Thursday, February 08, 2007

Miami Traffic Rules

This post is based on the driving experiences we had in Miami during our visit there as described in [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6] and [7] (yes, impossible as it may be to believe, there is a part [7] and it is not published yet.)

Statutory Warning: These rules are simply basic guidelines and should not be taken as a complete reference.

If you are a pedestrian:

1. You can cross the road at any place you like. Don't worry about a ton of metal hurtling towards you at very high-speed - those metal boxes have drivers with eyes, dont they? So what if the driver in question almost expires with a heart-attack when s/he see you suddenly darting across the street when they are driving at 40 mph (such faint-hearted drivers are most probably tourists anyways).

2. Traffic lights are for wimps. If you are waiting for the light anyway, during the green signal for you, continue to stand on the starting side and talk on your cell phone or converse with your walking companions or stare at the sky or do other such urgent activities. The moment the light turns red for you is the cue for you to start crossing the road. Pedestrians are God, you know!

3. If you feel like it, dart from side to side on the middle of the road while making up your mind about which side you want to ultimately get to. It sure relieves the monotony of vehicle-filled roads for drivers.

If you are driving a vehicle:

1. Traffic lights changing from yellow to red is mostly just a suggestion for you to think about stopping. You can continue proceeding on red till cross traffic absolutely prevents you from doing so.

2. Blocking intersections is the done thing. After all, you did have a green light when you moved to the middle of the intersection and it is not your fault that the two vehicles ahead of you were unable to move up further.

3. If anyone ahead of you disobeys rule 2, honk at them and make angry faces.

4. It is perfectly okay to start new "lanes" of traffic. Isn't it kinda neat when there are four lines of vehicles on a road which has only two lanes? When used in conjunction with rule 2, you can choke an entire intersection with a row of vehicles. Cool, huh?

5. The right lane of any road though technically a part of the road is actually a convenient place for parking. Use it for parking (emergency flashers are not necessary) when you want to a) talk on your cell phone b) go shopping c) run any errand or d) simply sit in your vehicle and watch the traffic go by. This is especially funny when vehicles behind you actually wait patiently thinking that you are going to move on (naive tourists sure are a funny lot).

6. Signalling while changing lanes is an unnecessary use of vehicle energy. Come on, a big vehicle moving onto the next lane should be indication enough of the event!

7. On unprotected turns make your turn irrespective of right of way. The driver with the right of way will most probably not hit you if s/he applies the brakes hard enough as soon as you suddenly turn your vehicle into their oncoming path.

Given all these rules (which we were mostly unaware of till we put our feet or rather wheels there) you can imagine just how much "fun" D and me had while navigating the roads of Miami in the rental car. Oh well, we can now proudly say that we are now Miami-certifed drivers :-) (If you have been reading my blog for some time, you probably know that I am also a New York certified driver - ah, its comforting to know that I can always fall back on the alternate job of a cab-driver :-P.)

At this point, I am sure any person who has visited India is dying to point out: "Get off your high-horse missy, this is exactly how traffic usually is in India". You are absolutely right - but I have not driven much in India so have never had first hand experience before. So there!

Complaints about the chaotic traffic apart, all of us did enjoy the city itself immensely. The beautiful beaches by themselves will give Miami a five-star rating in any vacation guide. Next vacation in Florida will be exclusively spent on the beach :-D.

p.s. Dave Barry has an extremely funny piece about visiting Miami here.

p.s.1. I think Floridans are really nice people basically and hence if any Floridan is reading this, please to change any orders for beating me up to orders for stuffed toys/music/flowers *angelic smile*.


rads said...

hahaha, sounds like you were driving in India. I guess the heat does it to us drivers ;-)

check my blog, will u?

hkarthi said...

Funny one! ...

BTW, congrats on becoming Indian Certified too! the driving conditions are the same, except for few changes which are not hard to master :-)...

keep it coming !

p.s: Guess Indians feel at home driving in Miami ! lol ...

iamvisheshur said...

well in india it isnt just like is better....if u want to no how to drive take a lesson from our auto drivers...

Sandhya Kannan said...

LOL! :--D I thought CA drivers were bad. Miami I didnt realize when I did drive there, was too inexperienced I guess.
This post reminds me of this very laughable paragraph about Paris drivers I read recently, will put it up in my blog. :--))

atul lakhotia said...

hahaha..funny one...!!

congrats on becoming indian u can drive newhere u wish...

surprisingly similar condns exist in Miami also..din expect though...

Archana said...

Rads - it was like that :-)!

hkarthi - LOL :-D - thank you :-)!

iamvisheshur - I know - our chennai autowaalas can compete and win with absolutely any driver - heheheh!

Sandhya - hehhe - yeah, I read about that in your blog - it was funny :-)!

Atul - LOL :-) - thanks!

ACE said...

Not only miami, the nearby Key west is just typical indian metro with electrical "auto rickshaws" driven crazily like indian autowalas, cycles everywhere, and pedestrians very close to your car.. the only object we missed on the road were cows :)

I was just bloghopping and got here.. very funny.. KIU

Anonymous said...

I've tried looking for book online. It can be a year old. I'm in college right now for corrections and hoping to cross over later. Traffic and Florida Statutes
Wheels Miami