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That driver's an idiot
June 23, 2014 1:57 PM   Subscribe

After a successful campaign to remind Boston drivers to use yah blinkah, the state of Massachusetts is now holding a contest to come up with additional messages to show to the drivers of the state.

According to the rules, each message must be up to three lines, with up to eight characters for each line.

I remember one sign that said "Practice Traffic Calming," which always seemed weird to me, since one can calm oneself, but not other people.
posted by Melismata (82 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
unsure how it's done in MA, but the "use all lanes, zipper merge at end" needs to be taught and re-taught and taught some more.
posted by k5.user at 2:01 PM on June 23 [16 favorites]


I suppose "Yield, asshole!" is out of the question?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:02 PM on June 23 [16 favorites]


Take out the ! and you're good, DiscourseMarker. :)
posted by Melismata at 2:03 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


go go go
posted by michaelh at 2:11 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


They can post all the messages they want, but until they start writing tickets for not signaling, it will have zero effect. Also ticket trucks and trailers driving in prohibited lanes, please.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:12 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


Reminds me of Wicked Stawm Comin'
posted by exogenous at 2:12 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


EASY
THERE
CHIEF
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:16 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


COOL
YAH
JETS
posted by Spatch at 2:18 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


STAY IN
THE RIGHT
LANE

were your parents siblings and cousins ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:18 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Hate cyclist chowder? Use ur damn eyes on right turns!
posted by Namlit at 2:20 PM on June 23


I always like Bill Murray's driving advice:

Don't drive angry.

(Best said with a groundhog in one's lap.)
posted by blurker at 2:21 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Might be a silly question, but are they defining "successful" here as "the internet laughed about it?" Or is there actually some sort of proof that Massachusetts drivers were using their blinkahs?
posted by knownassociate at 2:21 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


My favorite Boston-area traffic sign:

BRIDGE
CLOSED

Seek Alternate Route


which means "We have no idea how you're going to get around this."

I wish there had been another line "Found a good alternative? Let us know and we'll post it here." Who knows, maybe these days they'd put up a sign saying "Tweet your alternate route to #CantGetThereFromHere".
posted by benito.strauss at 2:22 PM on June 23 [10 favorites]


Also, as my SO, who is from Va., likes to point out, it ain't the blinker that turns the car.
posted by Namlit at 2:23 PM on June 23


No, I think the ! in "Yield, asshole!" would be fine. Possibly not the asshole part. Assholes.

#DOTSPEAK entries may use local vernacular or contain common texting abbreviations, no profanity please. The messages must adhere to the highway sign character limitations.

The challenge is to create a two panel message, 3 lines per panel, and 8 characters per line.
PANEL 1                                PANEL 2    

Line 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _             Line 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  
Line 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _             Line 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   
Line 3 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _             Line 3 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   
In addition to letters A to Z, the following characters may also be used:

. , ? ! & # -

posted by asperity at 2:25 PM on June 23


Don't drive like my brother.
posted by bukvich at 2:29 PM on June 23 [45 favorites]


As a daily motorcycle rider, people not using their turn indicators is one of the scariest things in my commute. I realize most people think it's not a big deal, but to me, it feels like attempted manslaughter. I'd like to see it aggressively enforced as such. Not just a fine, but possible prison time.

I follow the conventional wisdom to ride like I'm invisible: if I assume no one can see me, then I don't get into an accident because the other driver didn't see me.

However, that means I need to know what you are doing. Are you about to swerve into me? Your turn signal is not on. I can't make the defensive assumption that every person who doesn't have their turn signal on is going to suddenly merge into me--it would be impossible to be on the road. So I depend on those signals, and I try to anticipate.

That is a red sports car. They're more likely to do something crazy. That lane is going slower than this lane--everyone in that lane is likely to suddenly change lanes without warning. That person has a Harley Davidson bumper sticker. I can safely assume they will indicate before turning.

I don't like depending on these tenuous assumptions.
posted by brenton at 2:31 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


HONK ONCE
IF BY LAND

TWICE
IF BY SEA
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:32 PM on June 23 [20 favorites]


brenton, I have the same problem on my bicycle. I can only imagine how much worse it is at highway speeds. Yikes!
posted by Hutch at 2:40 PM on June 23


I still think the best way to convince people to use blinkers is to watch someone signal while deftly preventing someone who doesn't signal from passing.
posted by michaelh at 2:43 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


THERE
ONCE
WAS A

MAN FROM
NAN-
TUCKET
posted by mondo dentro at 2:44 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Don't Drive Like An Asshole

Just To Save

Five Minutes of Commuting

Burma Shave
posted by mstokes650 at 2:45 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


My submission:

YOU ARE NOT A GENIUS FOR USING THE MERGE LANE/SHOULDER TO BYPASS THE ENTIRE QUEUE. YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:47 PM on June 23 [8 favorites]


YANKEE
FANS
DON'T
SIGNAL
posted by benito.strauss at 2:49 PM on June 23 [36 favorites]


BE A WICKED BAD DRIVER NOT A WICKED, BAD DRIVER.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:49 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


SLOW DOWN
FOR THE CLAMS
THEY'RE REALLY GOOD
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:59 PM on June 23


Quit shaving, texting and eating that burger. Grab the wheel.
posted by Namlit at 3:08 PM on June 23


My pet theory is that jerky driving is a function of anonymity and lax enforcement. Boston is big enough that the person you cut off won't know you, and last time I drove there it was clear that the police lack either the staffing or the motivation to enforce basic moving violations.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:10 PM on June 23


Weird, in my experience Mass drivers are actually pretty fine about blinker use (then again, I don't usually drive). Atlanta drivers, on the other hand, are the WORST about this, because they only signal for other cars, not for pedestrians or bikers.
posted by threeants at 3:13 PM on June 23


I heard somewhere that in the 70s or 80s the Boston police, as a cost saving move, decided to not send staff out to enforce traffic laws. I haven't tried to substantiate this, but if it's true it would explain a lot.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:16 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I just can't even when it comes to Southern drivers. Sure, up here people tend to be a little cranky, but I've never had someone in New England honk and yell at me while plowing through a live, signaled walk light.
posted by threeants at 3:16 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


MAINTAIN
PROPAH
TIYA PRESHA
posted by Flashman at 3:17 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


It's not so much of a problem in Boston due to lack of opportunity, but I surely would appreciate signs on the Mass Pike reminding drivers not to pass on the right when there's a completely open left (aka passing) lane available. It doesn't make your speeding and weaving magically invisible to the state patrol cars parked in the speed traps. It does make you less visible to the cars you are passing.
posted by eviemath at 3:19 PM on June 23


up to three lines, with up to eight characters for each line

Man, it's really hard to fit an ASCII Mooninite in that small a space.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:19 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


YOU ARE NOT A GENIUS FOR USING THE MERGE LANE/SHOULDER TO BYPASS THE ENTIRE QUEUE. YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.

Actually, on I-93, that's completely legal during rush hour. There are signs and everything.
posted by maryr at 3:24 PM on June 23


YOU ARE
NOT DOUG
MIRABELI


(Yes, I know it's misspelled, but I only have 8 char to work with)
posted by maryr at 3:26 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I've spent most of my life in either Massachusetts or the South, and every time I go back to one or the other it's always an adjustment period switching between "ok maybe if I run out real fast during the walk signal I won't die" and "I just made a vague eyeflick towards the crosswalk, is this person seriously stopping for me with an endless line of cars behind her? rock on".
posted by threeants at 3:27 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Where do they try to kill you? As a pedestrian, I pretty much beg to be run down and the Masshole drivers haven't killed me yet.

YIELD TO
PEDS

JUST
LIKE
ARCHDIOC


Too much?
posted by maryr at 3:31 PM on June 23 [42 favorites]


<blink>
KEEP YR
EYES ON
THE ROAD
</blink>
posted by Sys Rq at 3:32 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


YOU ARE NOT A GENIUS FOR USING THE MERGE LANE...

You are also not a genius for failing to understand the purpose and proper use of merge lanes. They make them long like that for a reason.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:32 PM on June 23


Aha. Result: a pileup of non-geniuses. Nothing new.
posted by Namlit at 3:50 PM on June 23




IF YOU R
-- THIS --
TALL

DONT.
TAKE.
STORROW.

posted by maryr at 3:51 PM on June 23 [22 favorites]


OMG I remember the first time I was accelerating onto a freeway and the person in front of me came. to. a. complete. stop. on the on-ramp. It's like they could only understand it as some sort of exotic right-hand turn. That's when I started my campaign for the billboards on 93 to say "Welcome to Massachusetts. Can't Merge For Shit."
posted by benito.strauss at 3:52 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


You are also not a genius for failing to understand the purpose and proper use of merge lanes. They make them long like that for a reason.

I'm not talking about actually using the merge lane to merge from like an on-ramp to the highway type situation. It's the people that, when traffic is backed-up, pull out from the back, drive up the merge lane, and then try to merge back in, or the people who pull into a left lane when there's a back-up of people trying to turn right, drive past everyone on the left, and then try to merge back in at the front and turn. No, I cannot abide that. You are a bad person and you should feel bad.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:55 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


Here in Texas we would need remedial education to inform the driving public there is such a thing as a turn signal and what its purpose might be. Only then could we suggest they might actually use the damn thing...
posted by jim in austin at 4:03 PM on June 23


ESCHEW
OBFUS-
CATION
posted by gurple at 4:04 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


BE
SURE
TO

DRINK
YOUR
OVALTINE
posted by gurple at 4:04 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


HANGUP
YAWICKED
MORON
posted by kinetic at 4:25 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


The first time I drove toward Boston, a toll booth guy said, "In Boston, you drive as big as you feel." Which are among the truest words ever spoken.
posted by etaoin at 4:41 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I'm much better at meeting since becoming a Masshole driver. Merging often requires a certain degree of aggressiveness that I was not taught in driver's ed.

I find what Massholes really fail at is allowing others to merge in. I'm not sure where that right lane thinks the folks joining us are supposed to go. That's why I try to stay in the leftmost lane whenever possible. Courtesy.
posted by maryr at 5:03 PM on June 23


I find what Massholes really fail at is allowing others to merge in.

Not just Mass, sadly. "No! You can't merge here, this is my lane!" Is universal asshoe driving language.
posted by ovvl at 5:15 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


I'm perfectly happy to allow a car or two to merge in, unless they have jumped out of one line, raced up and tried to force their way in front of me. Screw them then.
posted by etaoin at 5:18 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


WHEN
GOOGLE
DRIVES

WE
CAN
RETIRE
posted by Freon at 5:27 PM on June 23


HEY MARIO
ANDRETTI
IT'S CALLED
THE BRAKES
posted by briank at 5:50 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


You are also not a genius for failing to understand the purpose and proper use of merge lanes. They make them long like that for a reason.

If you're too lazy to notice the "Construction Ahead--Left Lane Closed" signs three miles out and proactively merge when traffic is still light enough to make it easy to do so, you don't deserve to enter into my lane.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:04 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I moved to rhode island from indiana three years ago. I often bemoan the disaster that is driving here, but I´ve decided that the people are victims of terrible traffic engineering. Like the 'slowing to a complete stop while merging' thing. Ridiculous? Yes. But people do it because a ton of entrance ramps here are about ten feet long. And lanes disappear with no warning, and sometimes when turning left oncoming traffic yields to you and sometimes not but theres no actual communication from the lights themselves, and left hand only lanes appear out of thin air and are mostly ignored.

I picture driving in new england as being in a room full of marbles careening in all different directions mostly avoiding each other.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:08 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


> ... I´ve decided that the people are victims of terrible traffic engineering. ... And lanes disappear with no warning, and sometimes when turning left oncoming traffic yields to you and sometimes not but theres no actual communication from the lights themselves,

I describe it as "re-negotiating the Social Contract at every intersection".
posted by benito.strauss at 6:17 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


geegollygosh, I think you're right. I get the sense that the roadways in urban New England are a palimpsest of every land use struggle over the last 250 years....defined at every turn by whoever lost.
posted by Sublimity at 6:43 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


BE KIND-
REVERSE
A CURSE
posted by Dashy at 6:58 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


YANKEE
FANS
DON'T
SIGNAL


this would be so effective
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:07 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


geegollygosh, addressing you by username makes me feel like I'm being super sarcastic.

But yes, many of the roads around Boston were either designed for another era (sometimes by livestock) or are actually the result of a legal fight. That's why I-95 is 128.
posted by maryr at 7:33 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


many of the roads around Boston were either designed for another era (sometimes by livestock)

this explains SO MUCH
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:35 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


SUDDENLY
BURMA
SHAVE
posted by blue_beetle at 7:51 PM on June 23


CALM
YO
TITS

has my vote but I am biased because I occasionally flash that at people who tailgate me and it gives me tremendous satisfaction to see how astonished folks get when they see the word "TITS"
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:24 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I was in Florida a few weeks ago, and was advised to "not bother with the turn signals."

I ignored the advice, but holy crap, they were right. Damn near nobody signals down there. Makes the Maryland drivers look good by comparison...
posted by schmod at 8:37 PM on June 23


DRIVENOW
TXT L8ER
MASSHOLE
posted by TwoStride at 9:18 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


DON'T BLOCK
THE BOX
MASSHOLE

Ah, memories.....
posted by triage_lazarus at 9:23 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


So you have to be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and tag your post with #DOTSPEAK to create entries. I'm not on any of those. (Yeah, I know.) But I've got one that I think is pretty good. If any Bostonian here would like to post it, I'll split the Dunkies gift card with you 50/50 if it wins.

YANKEES | TAILGATE // HOW | 'BOUT | YOU? #DOTSPEAK
posted by benito.strauss at 9:25 PM on June 23


triage_lazarus: "DON'T BLOCK
THE BOX
MASSHOLE
"

I just moved to the Bay Area from St. Louis and I was certain that, this being a uniformly denser metropolitan area, the general populace's grip on this prescription would be much stronger here.

...I'll grant that people here don't fuck it up as much (usually it's just one or two cars that end up sticking out into the intersection rather than the four- or five-long shit-brain trains you see in busy intersections in St. Louis), but, on the other hand, they still do it.
posted by invitapriore at 9:31 PM on June 23


Just saw the best idea yet on Twitter...
posted by maryr at 9:38 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


This whole thing is a bad idea. When they had up the Use Ya Blinkah signs, I saw no increase in directionals but a huge prevalence of people slowing down to read and/or PHOTOGRAPH these signs. Signs should be posted when necessary and not purposely try to distract people.

Sorry if that makes me a curmudgeon; I just want to get to work/home/my destination swiftly and safely.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 10:08 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


The comments here are making me feel less insane about driving in the South because oh thank god, other people have noticed that turn signals are a foreign concept below the Mason-Dixon.

I got chastised BY A COP for signaling that I was switching lanes on the Interstate in Kentucky. He said it distracted the drivers behind me. Wha-?

The signs in Massachusetts should use that depressing poem that's on the ceiling in the transfer tunnel from the NQR to the ACE trains at 42nd Street in NYC. Spread the commuting misery. WHY BOTHER? JUST GO HOME.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 12:44 AM on June 24 [5 favorites]


As a Massachusetts driver my pet peeve is the prevalence of passing on the right. I have tested this by driving 65 mph in the middle lane. And even in very light traffic, I would say 8x out of 10 a fast moving car coming up the middle lane from behind will choose to pass right even though the left lane is completely clear. I wonder if it is driven by the idea that speeding in the right "slow" lane is some how less noticeable to police? And there is just too much lane changing in general, imo.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 2:42 AM on June 24


I wonder if it is driven by the idea that speeding in the right "slow" lane is some how less noticeable to police?

Yes, and driven by the idea that because cops hide out in the median behind bushes and overpasses, you have a better chance of spotting the cop if you have an angled perspective instead of baring down on them. I thought it was genius as a young driver, infuriating as an adult.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:05 AM on June 24


A dozen or so years ago I went to a friend's wedding in the lovely, yet depressing town of Providence, Rhode Island.

I rented a car and we did the usual wedding stuff, driving around a smallish city fulfilling wedding-ish needs. And holy shit I didn't see a single turn signal in the four or so days we were in town. People just slowed down in the middle of the road and took some wayward turn out of nowhere.

I've heard after the fact that RI'ers are notoriously bad about signaling their turns. Since then, whenever I encounter a car that doesn't signal up to my standards, I shout "What? Are we in Rhode Island?"
posted by Sphinx at 6:20 AM on June 24


Damn near nobody signals down there

They probably had too many experiences where they forgot to turn the signal off. Drive for a few days with your blinker constantly on, and you're bound to have some interesting encounters.

Also - yes, 65 is the new 55 on MA highways, but why are you in the middle lane if the right lane is empty?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:51 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Also - yes, 65 is the new 55 on MA highways, but why are you in the middle lane if the right lane is empty?

Why are you in the right lane if you're not entering or exiting? No wonder people have trouble merging.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


If it's not congested, there's no reason for people to have trouble merging. Of course, if the middle lane is full of slow traffic, it's more likely to be congested.

Are driver's ed teachers teaching this idea that the right lane is only for entering and exiting traffic, or where did it come from?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:42 AM on June 24


All the constructive things they could remind us about, and yet the highway signs right now are all like FIREWORKS ILLEGAL DO NOT LIGHT FIREWORKS YOU WILL BE ARREST
posted by Camofrog at 11:18 AM on June 24


Signal BEFORE you turn not when you turn!.
I swear people just drag their fingers across the turn signal AS they turn the wheel to make the turn. This of course gives me about 1/16th of a second notice that they are about to run me over since they never bothered to check their side view mirrors and did not notice the bike riding next to them.
posted by Gungho at 11:39 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


DO NOT LIGHT FIREWORKS YOU WILL BE ARRESTed

Right, like that's gonna happen.
posted by Gungho at 11:40 AM on June 24


Right, like that's gonna happen.

They only have those signs to sweat kids who are coming back from New Hampshire with firecrackers hidden in their folks' car. Or so I assume, because anyone over 14 is obviously unmoved by the threat.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:25 PM on June 24


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