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A Dallas/Fort Worth Commuter's Primer

When I moved from my Dallas apartment to a house in the 'burbs', I knew that part of the price I'd pay for having my own space and not having to dodge bullets would be the daily commute to and from work. "I can do this," I thought to myself. "Lots of people do it every day."

The thing I didn't realize at the time is that there are lots more people doing it every day than I had imagined. Half of them think they're the only ones with some place to be, and the rest either don't know where they're going or don't care when they get there. The resulting atmosphere of urgency, selfishness, frustration, and downright mean-spiritedness provides a fertile breeding ground for an array of cunning stunts, the likes of which would strike fear into the heart of many a professional daredevil.

Following are just a few of the unwritten rules of the road:

  1. The use of directional indicators is not only outmoded behavior--along with once-common courtesies such as saying "please" or "pardon me"--but is considered a sign of weakness. This goes double for drivers of large, macho pickup trucks.
  2. If there's daylight showing between two vehicles, there's room for yours between them (despite the seeming contradiction posed by numerous crushed fenders and quarter panels).
  3. Allow no daylight to show between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. This is especially true when approaching entrance ramps, where other drivers should be discouraged from merging on to the freeway and contributing to traffic congestion.
  4. When merging on to the expressway, come to a full stop at the end of the ramp and wait until the rightmost lane is clear for a distance of at least half a mile (roughly .8 kilometer, for the benefit of taxi drivers).
  5. When exiting the expressway, help keep your fellow commuters alert and entertained by waiting until the last possible moment and then veering across multiple lanes of traffic.
  6. Drivers of Volvo station wagons and minivans are encouraged to get the most for their tax dollars by occupying multiple lanes.
  7. Drivers of BMW's and Mercedeses, and other VIP's such as those negotiating world peace on their cellular telephones, should feel free to expedite their progress by exercising their God-given right to drive on the shoulder.
  8. Enforce The Law by occupying the leftmost lane of traffic while driving at or below the posted speed limit. Do not be discouraged by those who angrily "flip you off" and speed by at the first opportunity. They are criminals and unworthy of your notice.
  9. In the unlikely event that the lane you're in becomes blocked by a collision, do not merge to another lane until you have reached the obstruction. Then, proceed according to rule #2.