Three years ago last month, the bride and I PCS’d to the Washington D.C. area with her assignment to the Pentagon, from Charleston, AFB, SC. Mind you, between the both of us, we have been to over 30 countries and 42 states, so our view of the world is a bit different than most, in that we have driven in the smallest to the largest cities in the world. Yes, we have driven thorugh the D.C./Baltimore region on our way North or South and didn't really notice the peculiarities of D.C. and surrounding area drivers. Whoa! Were we in for quite a surpise!
We live about 22 miles South of the Pentagon along the I-95 corridor—funny how we learned to tell folks our geographic location based on the Pentagon. Also, we have learned to structure our lives based on the major/typical traffic patterns such as, scheduling appointments—can we take the HOV or do we have to pick up slugs on the return trip home? That’s another one, “slugs.” Four years ago, if you had asked us what a “slug” is, we would have given you the slimy worm looking thing answer and then told you to pour salt on them if you had too many in your lawn.
Let’s get into the meat of this blog… by far we believe, “it is what it is.”
I have compiled a list of driving habits/observations commented on by ourselves, our small circle of friends and associates that you may or may not find amusing, but then again, that’s what the comment section is for, right?
Top 20 D.C. Area Driving Habits and Observations
Not in any particular order, but those at the top of the list come right to mind:
1) The slow lane is the left lane (passing lane in other states).
2) The passing lane is the right one or two lanes.
3) A turn signal gives the other driver “right of way,” specifically large trucks, dump trucks, buses or those drivers merging onto the interstate from the on-ramps.
4) Four-way stop intersections are very confusing. Frustration makes it feel like minutes. No one seems to make a decision.
5) Most drivers use both feet. There’s no other way a driver can accelerate while pressing on the brake.
6) Drivers love the brake pedal—they will brake for a change in wind direction, going up hill (which really blows us away) etc.
7) Drivers love to stare at the pretty, colorful lights hanging from wires above the intersection. This is why drivers don’t move when it turns green.
8) The “you’re #1 hand gesture” is prevalently utilized, when you drive outside of their norms.
9) Everyone likes our vehicles so much, they want a piece of our paint on their vehicles—the vehicle that came with us on this PCS had ZERO door dings, and we bought a 2011 in October of last year. Between the both of them, we have 25 door dings. Folks have no respect for other’s property.
10) Traffic. There is no rhyme or reason for traffic at 1030 in the morning on any given Sunday, headed South Bound on I95. Forget about taking US 1, the other drivers have the same idea.
11) Traffic. There is no rhyme or reason why it slows down around the Mark Center, North Bound. We’ve looked, there just isn’t a reason.
12) Traffic. If you’ve PCS’d here, just get used to it.
13) Unless you live up that way, there is no shortcut to Walter Reed/Bethesda Medical Center. Just plug the address into your GPS/Navigation system and follow it.
14) The reason we drive instead of taking the Metro/VRE, is that my vehicles are more reliable.
15) Slugging isn’t that bad, until you get the chain smoker in your car, it’s 99 degrees outside, with 100% humidity, and opening the windows just isn’t an option.
16) You’ve picked up slugs at the Horner lot headed to the Pentagon, and you accidentally head to L’Enfant. That’s the beginning of a bad day.
17) Why do the VA State Troopers park on the blind side of the ramp? Don’t they know they can get hurt? "If you must pull over, pull over in a safe, well lit area, that can be seen by all drivers, and off the shoulder." Just saying.
18) Never answer your mobile phone while slugs are in the car. Supposedly that’s a bad thing and they’ll let you know.
19) Don’t forget to validate your ticket on the VRE. Paying the fine is a pain in the rear, it’s like getting Congress to pass legislation.
20) Getting a ticket twice by the same speed camera is the same fine each time.
I know there are more observations and the list can go on. Please, add your own below.
Until next time, Salute!