front or you Beats the Green [i.e. guns the accelerator for a left turn as soon as the light changes to green], the oncoming traffic must stop. But if you tailgate the Green Beater, they will have to stop for you as well, as long as you can manage to follow so closely that oncoming cars cannot cut you off. Properly done, you will have negotiated a difficult intersection at no greater cost than an earful of horn."

Turn signals
"Most drivers misuse their directionals by signalling way too early. It is best not to signal until the middle of the turn; that way, your legal obligation to signal has been fulfilled, but no one has time to react."

The horn
"The most basic use of a horn is to persuade drivers in front of you at an intersection to get moving after a light turns to green. One second is the maximum amount of reaction time you should tolerate before blasting away. While the leading drivers may not be able to go right away due to cross traffic running the red light, this is their problem, not yours ... If you have ever been the lead car under such circumstances, you know how intense the pressure of hundreds of horns honking behind you can be, especially when there is no clear path in front of you."