Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mean drivers? Charlotte tops Boston

As many of you know, I've just spent 10 months in Cambridge, Mass., generally considered part of the Boston metro area, since Harvard Square is closer to Boston's Fenway Park than SouthPark is to downtown Charlotte. "Boston drivers" have a fearsome reputation nationwide for inappropriate, even insane behavior as well as ripe invective and insults.

I did some driving in Boston, and a lot of driving in Cambridge. My conclusion: Boston drivers are nicer than those in Charlotte. Now I'm back in the city where, if you need to change lanes, no one will let you in.

In Boston, those supposedly demented and reckless drivers routinely let other cars merge in front of them. In Charlotte they act as if you're trying to steal their birthright.

Years ago we vacationed in Boston and New England in a rented car and, because my husband had injured his arm, I did all the driving for two weeks. Yes, those New England rotaries are hair-raising. Yes, the lanes are poorly marked, and people treat lane markings as mere suggestions, anyway. But when you need to change lanes they let you. I remember getting back to Charlotte, zipping down Providence Road, turning on my signal and starting to merge into another lane. The SUV on my left flank sped up to ensure that I couldn't. So did the SUV behind it. I knew I was back home again.

For the past year every time I needed to turn left, the Cambridge traffic would stop to allow it. No surly looks. No speeding up out of spite. This morning I sat behind a garbage truck on Providence Road, near Christ Church, hoping to change lanes, left-turn blinker a-blinking, as the left-lane cars streamed past. And streamed. And streamed. One car hung back, looking as if it was letting me in. I began to edge over and the driver sped up, just to ensure that I didn't get ahead of it. Welcome home.

117 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree, I've lived all over the USA and Charlotte drivers suck PERIOD. Absolutely the worse there is.

From not letting you in, to not being capable of merging, to sitting at a green light after it's turned green for so long that only 2 cars get through the intersection.

That's why I gave up and sold my car years ago. Moved uptown and only use my feet, bicycle, the bus and LYNX. The only time I ever get into a car is when I rent one to leave Charlotte on a short road trip. The decrease in stress is amazing as well as it allows me a lot more read time.

Can't wait until the LYNX is complete all over the city. Then we need an AMTRAK directly to the beach. This driving crap is archaic and unnecessary for most people out there that live within reason to the city.

....... if they would only give it a try.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've lived in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, driven in Boston and DC and LA. The funny part is Charlotte seems to be much friendlier than any of those places. Although I have noticed that most times, the cars that do tend to drive meaner have that "NY" sticker somewhere on their back window. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! Crass jerks because they use lawnmowers on Sunday! Now that's a first! And I thought I'd heard it all.

Anonymous said...

I'm originally from Boston and people there aren't rude- the roads there are so old and so difficult to navigate that if you're not an aggresive driver you will get run off the road. Thats why Bostonians have that reputation.

Charlotte drivers are AWFUL!! I've lived here for two years and people don't know that little stick to the left is a turn signal, they sit at intersections when the light is green, they bottleneck main roads whenever they see flashing lights because they have to slow down and watch, and people think they are on a Sunday morning drive during rush hour!! Driving in this city makes me crazy.

Anonymous said...

IT'S ALL THE DAMN YANKEES! Duh!

And if you are one of those drivers that sees a long line of stopped cars, then drives past them all in the other lane, THEN tries to get someone to let you in in front of the long queue of other drivers who have been waiting patiently...THEN THEY SHOULDN'T LET YOU IN!

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Anonymous said...

Wake up, it is not that people here are rude, in fact just the opposite. The cause of the problem is that people here are ignorant. They do not know the guidelines of driving (probably becuase 25% of the community is illegal and never took the exam and another 25% are not used to 'city' driving), such as the LEFT LANE IS FOR PASSING, the MIDDLE LANE IS FOR DRIVING, and the RIGHT LANE IS FOR MERGING. So the ignorance causes frustration and makes people try to maximize their time and think less about others.

Anonymous said...

I am originally from Long Island. Moved around the country a bit and settled here in Charlotte back in 1982.

Don't let any locals tell you that "things were better back then". They have driven like crap ever since I moved here 26 years ago.

Anonymous said...

dey wuz tryin to send ya back to bahstun up dere

Proud Charlotte Native said...

Anon 12:07 you're so right! I'd say over 90 percent of the drivers in Charlotte are transplants. THEY are the ones who give Charlotte drivers a bad reputation. And the few native Charlotteans that are left, who always use their turn signals (like me) and drive like a sane person, never get credit. I am so, sooooo tired of people moving here then complain that we, the natives, are complaining. Let's see about a half a million Southerners move to your cherished Yankee town that you moved away from even though it was so GREAT and see how YOU would like it! And by the way, mowing your lawn on Sunday IS rude. You just weren't reared correctly to know the difference between being rude versus being a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Better in the Burbs ????

No way, it's insane out there. I cringe anytime I have to drive there. Mini van and SUV mommas that will run your ass down.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

yes yes yes everything is so much better up north

blah blah blah you lost the war blah blah blah rednecks blah blah blah

Now why don't you kids show us your driving prowess by heading back up there.

Anonymous said...

It's funny reading this post. I'm from Boston originally (grew up there) but relocated to Charlotte about 3 years ago (AND I LOVE CHARLOTTE). However, I noticed that right away. Boston drivers have this really bad rap but they WILL let people go. I had a really difficult time adjusting to Charlotte drivers, especially when trying to take a left-hand turn. Back in Boston, if you're the first car waiting to take a left hand turn at a traffic light, the drivers in the other direction will let you go! Now, granted, the other driver does have the right of way and it's done right in Charlotte, but I had a very difficult time adjusting to the "ah, just let 'em go" attitude that we have up North. I'm back and forth a lot and as insane as Boston drivers can be, there is a courtesy factor even though it goes against the laws of the road. When I first moved down here, I'd be on the highway with only one other car in site, right on my freaking bumper!!! I live off Steele Creek Road and when trying to take the left to get on Steele Creek Road in the a.m., God forbid a driver will let you. I started going the long way just so I can stop and let those poor souls from my neighborhood take that left turn. Anyhoots, as much as I love Charlotte, I do think the general courtesy of drivers is lacking here.

Anonymous said...

Just like Charlotte, the world's biggest small city—with no "there" there—that's so insecure that it's full of itself, its drivers are so insecure that they, too, feel they have something to prove.

Commuters in real cities know how reciprocal driving is supposed to work.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart southern hospitality.

Anonymous said...

No no...the WORST drivers in Charlotte are the Steelers fans. Every time some dork yapping on his cell phone cuts three lanes of traffic in front of me, or blows right through a red light because he/she is too lazy to stop it's some Steelers fan.

Go ahead and keep an eye out if you don't believe me!

Anonymous said...

I agree, the mohter's in the burbs will run your ass over (however, we do it with grace)... Have to get the little ones to where they need to go especially if your a working mom... :0)

Secondly, I agree Northerners are not as friendly in general. However, we are out there and for real. One thing I have learned about "Good Ole Southern Women"... They talk the talk but don't walk the walk. My father was from the South and I visited here alot. I remember visiting once or twice a year and going to church with my aunts, grandmother, cousin etc. They would be standing there with there hands raised, praying to the Lord Jesus Christ and by the time we went to brunch and ordered our food they where gossiping about someone and what they did and how aweful that it was... GIVE ME A FREAKEN BREAK. PEOPLE IN THE SOUTH ARE NO BETTER THEN ANYONE ELSE, THEY ARE JUST BIGGER HYPOCRITS.

Brendan said...

All of the bad drivers in Charlotte are from the North. Period.

Anonymous said...
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mcap said...

Everywhere I travel the people there tell me that they have the worst drivers - the only thing that differs is what they are worst at.

In some areas, it is a lack of courtesy; in others it is aggressive driving; in still others it is no turn signals, or don't know how to pass, or can't merge, etc.

It seems that drivers suck everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I've lived here for over twenty years. The drivers here have always been sub-par, I've suspected because of the unwillingness to accept that Charlotte is not a quaint Southern city but a bustling metropolis. (Note that I believe city planners also fail to appreciate the city's size, hence their desires to build up the area without appreciating the traffic implications.) Traffic is still heavier and faster in Boston and Chicago, but the drivers understand how to treat one another, how to merge.

They don't consider their commute a NASCAR race and that another driver wanting to pull in front of them does not constitute yielding first place in the race. :P

Anonymous said...
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Transplant to Charlotte from the South said...

#1 - if you don't see the garbage truck (or city bus) you are stuck behind until you are stopped behind them, I'm sorry. (Put down the phone and pay attention to your surroundings) Don't expect me to slam to a stop in the other lane in order to let you over. That just ties up 2 lanes of traffic and is dangerous.
#2 - If I see you running all the way up a empty lane just to jump over at the last second in my lane that I have spent a good 15 minutes sitting in waiting my turn (Monroe Road, Matthews drivers pay attention) I am not going to let you in. Do you think your time is more important than mine?
#3 - Good rule to follow when changing lanes - be driving the same speed as the drivers in the lane you want to merge into or wait until it is all clear.

Anonymous said...

So many thoughts bubbling up in my mind right now...

I lived in Charlotte a decade, and now live down in the DEEP South. But I went to college in new jersey. When I visit my old buddies once a year or so, I find the drivers there to be "tame" and timid. They might honk or flip the bird, but they drive 2 MPH over the speed limit - help people merge (instead of running them off the road onto the shoulder as they come down the on-ramp), RESPECT directional signals when you turn them on, and even "WAVE" their hand to say "Thanks!" after you let them in !!

In fact, last month right outside NYC, only one person honked at me, over and over -- as he passed me I realized he saw my Citadel sticker and he was giving me a thumbs up and salute (when I saw his too on his car). In CLT, fuggedaboudit. So glad to have left the city, even though for the most part it treated me so well.

Anonymous said...

I soo agree with this article, why are Charlotte drivers so bad? Otherwise nice people seem to turn into insane idiots once getting in their cars.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should move to Boston.

David Fin said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yankees are the worst drivers, PERIOD. They are rude, agressive and insane. Wonder if the influx of yankees to Charlotte plays a role in our driving?

The best road they can take is 77 NORTH, just stay on it for about 7 or 8 hours.

Anonymous said...

Mary I think it is the part of town you live in - all those yuppie silver spooners who have an entiltlement complex. Years ago when my babes were little and I was driving a (slow) mini van, I was waiting to turn left onto East from Queens. The guy in the Range Rover behind me (complete with driving hat, scarf and leather gloves!) kept pounding the horn b/c he thought I should pull out in front of oncoming traffic, which I did not do, having two babies in the back. Each time he would honk he would scream "f__king Bi*ch" -- over and over and over. I was so frazzled. (I read lips being deaf in one ear) I finally was able to turn left, and he sped around me giving me the finger with his impeccably gloved hand. I dropped the babes at day care and was cutting through the First Union atrium to office when who do I see but Mr.Range Rover with his banking buddies getting a coffee! I marched right up to him and said "I'm so glad I didn't keep you from your morning coffee clatch!" He looked puzzled and I said "I'm the f**king B**ch who wasn't turning left quick enough for you! He turned so red and apologized, saying, "I guess I feel anonymous behind the wheel!" I also get honks and middle fingers from folks all the time for such mortal sins as stopping at the yellow and letting people merge or get out of their own driveways. People are so selfish these days. It is disgraceful.
--Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Helpful Driving Hints for Our Friends from the North

1. Get in the lane well before you need to turn. If you've driven down a particular street more than three times, you have no excuse to not realize which lane you need to be in. This is especially true at outbound Providence and Queens: You need to be in the left lane if you want to turn left.

2. The German "charge down the empty lane and then try cutting in at the last second" method is not kosher. Don't do it. Southerners do not respect pushy people.

3. Just because you have your blinkers on does not mean that you will be let in. Other people may have been sitting waiting to go far longer than you. It's nice to be nice, but fair is fair. And if you can't change lanes in a reasonable amount of time, you should...

4. Know your alternate routes. If you miss a turn, you don't have to sit there and jam up traffic while you try to force your way across busy lanes. Just keep going and make a U-turn if you have to. If you miss your turn at Providence, keep going down Queens and turn left on Sharon Road. Go straight and you will hit SouthPark.

5. PUT DOWN YOUR FREAKING CELL PHONE.

6. Finally, remember: The traffic is congested because you moved here.

Anonymous said...

Drive in Tampa or Chicago then tell me Charlotte is bad. Charlotte traffic isn't bad and neither are the drivers. I LOVE CHARLOTTE!!

Anonymous said...

I got flipped off yesterday for wanting to change lanes. I thought that was funny. I really enjoyed it when I ended up behind the guy at the stoplight on Providence and 485. I tried to look mad so he would think I might follow him home, but really, I was just going the same way he was. Now, what would possess you to flip someone off in this day and age? I could have had a really bad day and have a loaded gun for all you know. Was it really worth it?
Seriously though, during a recent trip to New Hampshire we got to drive through all sorts of northern states and cities, including Boston. There were jerks in every state and there were courteous people in every state. I think Americans have too much road rage in general because we sit in traffic to do anything. The cities were planned (or not planned for that matter) to keep it that way.

If I leave work after 4:30, it costs me an extra 30 minutes to get home and I am not happy about it... especially when some guy gives me the bird.. oh, wait, I actually thought that was funny.

My $.02 - Drivers and traffic both suck with some occasional exceptions wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

Charlotteans are in such a hurry to get someplace - this is the source of rudeness on the road. In my opinion, the speed limits are much to high in some areas, but there would be an uproar if the city tried to change them. Highway speeds on Providence Road with no shoulder and close curbs and trees is ridiculous. No wonder there are so many accidents. There is constant speeding in many 35 mph zones - once3 in a while there is enforcement - but today I saw a police car go right by as a car was going 50 in a 35.
Just came back from Albuquerque - Numerous wide 6 lane roads where everyone goes 40 MPH - the lights are so well timed, that speeders would be stopping at red lights constantly.

Anonymous said...

^

Ahhhhhhhh, that would mean actual planning. Never going to happen here.

Anonymous said...

From Bahstun…

This is a very entertaining thread.

I agree with the other comments that drivers are bad everywhere, it’s just what they are bad at that differs. One of the biggest things that got to me when I moved here 4 years ago was the amount of people that insist on traveling at the speed limit in each lane. I grew up in an environment where one lane traveled near the speed limit and at least one other lane traveled faster: none of this three-car-wide traveling roadblock that I see all too much on I-77.

To the posters that don’t like people traveling up in the empty lanes then turning in. Too bad, they’re empty lanes. You have the same right to travel in them as anyone else. If you choose to sit in traffic, that’s your choice. Don’t take out your frustration on other people.

In response to the posters that crowd the merge lane and close the gaps to prevent merges. I have a simple solution for that: I keep the blinker on and simply turn in anyway. You would be surprised how quickly that $50K soccer Mom SUV hits it brakes and lets you in ;)

You see, it’s not that we Boston drivers are more courteous when it comes to merging in Boston, we just know that if we don’t let someone in, they’ll simply turn in anyway. It’s not worth the hassle.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so it's not simple courtesy in Boston. It's just the realization that people are bastards and you might as well give in.

Anonymous said...

The problem with people merging is that the people wanting to merge in insist on going all the wayh to the very end of the merge lane and at the last second try to slip over in front of somebody.

I have on many occasions (while driving on the inner loop of I485 at the merge lane from Johnston Rd) dropped back at least 5 to 6 car lengths to let people in and they refuse to get in the lane that early. Instead they go all the way down to the end, just to be a few extra cars ahead. What does that save them, about 2 seconds worth of time? Real brilliant. That is what creates the whole bottleneck problem. If they would just merge in as sson as they see a spot (and of course, people need to allow room for merging traffic) maybe some of the bottlenecks wouldn't be so bad.

If I see you coming up to the end of the merge lane and you refused to get over in an open spot earlier, and if I see you jump out of the regular lane just to bolt down to the end of the merge lane to get in front of a few extra cars, I will slide over so you can't get by.

If everbody would just give and take a little, things might go easier.

Just my two cents

Anonymous said...

I don't have any problems with rude people driving, save for some cut through traffic in my neighborhood. As long as you drive with some sense and don't give people reason to get pissed off no one is mean. I take Independence to work every morning- have to merge a couple of times and if you just pay attention it works fine. Use your turn signal and look for a space. It's not rocket science and in 8 years of making that drive I can count on one hand the number of times someone either would not let me over or drove aggresively.

And seriously- if you don't like Charlotte and continuously have problems with it and continue to be dissatisfied with your quality of life, then MOVE.

padrino1818 said...

Like "anon. 1:42" , I too find it interesting that I am much more relaxed when I'm driving on the congested NJ Turnpike then when I'm driving around Charlotte. Anyone here ever try to navigate the Sam Furr Rd/Hwy 21 corridor around lunchtime? I white-knuckle it every day, praying that some fool doesn't t-bone me trying to turn left across the 4 lanes in front of Target. I blame the city planners and transit people as much as the drivers though. The roads here are so poorly planned and so overcrowded, that it is practically a recipe for the agressive, "only the strong survive" mentality that exists here. But trust me folks, a little courtesy goes a long way. It is also contagious, so next time someone lets you merge, give them a "thank you wave" and then pay it forward. It won't kill you to be kind.

It's NOT a northern vs. southern issue. Get over yourselves people. It's ignorance vs. courtesy and there isn't a particular demographic that has one more than the other. There are jerks everywhere. If everyone just hung up the phone and focused on the road, and practiced a bit of driver etiquette, things would be a lot less hairy out there.

Oh, and the turn signal lever is there for a reason...use it. And the horn? It IS okay to tap it gently to tell the snoozer in front of you that the light is green. Drive well folks.

Anonymous said...

It is a N vs. S situation. The planners do it right in the N. They screw it all up in the S.

Anonymous said...

Northerners or Southerners...It really doesn't matter. The lack of courtesy by the drivers in this city is shameful. Putting down the cell phone, using turn signals, stop tailgateing, would be a start to safer driving. And as mentioned many times before in this blog, if you insist on racing to the head of the line and then trying to wedge yourself in, the you deserve no courtesy. If we would only treat others like we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you shouldnt be one of those people that gets in the right lane on providence Rd just so you can drive up ahead of them and pass everyone and then you expect someone to let you in?

Anonymous said...

This is because New Englader's are migrating to Charlotte! Feel free to drive "politely" back north!

GEICO said...

It still amazes me that people merging onto 485 from Hwy 51 think the speed limit is 50mph. Hit the damn gas!

Anonymous said...

To the Boston Idiot...If the lane's open, go ahead and use it? What planet are you from? Ever hear of courtesy? Just turn in? Another unbelievable comment. It is this kind of drivig that leads to road rage...In your case, I have no sympathy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a native Charlottean and I agree, Charlotte's drivers are incredibly rude. After hearing about the crazy freeways in California, I finally wound up driving them on vacation a couple of years ago. It was a sheer pleasure compared to driving in this city. Southern hospitality is a myth.

Anonymous said...

Too many people drive who have no business in driving. Be it they don't understand the laws, don't care for the laws or are too old to think that the laws apply to them. There are so many old people in Charlotte who drive, that they are a terror on the road. Drivers are much worse in places like Columbia and Greenville for the same reasons, except in SC, whenever there is a hint of snow in the air, people automatically slow down to 8mph

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Charlotte, learned to drive there and moved to northern New Jersey last year for my job.

I just visited Charlotte for the first time since my move two weeks ago and realized just how much things have changed in the year I have been gone. Roads changing names in the middle of the road with little or no warning. Thank God I knew where I was going beforehand or else I would have been very lost.

I agree with the person that said they are more comfortable driving on the NJTP than on Charlotte roads. I found driving down there to be very stressful mostly because of roads that don't have enough lanes (77, 21 and most every other Charlotte highway), people not using turn signals and deciding at the last minute to turn. Turn signals are not on the steering wheel as decoration. They are meant to be used. Northerners are guilty of it too, but southern drivers seem to be a tad bit worse.

Charlotte should really consider putting in some jughandles. Too many times I have seen accidents down there from people sticking out in the road trying to make a left turn. Jersey got it right with jughandles....much less congestion up here not having people blocking entire lanes to make a left-hand turn.

Anonymous said...

You are a native "Charlottean" you think Southern Hospitality is a myth huh? Obviously not from the South!

Anonymous said...

Ok we get it, you dont like the traffic in Charlotte. So by all means go back north. Everyone would be happier.

Anonymous said...

I get so sick of this crap. Everyone thinks that the town they live in has the worst drivers. I travel frequently for business and I hear it in most cities I visit. I've also driven in many major cities in the US (NYC, Boston, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, LA) and while they have their differences, I'd say that Charlotte drivers aren't really better or worse than anyone else. It's perception anyway, there's no way to really measure something like this.

Brendan said...

I have to agree that it's not really a simple North/South issue. My parents live up North, and I get just as frustrated with northern dirvers as Charlotteans.

Highway drivers:
1)Just because your speedometer goes to 140 doesn't mean you have to see if it does.

2)HOWEVER, if you're in the left lane and not going THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC BEHIND YOU (not the posted speed limit) - get outta the way. This also goes for residential drivers (see Providence Road at rush hour)

While much of my frustration is with the drivers themselves, the Highway Dept. also needs to shape up - if you need to close a lane to fix something, put the lane closed sign more than 5 feet from the back of the truck blocking the lane.

PS - Nice to see so many people willing to put their names with their opinions ;-D

Anonymous said...

Old people in Charlotte? Hardly! I moved back here from Clearwater, FL. Plenty of retirees down there. And although they drove slow as snails, they were courteous and used their turn signals which is more than I can say for most drivers here.

Yes, these days, drivers suck in every town. It has nothing to do with where you are from. If we Americans are not good at anything else, we have perfected blaming everything on someone else!

crystalsbass said...

I remember fussing at my dad for not using his turn signal (he lives in a small town in Texas) and he said "I've been turning here for 40 years - everybody ought to know it by now."

NC native said...

Mrs. Newsom - I'm pretty sure you could be talking about me this morning depending on what type of car you drive. There were several cars trying to get over this morning, including me. Once I was able to get over in the left lane after a long wait, I noticed other cars in front of me trying to merge into the left lane as well. A couple of points here: first, just because you turn on your turn signal to get over doesn't mean that I should slam on the brakes to let you over; merging should be gradual and we all waited our turn this morning. Second, if I hang back to let you in and you don't make a move to get over because you don't know how much room I've given you and you don't know where your bumpers are doesn't mean that I'm obligated to continue to hang back until you get a clue.

Richard said...

I have to agree with anonymous 2:30 when it comes to merging and those people who refuse to merge until the very end of the lane just to get a few cars further ahead. I see it all the time on 485 particularly at the same places (getting on at Johnston Rd in the morning and at the South Blvd exit/end of right lane in the afternoon).

If we would all merge when there is an opening, instead of rushing to the end of the lane at a higher speed than that of the lane we have to get in, and then causing the lane to have to stop as we get in, traffic would flow so much smoother, and we'd all save a bit of gas too.

One thing I've focused on recently is to maximize my gas mileage by 'smoothing' my driving. That means that when in traffic, I'm not driving looking just at the car in front of me, I'm looking 10+ cars down the road when I can, slowing ahead of time so I can keep rolling when they start to move again, rather than having to keep stopping. It works very well too. As a side effect, it will also leave enough space frequently to let people merge, although its surprising again how often they won't, in favor of getting 3 cars further down the road when there isn't an open spot further ahead.

In any case, it's rudeness all around when it comes to the merging deal; the rude driver who has been having to sit watching cars go by on the right when they could have already moved over previously, and has gotten fed up with it and now won't let them in, and the rude drivers who had an oepning, but in their selfishness insisted on trying to get 2-4 cars further up before merging.

I definitely agree that a lot of it is along the same lines as posting on the internet; people feel anonymous so they feel free to let their inner jerk out...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it has something to do with the number of bankers in this town. There is a certain culture/mindset at these big banks (kinda like they can run all over anyone in their way), and you have to expect that behavior to spill out into the street (in this case literally).

I am not from here, but I am from the South, and I can't wait to move out of here (I'm working on it) after only being back here one year (I used to live here). Not sure what happened to Charlotte in the 7 years I was gone. It really is sad to see what I thought was a nice town go downhill. But that is just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I am a Charlotte native who lived in Boston for several years before returning to Charlotte a couple of months ago.

My opinion, you drive with a heightened sense of awareness and agressiveness in Boston. My wife commented that I drive much differently in Charlotte, much more leisurely.

I ordered pick-up for SoHo Bistro in Uptown a couple of weeks ago and spent a long time circling to find a legal spot to park, until my wife commented, why not just double park right in front like I would have in Boston....duh.

Today, I was trying to left turn onto South Blvd. and after sitting for several minutes, I went into Boston mode, and pulled my car across both inbound lanes of South backing up traffic there until I could squeeze into a southbound lane....problem solved, Boston style.

Lastly, traffic is much faster in Charlotte than in Boston due to the lack of traffic signals and other traffic calming devices here. The higher speed makes it less likely that someone is going to let you in. Slowing down from 15 mph to let someone cross, no problem, slowing down from 55mph...not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! "We in the South are more polite, so leave and don't come back!"

So many have basically said just that, and they don't even realize the ironic humor in their hypocracy.

Here's a clue to y'all: There are idiot drivers everywhere you go. Get out of your town every now and then and you'll see it.

Subjective arguments always bring out the worst in people. You are no different no matter where you say you're from.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the drivers who do not let you in automatically are at fault?
Did you ever think perhaps you should have been in the lane you want to get in before you get to where you need to turn.
So like most people on the road it is someone else's fault not yours after all the whole world should stop and let YOU in.
The same thing you are teaching your children likely everyone owes you and needs to give you the right of way.
Charlotte drivers are no better or worse than anyone else they are just reacting to the stress and aggravation that people who do not plan ahead cause.
You also slow traffic and cause the tie ups and then want to blame everyone else.
Learn to drive as well as you learn to whine and we would all get further faster.

Anonymous said...

If the northerners on this board dislike southern driving or southern people, I am sure there could be a collection taken to ship all ya'll north.

Anonymous said...

Yet another stellar example of a Charlotte Observer writer generating reader comments by inciting yet another North vs. South conflict. Next week's topic: Why Dunkin Donuts are better than Krispy Kremes.

Someone call the Pulitzer Committee and tell them we have a winner.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:02 is dead on. I just moved down from Boston.

1) People will let you in up there because they are not going anywhere due to the traffic. If you hope I'm going to slow down from 45... dream on. Same with merging. If theres room, gas it and move over. Southerners tend to be so la-dee-da about it and the gap is gone and you get PO'd that that they didn't let you in. Well you had the chance, take it.

2) In Boston everyones on the same page. You drive like you stole it when you can. You dodge potholes, pedestrians and make your way through streets that make no sense to anyone. Note: Boston streets were designed for horse and buggies not cars.

3) Down here people can't gas it to merge or go when the light turns green.

4) There are much more 45 MPH 2 and 4 lane roads with lights than Boston. Boston is either crowded 2 lane 30MPH streets or highways. Nothing like Independence or Harris exists up there.

5) If you haven't driven in the North End, around the Big Dig detours, Chinatown or Downtown Xing, you haven't really driven in Boston.

Anonymous said...

also as was mentioned before. Any planner who lets cars take lefts across 4 lanes of 45MPH traffic should be shot (ie Northcross Plaza onto Sam Furr going east)

I see people every day trying to make the "left turn of death" as we call it. And I bet there are plenty of other roads out there that allow these dangerous manuevers.

Anonymous said...

wow! so, EVERYONE ELSE is a jerk because they won't (or can't without causing a major pile-up) let YOU drive the way YOU want to drive?!? sweet.

Tell you what, next time you plan on being out and about, just put down your cell phone for a moment and let us know. We'll clear the streets just for you so you can drive just how you like to drive.

Deal?

Anonymous said...

I moved down here from Boston 6 years ago and in my opinion there are good and bad drivers in both places. The main difference is that up north, if you let someone in or show some type of driver courtesy, the other driver will give you a thank you wave...that doesn't happen too often here though. Not sure if that's the locals or transplants, but either way, it's rude. Drivers never stop for pedestrians at crosswalks down here either.

Anonymous said...

If Charlotte drivers are so mean and so bad...I have a suggestion. Pack your bags and take your "expert driving skills" to another city.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Where do you think all the Charlotte drivers are from?? The North!

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of bad Charlotte driving happens every day to me. People refusing to move over as I attempt to merge onto the highway. If you're approaching an on ramp...move over!
p.s. not all the drivers are from the North, only the good ones.

Wicked P*sser said...

^ Sometimes the left lane is clogged with d*bag on the cell phone so I can't move left to let you on. If you'd speed up (say over 45mph), I'd gladly let you over.

Anonymous said...

Agreed about merging. Since when has it been a rule that you have to move over into the left lane when approaching an on-ramp? That's the whole point of the RAMP, it gives you (entering the highway) a chance to accelerate to 65 and then merge into traffic. Don't expect everyone to slam on the brakes or move over when you are getting onto the interstate.

Anonymous said...

To everyone commenting about people hiding behind the 'anonymous' thing on here, I think it's more a matter of wanting to post a quick comment WITHOUT having to register for a Google blog account!

Anonymous said...

I agree with this. However, most people who live in Charlotte are not native Charlotteans. It would be interesting to know where the rude drivers are from. By the way, when turning use a turn signal.

Anonymous said...

This article couldn't have come at a better time. I had an argument with a total stranger on the road today who nearly took out my side fender. I was waiting to make a left from Harris Blvd. into JW Clay (shopping center. Was in a left lane, waiting for the arrow to turn green. I was in the right-most lane (there are two lanes to go left). A driver pulls up beside me in the lane to go STRAIGHT on Harris; and she sits there, while the light is green. No turn signal, nothing, so no one knew what in the world she was doing. A few drivers came up behind her and blew the horn, then went around her when she didnt budge. Our left turn arrow turned green and we proceeded to turn left, and what does she do? As im turning, she is turning, as if she's in her own little lane, then nearly runs into the side of my car. I blow the horn and swerve, she slams the brakes. Pulls up to me later, we both roll down the window, I ask her what in God's name is she doing back there, she accuses ME of being in the wrong lane (i wasnt), at which I try to explain to her she should have been going straight on Harris, the conversation ends with her telling me to f-off, before she comes over and slaps me. Oooookkkk. I wouldve let her in if I had known what her intentions were (this brings back the point of NO ONE USING THEIR TURN SIGNALS!). So I get cursed out, and SHE was in the wrong. Unreal. Serves me right for venturing into the ghetto hood for some shopping. Driving in this city makes my blood pressure rise like it's no one's business.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Mass, I'd take the drivers here any day. It's the New Yorkers you have to worry about...

Anonymous said...

That's so funny, because I lived in Boston (as well as numerous other cities thorughout the States and Europe) - and like you say, I'll take the way they drive in Boston over the way they drive in Charlotte any day. In fact, Charlotte does have the worst drivers I have ever encountered anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:42...

When I see your Citadel sticker I'll happily give you a honk and a one-fingered salute as well!

God Bless Our Team and VMI!

Anonymous said...

Totally subjective. People here are better at some things, and people "back home" are better at others. Drivers just need to be aware of their surroundings, and get off the cell phones.

Or follow a version of the golden rule- drive as you would like others to drive around you.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte drivers are the worst. they merge into the interstate at the end of the merge lane without even bothering to speed a little. they are a hazard. they brake hundreds of feet away and they create traffic whenthe roads are completly open. i can't wait till all the natives move out to the surrounding towns so tht people who can drive will actually enjoy driving. Remeber people, the road is not yours to take your sweet time.

Anonymous said...

Agree with everything that Charlotte native said...Quit moving here and complaining. And if you are not happy, please do us a favor and move back!
More jobs and space for us who were born here!

Cato said...

This topic is more than a bit tired. It's all a matter of what you're used to, and, a little bit of hometown pride. You practically never hear drivers praise the drivers in another city as being better than those in their own.

Of course, it's a relief to realize that, given the comments here, on the whole I'm a pretty courteous driver.

Anonymous said...

"Transplant to Charlotte from the South" such great points!

I'm originally from NC and relocated from the RDU area to CLT 3 years ago. What I see is that drivers lack a good ol' dose of common sense! Perhaps if you all put down the phones for a second or heck, even paid attention just a little while you were driving instead of trying to read, or take care of the kids, or gawk at traffic on the opposite side of the street things would be better. Another thing always anticipate and look ahead that way the need to make sudden lane changes while driving might not occur so often!

Anonymous said...

Yankees GO HOME!!! Please :)

Anonymous said...

It's hard to argue that the vast majority of these "Charlottean" drivers are, in fact, people relocated from Northern states. No one is saying that native North Carolinians are any more adept drivers than anyone else, but it sure seems like the transplants have brought along their atrocious driving habits. Indeed, half the cars I see on my way home everyday have NY, Ohio, or NJ tags, and its these same cars that sporadically change lanes and consistently fail to signal while they incessantly scream into their cell phones in that horrendous Yankee accent. Maybe it'll get so bad down here that all of 'em will move back...

Anonymous said...

Look, I'm not from anywhere. I grew up in a military family and lived all over the country while growing up. I learned how to drive and got my first drivers license in Europe. I continued moving around the country once I left home. As I stated earlier, I lived in Boston for awhile some I am familiar with the traffic in that area. I can say, with no regional bias, that drivers in Charlotte are the worst drivers in the country. They were when I first moved here in 91 - and they still were when I moved back here in 94 - and they still are.

Anonymous said...

This city is g/.oing down the drain

Anonymous said...

You can shut down Charlotte completely with a few well-placed cars on the interstates with their blinkers on and hood open...everyone will stop to gawk.

And one other thing, I've never seen such merging delays until I got to Charlotte...heck I'd never even heard of "merging delays"...because people elsewhere know how to merge

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of Southerner's mean spirited posts imploring us to go home. Why pick on ordinary people who came here because of a job and to better their life for themselves and their families. If you want to rant against anyone, do it against the banks and other companies doing the hiring.

Anonymous said...

My biggest problem driving in charlotte is girls texting on cell phones swerving down I-85 and old people driving slow like they have all the time in the world in passing left lanes. Then to make things worse, I be seeing state troopers zoom down I-85 going about 90mph for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's blaming you for coming down here in search of a better life, but know that the influx of transplants has made life tougher for Southerners. The population boom has overcrowded our schools and rendered our roadways obsolete, so please don't be surprised if some of us are inclined to complain a little. After all, wouldn't you do the same if hordes or Southerners were moving into your hometown?

Anonymous said...

My father grew up in Boston, and naturally learned to drive there. When he was teaching me how to drive, he gave me these two rules of thumb (in addition to all of the driver's-ed stuff...)

1. Make your own lane. That doesn't mean to cut someone off and drive like a knucklehead, but take what opportunities you're given.

2. When making a left turn on a green ball (no green arrow), pull up into the intersection. See Rule #1.

"Make your own lane" applies in traffic everywhere except from northbound Brookshire onto northbound I-77 where the right lane drops onto I-77. Don't be a moron and use the middle lane (that goes to Lincoln County) and then swerve in at the last second onto I-77, leaving half your car sticking out into the through lane. That doesn't just frustrate/annoy the future I-77 drivers, it also creates a very significant safety hazard to the person who wants to stay on Brookshire but needs to avoid slamming into your rear end at 65 MPH.

Brendan said...

anon @ 5:47

I think not! You can choose name/url and type in your name (just like I did here).

It's just easier for some people to hide their identities so no one will find out their true biases(sp?) - geographical, cultural, etc...

Anonymous said...

I don't see all these native Charlotteans and other Southerners complaining about their home values sky-rocketing over the last 10 years because of us "damn Yankees" moving here!!! Take us (and your appreciating home values) or leave us!

Anonymous said...

I don't see all these native Charlotteans and other Southerners complaining about their home values sky-rocketing over the last 10 years because of us "damn Yankees" moving here!!! Take us (and your appreciating home values) or leave us!

Anonymous said...

it is not the people from here that can not drive. it is everyone else that moved here.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am confused. Why is this a north south thing? Are the southerners saying there is no traffic problem here? Both north and south drivers (why you southerners have to classify it I have no idea) drive bad. There is too much traffic for the roads we currently have. Why do people have to blame certain people based on where they came from?

John said...

Maybe that's just because you are one of the very few in Charlotte who seem to know what a turn signal IS!

Between those who change lanes without the benefit of either turn signals or even a look in the mirror, to those who think turn signals automatically grant right of way (i.e. stay in the wrong lane until the very end and then two blinks and they start coming over... never mind that you were already there before they turned the signal on!

BTW... it's not the Charlotte drivers, it's the transplants. We moved here 14 years ago from Miami and marveled at how civil and predictable Charlotte drivers were... since then Charlotte has seen a huge influx of new people, many of them from other countries with different traffic laws and standards. It's not all of it, but it does contribute.

Anonymous said...

Most of the problems are caused by transplanted Yankees moving to Charlotte.

If someone tries to go down the empty lane and cut in front of everyone, they shouldn't be let in; go to the back of the line, just like everybody else.
If someone puts their signal light on and starts coming into my lane, they will hit me and the accident will be their fault. Putting your signal light on does not give you the right to start pushing your way into the other lane. A signal light indicates what you would like to do and the person already in that lane has the right not to let you in, unless you are merging to get on the highway.

Anonymous said...

In regards to "Most of the problems are caused by transplanted Yankees moving to Charlotte." Where did you get this data? Please provide the link, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would move, but no one will buy my house.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the idea Boston area drivers are nice?

I spent a day walking the Freedom Trail through downtown Boston last August and all I heard was horn after horn blaring.

I mentioned to some passersby boy these Boston drivers are impatient.

Well, a few weeks ago I was in Chicago and talk about aggressive driving.

My goodness, I had to compete with taxicabs for a spot on the road to get somewhere. Leave an inch of free space and next thing someone will butt right in.

Mean drivers, I think Boston (and Chicago) top Charlotte.

On BTW, after driving around Chicago for a week, with all the major highways in and out of the Windy City under repair I will NEVER again complain about traffic jams in a small city like Charlotte, not even on I-85 southbound from Concord/Kannapolis at exit 58.

Anonymous said...

Let me beg to differ on 'courtesy." First no driver is a traffic cop. Your job is to mind your own business and keep moving. To do anything else is impedeing the flow of traffic. Stop worrywarting over a driver not being to move on. Sooner or later, there will be clearence for the driver to move on.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like it, move back up north". "Move back to Boston". waaahhwahhhwahhh

No way, I'm staying right here. I suggest that YOU move, preferably somewhere further south. You'll be right at home in Texas with their nice wide and straight roads.

A few months ago, I remember exiting the new shopping center at the intersection of Margaret Wallace and Idlewild. I was getting onto Margaret Wallace and I pulled ahead of some woman in a small sedan, who was about 500 feet back. She blared her horn continuously like she was about to crash. She got into the turn lane and game me a crazy look. She definitely wasn't a Yankee.

Bottom line, if you want to live in the city, drive accordingly. Take advice from some of us that know a thing or two about city driving. We're not trying to insult you guys, we just want to get to work on time. Keep things moving.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... that's because they're all out-of -towners from the north!

David McKnight said...

Parking in Boston is a breeze: To "pahk the cahr in the Hahvard Yahd," just pull in past the space reserved for John Adams.

But try turning into the Park Road Shopping Center in Charlotte without getting "clearance" for the turn lane, and you just about have to ask Franklin Graham to pray for you to find a way in.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a stimulating blog. The 'never-been-covered' Bad Drivers and the ol' North/South debates. I hope the next issue will be a debate over sweet vs. unsweetened tea!

chris said...

I grew up in the south...yeah, swear to God...and I can say southern hospitality IS the single BIGGEST myth in the world. I have NEVER seen such a bunch of bull as I have from the mean spirited so called southerners. You people should be ashamed! Stupid, stupid, stupid people!!

Anonymous said...

I have met some really wonderful Southern people down here. Actually not some, but lots.

However, I do have to say that one difference between Southerners and Northeners is if a Northerner doesn't like you, you'll know it because there will be no hiding it. A Southerner, however, will "bless your heart" and pour that Southern charm on you but as soon as you turn your back..... the knives come out and you never know what got you!

Anonymous said...

Why not move back to Boston? I'm sure that would make everyone more happy.

johnson789 said...

Ok we get it, you dont like the traffic in Charlotte. So by all means go back north. Everyone would be happier.
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johnson789
Addiction Recovery Indiana

Addiction Recovery Indiana

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Charlotte most of my life and the driving here has become worse over time. My husband and I laugh every time we see a car or mini-van with a "91.9" tag on the front because we have seen some of the worst driving from these folks. The tag and the driving don't add up.

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