is not exactly the place that comes to mind first when one thinks of bad drivers
. Regardless, the Austin
driving experience will still follow through in its promise to leave you completely frustrated and in a terrible mood almost everytime you step into the car
Here are some tips to survive driving in Austin:
Tip 1: Texas Snow
One thing to know about Texas snow is that it's not like the beautiful sort of White Christmas, kids woken up in the middle of the night to see the first snow of winter type of deal. It's dirty. It's sludgy. And it doesn't take long before it becomes a sheet of ice. Walking on it is hard enough; it turns your average sidewalk into the Ice Capades.
Austin is a city full of people who usually aren't prepared for this type of thing -- Texas snow lingers for only a day or two out of the year, if it comes at all. Beware of who is driving near you and how often you slam on your brakes, which is, on a normal basis, an everyday occurance in Austin.
Tip 2: Driving in a Rainstorm
This isn't exactly a tip per se. More like a warning to those of you who'd like to visit the Texas capital.
If you thought Austinites had trouble driving when the city ices over, you've seen nothing until you've seen an Austinite drive in the rain. It seems to be perfectly acceptable to drive 40 mph on a 65 mph freeway when it's only drizzling out.
Tip 3: Playing Hardball
One general characteristic of drivers in Austin are that they're incredibly stubborn.
Obviously they're not all like that, but those that are would seriously rather die than let you onto the freeway. This works the opposite way as well -- people would sooner sell their family into slavery than feel the defeat of being a whole one car behind on the freeway.
Make no assumptions -- more often than not, they have no intention of letting you on the freeway.
Tip 4: I-35
One of the major freeways in Austin, I-35 is one of the most often used routes for people headed to work in downtown Austin.
It's subject to some horrible rush hour traffic. At its peak traffic time, it could take as long as two hours to travel from one end of the city to the other.
At other times, you could be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic only to find at the end of it ... nothing. No obstructions, traffic accidents, etc ... nothing.
The freeway itself is an architectural horror. The entrance ramps on the lower deck are almost non-existant, which an out-of-towner may not be prepared for. It's been said that the designer of this particular freeway committed suicide by jumping off his creation after hearing of all the accidents that it had caused. (Sounds like a bit of an urban legend to me, but if anyone can say for sure, please /msg me.)
Be ready for some hair ripping time of Austin's IH-35.
Tip 5: Driving on Lamar Blvd.
Lamar Blvd. is a major street in Austin, its length traveling through one end of the city straight to the other. It's a possible alternative to using I-35 to get to downtown or the University of Texas at Austin, depending on where you live.
Lamar, particularly North Lamar, is a gem to drive on. Beware of the people inflicted with the "I'll turn left whenever I damn well please" syndrome and those who drive 10 miles under the speed limit regardless of the weather. (See Tip 2: Driving in a Rainstorm.)
Note to the humour impaired: These "tips" are not to be taken too seriously or literally. Generalizations have been made by the author with the sole intent to amuse; there is intention of offending the Austin driver with this node.