In the Sunshine State

by Richard on July 31, 2004

So we’ve made it. We arrived, rather later than planned, at our friends house in Florida last night. It marks the end of the extended driving we’ve been doing, and in a strange way I think I’m going to miss it. Although getting used to some of the differences took some doing, I’ve really quite enjoyed the driving. Some things, though, still bug me about the roads here.

It isn’t 4-way stops. I don’t see the point of them, and certainly don’t see how they’re an improvement on a through road with 2 stop signs, but I could live with them if I had to. It isn’t the “turn right on red” rule, which I think is rather a good idea, if only I could get over my fear of driving through a red light. It isn’t the surfacing on some of the interstate roads, even though some of them are very (very) dodgy. After all, it must be hard to keep such a large network in good order. Especially when it is used by trucks weighing in at 500 million tons doing 0.8 lightspeed.

No, what I really struggle to get used to is the fact that the exits on the Interstates are frequently marked by signs written in letters you need an electron microscope to read actually on the turning rather than just before it. If you manage not to miss your turn you find yourself expected to turn into a hairpin bend, sometimes with a speed limit of 25 or 30 miles an hour. I’d be tempted to think that I struggle because I’m a visitor — but I’ve seen no end of other drivers having to make sudden turns to avoid missing their exit. Given that space does not exactly seem to be at a premium, I really don’t understand why Interstate exits couldn’t be allowed just a little more of it.

Compared to the inconveniences that Mike is living with, it is a small thing indeed. But it still leaves me asking… Why?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Mike 08.02.04 at 7:49 am

Why is it that the only thing in American that doesn’t come bigger than it has to be is the thing that’s most likely to cause an accident?!

2

Jonathan 08.02.04 at 5:05 pm

Ok, Richard. Here’s your chance to enlighten me. See, I’ve grown up in America, so I’m used to this stuff. Sure it’s a pain, but it’s “just the way we do it.” So…what is it like in England and Europe? Obviously you guys have a better method. What’s it like there?

3

Swan 08.03.04 at 4:29 am

What bugs me just as much are the on-ramps with stop signs at the end.

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