On Driving in the USA


While traveling with my father-in-law last night to pick up my mother from the Boston airport, and driving back again, I experienced a great many of the joys of driving in the USA in the 21st century, which I thought I should share with you:

  1. While following a map it is important to follow the directions to the letter.
  2. Mapping out the USA is an extremely arduous process – if a 40-year-old house isn't mapped correctly (my house) you shouldn't expect every bit of construction to be represented, even if it has been around for months or even years.
  3. While it is possible to report problems in the results of mapping systems, do not expect issues to fixed in a reasonable fashion – a year is far too short of a timespan to resolve all issues.
  4. Do not expect areas under construction to have temporary road signage in place - locals know where they are going, if you don't then you shouldn't be here.
  5. Some roads can be extremely confusing with multiple names, so modern mapping systems have opted to use the lesser well-known street names as they are more linguistically pleasing; note: these road names may not be found on any road signs.
  6. Roundabouts may not give any indication as to what each street's name is, the available space on the side of the road or on the median of the roundabout itself is too valuable and will be used for other things.
  7. In today's world of ongoing pressure to reduce running costs for our cities, do not expect our roads to be navigable at night, there are far too many lavish expense accounts to cover.
  8. When trying to decide between taking a short route to reach the nearest highway or taking a direction that should in-theory lead to a "probably the right direction" route but which will lead to endless winding through the city including several aforementioned construction areas, take the latter even if the road turns out to not be the one you thought you were looking for.
  9. Do not expect driving instructions provided by mapping services to include all of the steps necessary, they're trying to both cut running costs and provide entertainment value.
  10. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation knows that driving can be a chore and boring. To counter this, they provide a fun driving game for visitors by removing all road markings going through intersections, so everyone can have a fun game of Chicken.
  11. There is never any fog in New Hampshire, especially that insanely dense fog where you can barely see the road on the ground beside your front wheel.
  12. There are no mountains in New Hampshire.
  13. There are no bends in the roads in New Hampshire.
  14. There's never any other traffic on the road in New Hampshire.
  15. Nobody drives at night in New Hampshire.

Safe driving!

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