In many ways, San Antonio is the best city I’ve ever lived in. The people are the friendliest, the culture is the most inspiring, and the food is the tastiest. But the driving? The. Worst. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m on the back roads of Boerne, driving downtown, or sitting in traffic at Stone Oak and 1604, I’m constantly befuddled and annoyed by the Alamo City’s unique rules of the road. No offense if you grew up and learned to drive here, but I’ve been here for 15 years and there are some aspects of the road that I have yet to figure out. I’ll name a few.
- The immense confusion regarding the left lane. It’s a beautiful morning and I drop off my youngest and merge onto I-10. (Don’t even get me started on merging. More on that later.) I pull into the right lane, where the driver in front of me is going 65 in a 70 mph zone. No problem, I think. I’ll just move over into the middle lane. Except there is a problem because the driver in the middle lane is also going 65 mph. Good thing I-10 is four lanes wide, because I’ve got two more lanes to choose from. But not a good thing because those drivers are also DRIVING BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT. Listen, if you want to drive below the speed limit, knock yourself out, but do it in the far right lane, aka the “slow lane.” Also? The far left lane is for PASSING. Not driving ten miles under the speed limit and refusing to move over. Do not even get me started on the situation I regularly encounter in which two 18-wheelers drive the exact same speed in two lanes next to each other.
- What is this turn signal of which you speak? There’s a game I like to play here, and it goes like this: try to guess if the person in front of you is slowing to a stop because they are (a) trying to annoy you, (b) having a medical emergency, or (c) trying to turn left but don’t have their turn signal on. More often than not, it’s c. I guess maybe all drivers here are also supposed to be mind readers and realize that the person in the lane next to us is honking because he wants to move over a lane yet has no signal indicating such. Apparently we are all supposed to just intuit the thoughts and feelings of other drivers as we drive. Good news: What if I told you there was a stick on the end of your steering wheel that could let other people know which direction you wanted to go?
- What does yield mean and what is this weird triangular sign? The merging, ohhh how I loathe the merging. Once, I was driving with a friend who has grown up here and she scolded me for not stopping at a yield sign. She was shocked when I explained to her the meaning of the word “yield.” I was shocked that she’d been driving for 20 years and stopping at every yield sign she saw. After spending several years here, I determined that her case was not abnormal, and in fact, it seems that few people understand the point of a yield sign. For clarity, here is the definition of yield: To give up (an advantage, for example) to another; concede. So if no one else is coming, you don’t have to stop. I know this is confusing for my beloved San Antonians. Nowhere is this more evident than at the 1604 and 1-10 interchange, where on any given day traffic is backed up for miles because no one will just GO.
If you also spend your drive time screaming into your fist, here are a few distracting podcasts to help distract you from the people next to you attempting to change lanes without a turn signal.
–True Crime Obsessed
–Fake Doctors, Real Friends
–Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me
–You’re Wrong About
I really do love San Antonio, despite my constant frustration with its drivers. Do you have any gripes about the drivers I missed?