Yes, I know that by making that headline that I am including myself and my family in it, because we’re all from Massachusetts. We’re not perfect.
I gotta tell you, though, despite our mandatory driver’s education programs to get your license at a reasonable age, people here just cannot drive worth a damn. I’ve got a few hypotheses as to why this is, but no real evidence to back them up. That is, aside from what my eyeballs see, and we all know the plural of anecdote is not data.. If you ever choose to drive in Massachusetts, you should understand the mentality of the local denizens, just as an animal observer does when entering the jungle.
Firstly, everyone assumes that they have the right of way, whether they actually do or not. Once you wrap your head around this basic assumption, drivers become much more predictable. See that guy on the sidestreet? He’s gonna pull out regardless of your position, and if you hit him he’s gonna throw his cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at you for not stopping – even though HE WASN’T CLEAR TO GO.
Second, nobody knows how to navigate a rotary even though we’re one of the few places that has a lot of them. A rotary is not a roundabout, remember. Rotaries are large circles where traffic enters at speed EXCEPT to yield to traffic already in the rotary. You do not stop at the entrance unless there’s cars coming at you. If it’s clear, GO and do not stop.
Third, most of our speed limits are bullshit. They’re usually too low in an effort to keep ticket writing profitable. What’s the point of limits if nobody obeys them? The real issues tend to be more of poor lane striping, lacking sight distances, and terrible road surfaces. It creates a culture of skirting the regulations because the ones that are there are simply not reasonable.
It also doesn’t help that most of our infrastructure for cars was glommed on top of centuries old road networks. Combine it with a me-first attitude and you can see why our insurance premiums are amongst the highest in the nation. This isn’t even getting into bad weather driving, where people become impossibly terrible when snow starts to fall. Massachusetts, learn how to drive, before it’s too late and we’re all stuck yelling at each other in Route 128 gridlock.