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Rick Deines, a conversation facilitator with the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, offers a tongue in cheek set of “new rules” for the roads in Milwaukee, reflecting some of the new norms for driving that have developed in recent years.
Local residents and city leadership are turning their attention to what they call “reckless and insane driving.” That is a commendable effort and one that should draw a wide range of citizen support.
If you drive regularly in Milwaukee, as I do, it seems like a “new set” of driving rules is becoming the norm. “If you can’t beat them, join them” seems to be catching on. What would an actual description of our driving habits look like?
A gift to you for the holidays — new rules for driving in Milwaukee:
This is the season to wish everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year. What better way to fulfill those wishes than by taking inventory of your driving habits?
Instead of playing by the rules (the actual legal ones), it’s time to change the rules to fit how we actually drive. If you’re late to the party, here’s a realistic description of driver’s etiquette in our city.
Admittedly, I’ve violated a bunch of these myself. But toward the goal of being on the same page with our driving, I offer these “rules”:
1. *New Rule: Stop signs don’t mean STOP, so just roll through or ignore them. And “red lights?” Who are you kidding? See one and as long as you can count to five, everyone else will stop.
2. New Rule: Posted speed limits mean you can drive faster if you want— 45-50 miles an hour on Lincoln Memorial Drive and Lake Drive or 10-20 miles faster than listed on any street within the state.
3. New Rule: Pass on the right whenever you can. Bike lanes are sparsely populated and anyone with a clue can use those half-wide lanes that are open. Go around any time you can, cut back in if necessary and swerve from lane to lane as long as you can. The best streets to travel this way are Oakland Avenue, North Avenue, Fond du Lac Avenue, South 27th Street, National Avenue, Capitol Drive and Silver Spring Drive.
4. New Rule: If a silly sign says “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians at Crosswalk” look straight ahead, speed up and most times, kids, dogs and bicyclists will shrink with fear. Fun, huh!
5. New Rule: Leave no more than 5 feet of distance between your car and the one ahead of you. Going 20 mph, it only takes 4.5 seconds or 144 feet to stop if you’re alert. Slamming on your brakes only means the guy in front of you messed up.
6. New Rule: Honk as many times as necessary in a stopped line of traffic with at least five cars ahead of you, and keep the honk long and loud as you pass them later. They will thank you with a smile or perhaps not (see the “finger” reference in #10).
7. New Rule: Keep your headlights off, especially after dark. If others flash you, it means they must be practicing Morse code. Who decides if it’s dark or not anyway?
8. New Rule: U turns (“u” know what those are) are permitted mid-block if you judge you can squeeze in ahead of on-coming traffic. Others should know when to slow down and give you permission. If it doesn’t say you “can’t,” then I guess you can.
9. New Rule: Four-way stops don’t mean “take turns,” but fight for position. Others just never learn, do they?
10. New Rule: The “middle finger” is perfect etiquette. It may even be biblical, used often by chariot and camel drivers.
**Bonus: You can really confuse emergency vehicles by refusing to get to the right.
And finally, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
-Vince Lombardi quoting Red Sanders.
*”Real Time with Bill Maher” has a “New Rule” segment