4 Driving Tips For Surviving Dallas
A typical day in downtown Dallas.
Ever tried driving around Dallas? We assume you have, as otherwise you'd have been stuck in the same quarter-mile or so for your whole life. We're not a city that likes to build anything that would be easily accessible by non-cars. Sidewalks are an afterthought. Pedestrians are treated with suspicion. Cyclists are reviled by both drivers and pedestrians. Also, it's balls hot.
You will, however, need to survive somehow. The daily commute in Dallas is less a drive and more a fun-filled obstacle course of terror, as every pickup truck in the known universe conspires to cut you up while you're trying to avoid the pothole cunningly disguised as a road. And unless your job offers you the hours of 11 a.m.-2 p.m., forget about actually using the freeways, because everyone else got there first, and none of them can drive.
Here then, are your best hopes for surviving the traffic-choked concrete bowl that we call home. Tape them to your windscreen, and consult them as often as you consult your phone while driving, which anecdotal evidence suggests is all of the available times.
The fixed version. THE FIXED VERSION.
1. Surviving the Mixmaster
Negotiating a path through the Mixmaster can be tricky, particularly during periods of heavy congestion, typically found during hours between 5 a.m. and 4:59 a.m. the following day.
Let's let the folks behind Project Pegasus, the longstanding plan to improve the Stemmons Corridor, explain:
"The traffic problems in the Canyon/Mixmaster are worsened by the outdated, geometric layout of the main travel lanes, service roads, ramps, and surface streets in the area, all of which fail to properly provide for the routes and destinations of current-day travelers. Secondary problems include forced lane changes, abrupt and unexpected merges, weaves and exits, and poor access for emergency vehicle response. Additionally, the Mixmaster is missing direct connections from eastbound IH30 to southbound IH35E and from northbound IH 35E to westbound IH30."
So complex is the geometry of off-ramps, on-ramps, between-ramps, etc., that the Mixmaster distorts time and space, opening up a portal to a hellish dimension where demons dwell, which we suspect is in Waco.
And they all drive BMWs.
What this means practically for the traveler is that no matter which direction you're traveling in the Mixmaster, only one lane will get you to your desired destination, and that lane will be two lanes to your right or left and moving in the opposite direction. Also, traffic in the lanes you'll need to cross to get to the ramp to your desired path will be moving at least 60 mph faster than lane you're currently in until you enter it, when it will slow by 45 mph for no apparent reason.
It sounds awful, but following some simple rules you can survive the Mixmaster.
-- Always maintain proper following distance to the vehicle ahead of you, which in the Mixmaster is 9.25 inches, no matter how fast you're moving. This makes the fullest use of available pavement and weeds out the weak, indecisive and sane, who have no business driving on Dallas freeways.
-- Never use turn signals before attempting a lane change, as this indicates weakness and will cause alpha drivers to close ranks and force you to drive all the way to Waco as punishment.
-- Thanks to the Mixmaster's unique design, it's virtually impossible for any traffic cop who wishes to collect a pension to pull you over. Feel free to ignore any traffic laws and drive as fast as you can, which in most cases will be about 7 mph in the lane you're in, or 85 mph in the lanes to your right or left.
-- Remember that aggression, fearlessness, quick reflexes and a total disregard for common decency are the hallmarks of successful motoring in Dallas, and if you survive your trip through the Mixmaster you'll have much to brag about. Via Twitter, say. While driving. It's the Dallas way.