Thursday, June 01, 2006

Excuse me, but you seem to have dropped YOUR WASHING MACHINE in the MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY!!!

Driving on the Texas interstates takes some getting used to. When we were Finland, I didn't drive for four years, but was passenger enough to know we never had to dodge washing machines, trash bags, wood blocks or stalled cars left in the middle of the road on a weekly basis. (Yes, an occassional wild animal, ice patch or car buried in snow, but they were usually thoughtfully abandoned on the shoulder so if the roads were plowed you were OK).

Seriously, a washing machine. In the middle of highway 121. I was just cruising along and suddenly thought that's odd, there seems to be a big box or something up ahead. Driving past it, I saw that someone was not going to get their Kenmore delivered today.

But, only once have we had to swerve out of our lane to avoid a broken down car. This time on I-65 in the HOV lane. Driving, driving, driving...oh! car! in our lane!! not moving!!! No warning lights, no flags - just saved by fast reflexes and lack of cars in the lane next to us.

Its easy to see where all the trash bags and other rubbish come from - pick up trucks carrying too much cargo that's not tied down going too fast. We've now learned to always move to a different lane when we see such a car ahead.

One of my favorite moves is apparently called a 'Texas Exit'. You drive all the way in the left-hand lane and then seconds before your exit on the right, you just start floating across the lanes you need to cross. No need for a signal - just go! Though this one I can sometimes understand as signage here is usually located immediately before the exit so if you don't know where you're going, its just a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the sign. (Does it sound like I've done this before? Maybe I have, maybe I have.....)

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