Houston traffic rules from a novice driving terror on our highways

Houston traffic rules from a novice driving terror on our highways
Houston traffic rules from a novice driving terror on our highways

I’m on I-10 or I-610, going 40 or 140 miles an hour, headed straight for death or the Houston Chronicle office, whichever comes first. My eyes bulge like softballs. My eyebrows shoot to my hairline. My gaping mouth is stuck in a silent scream.

It’s my first trip into the city’s thicket of freeways. I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. All I know is that the car in front of me is not playing and the car behind me is not playing and I am definitely not playing because all i want is to get out of here. Wherever it is here.

This is Houston traffic for a beginner.

Every city complains about the traffic. Drivers are too slow, too fast, too stupid. I’m from Austin. The traffic is so different that it is almost impossible to compare. If Houston is an F1 racetrack, Austin’s I-35 is a parking deck. Inch forward two inches, stop. Three inches, stop. Repeat. Repeat.

As I temporarily commute between these two cities for my new job at the newspaper, I’m changing from sloth to gladiator. There will be no singing songs from Hamilton and casually munching on strawberry pop tarts as I navigate these mean streets.

This is chaos. You make your own rules out there and I have some of my own.

Mild aggression. This is best used when merging with the 350 car line on the highway. Step one, turn signal on. Step two, slowly edge the nose of your car into the desired lane. Take a break while the white SUV ignores you. Pause as the green Chevy speeds up to cut you off. Commit accordingly. I am willing to play this slow-motion game with chicken. I drive a 2014 Mazda 2 with a broken passenger side mirror and lots of scratches. What do you drive? Are you willing to live with a dent in the door? I am.

See also  Small Business Administration Opens Disaster Loan Outreach Center for January's EF3 Tornado Relief - Houston Public Media

Aggression aggression. This move requires your full attention. Example. You have to cross five lanes to get to your exit because once again your lying GPS frenemy told you to stay in the three left lanes when you actually need to be on the far right. You see an opening. Look around, use your mirrors, listen for the roar of other aggressors. So go. Look for oncoming cars behind and beside you. Do not plow into the vehicle that has stopped suddenly. Keep going until you finally roll onto the exit ramp with the rosy glow of success and terror.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *