By Khadijah Khogeer
When I finally got my driver’s license my sophomore year of college after years of putting it off, I was really excited to be able to start driving around the city. What I’ve since realized, however, is that passing the driver’s test does not prepare you for Boston’s notorious driving experience.
Here are some things you should know before driving in Boston.
- Many drivers are either too slow or too fast
I’ve encountered drivers who are either too slow or rushing to work so they aggressively try to bulldoze every car out of their way. For slow drivers, be patient or try to move ahead of them and avoid the aggressive ones if possible. Drivers in Massachusetts aren’t called “massholes” for nothing.
- Switch lanes as early as you can
Even when I turn on my signals, the cars in the other lane make it really hard to switch into their lane. I learned the hard way, by missing way too many turns, that I should try to switch lanes early.
- There are potholes everywhere
Boston’s streets are filled with potholes, so if you value your car’s tires, driving in Boston will be a nuisance. Also, potholes can be dangerous and cause your car to go off balance.
- Lots of rough streets
Have low expectations when it comes to enjoying a smooth drive around town. Boston is made for pedestrians. The streets are old, narrow and bumpy. As someone who suffers from motion sickness, I can attest that driving in the city isn’t always pleasant. One thing that helps is to get a car that doesn’t sit too low or have a four-wheel drive, which also helps when driving in the winter.
- Be prepared for a terrible rush hour in the morning and between 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Ah, rush hour. It’s unavoidable for most people. Boston’s rush hours might not be as bad as those of Los Angeles or New York City, but getting stuck on Storrow Drive at 5 p.m. is one of the worst things that can happen.
- Good luck finding parking
Parking spots are very limited in Boston. And even worse, when you do find a parking spot, time is usually limited to two hours. That sounds like a long time, except for when you have three-hour classes to attend. Your best bet is to head out earlier than planned so you have extra time to find parking and avoid being late to class.
- The jaywalkers
I’m sure you’ve seen pedestrians crossing the street when the “Do Not Cross” sign is on. In my experience, the most jaywalking occurs on college campuses because students are rushing to class.
The stress of running over a student on Commonwealth Avenue is something everyone driving on campus can relate to. Always stay alert and slow down when you see a jaywalker — although they still manage to appear when you least expect them.