Posted by: Clare | March 3, 2010

Drive friendly, y’all

Want to know something I love about Texas? Of course you do, because you are either from Texas and love hearing confirmations of how awesome it is, or you are not from Texas and would really like to know what the big deal is, please?

Friendly drivers.

Let that sink in for a moment, because I’m pretty sure that nobody ever mentions friendly drivers as something they love about Texas (or anywhere else, probably – people get crazy when they get into cars). Particularly if they have ever driven in downtown Dallas.

Which, side note here, but Dallas is probably one of the scarier places I’ve ever driven. Not so much because of the drivers, because really they weren’t doing anything all that bad…just driving with purpose, which is actually a lot less dangerous than driving without a freaking clue where you are going (which has been my case every time I have had the misfortune to have to drive in downtown Dallas). But Dallas has these weird roads that sort of fork off at random places, with little to no warning, and the forks have either lights or stop signs at the point where they merge with other roads that are also doing weird things. These lights or stop signs are placed so that you don’t know which light or stop sign is yours, and inevitably you guess wrong and it results in a lot of slamming of breaks, near accidents and concerns that that cop that just appeared from nowhere may be about to pull you over for not knowing the nuances of downtown Dallas and it’s oddly placed lights and stop signs (shame on you!).

Anyway. Back to the topic, the friendly drivers of Texas. I do not actually mean that people don’t cut each other off (just yesterday I got cut off by a white Lexus with the license plate MNY MKR, in fact), or go at the wrong time at stop signs (are the rules that difficult?!). I am talking about what happens when something goes wrong.

Two days ago as I pulled into the left turn lane of a busy intersection on my drive home, I realized that the car in front of me had his hazards on. He waved at me to go around him (we had a red light at that point, but I prepared to move into the next lane when it turned green). Meanwhile, another guy who had just pulled into the lane next to us rolled down his window and asked hazards guy if he needed help. I wasn’t around long enough to see the act of kindness in effect (though I assume they managed to move the car, since it wasn’t there the next day) but the fact that it happened makes me happy. A guy took time out of his day when probably all he wanted to do was go home and eat dinner after a long day at work, to help a stranger out.

I’ve had it happen to me several times, too. Once when my last car broke down on north loop 360 at 5.30pm (if you know Austin at all you know that this road is extremely busy at that time) someone stopped and helped me push it to the side. Another time when my car (again, my last one. We have since parted ways) decided to SHUT OFF WHILE DRIVING ON THE FREEWAY AT 70 MILES AN HOUR and I had somehow managed to manouver it onto the left shoulder, numerous people stopped to offer help. I had called AAA to tow me, but just the offers made me feel better about my situation, people, and life in general.

My point is, I see these acts of kindness all the time. Maybe it happens in other states too, but since I learned to drive just one and a half months before I moved to Texas, this is all I know. And I like it a lot.

Another road related thing that I love about Texas? This is one that people from other places just don’t seem to get. Access roads on freeways. Genius.



  1. I don’t drive, so I can’t exactly relate…but it’s always nice when someone goes out of their way to help you, isn’t it? Helps restore my faith that people are generally good.

    • Yes! I love it! Obviously when someone helps me, but also seeing strangers helping other strangers out. Definitely gives me the warm and fuzzies! It’s especially good when you see it happen when you’ve had kind of a bad day and are pissy with people. Instant pick-me-up!

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