There is a news item today from Allstate Insurance
that ranks Boston's drivers as the worst among those of all large American cities. When I saw the title of the article, I predicted that outcome.
My standing joke, coined at least 30 years ago, when I lived in Westborough, Massachusetts and commuted to Boston University daily, was that in Boston the right-of-way belonged to the car with the highest weight-to-worth ratio. The guiding principles of safely driving in Boston were:
- Never make eye contact with the other driver (because if he knows you've seen him he'll hit the gas and go in front of you), and
- When a red light changes to green, count to three before proceeding (because three Boston drivers will run the red light before the first guy stops). (This rule is especially important for us native Chicagoans, for there a green light invariably triggers a drag race to the next red one. In Boston, that would get you center-punched.)
When I went with a car to live in Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 2008, I was told that I had made a mistake. "The drivers here are crazy!" people said. "And the traffic has become impossible!" Having learned to drive in Chicago, and as a veteran of the Boston streets, I found the drivers in Cluj fairly docile and considerate. Driving there was a piece of cake compared to rush hours in either of those American cities.
The one city where I found driving the most frightening was San Juan, Puerto Rico. My brother George lives down there, and takes offense whenever the Stateside press fails to recognize it as an American city. I am sure that he will be upset by its exclusion from this article.