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Memphis Driving


If you have ever lived in or visited Memphis you will know how true this is. For those of you that plan to visit, please print this out, and bring it with you to use as a reference guide. You may find it amusing now, but you will thank me later!

Basic Rules For Driving In Memphis

Rule #1-- Remember that the goal of every Memphis driver is to get there first, by whatever means necessary.

Rule #2-- Turn signals are just clues as to your next move in road battle, so never use them.

Rule #3-- Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, no matter how fast you're going. If you do, the space will be filled in by somebody else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.

Rule #4-- Large SUV drivers think they're immortal, especially if they have 4WD; challenge them because they are usually women and cave in easily.

Rule #5-- The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller the chance you have of getting hit.

Rule #6-- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive body work. They might not have much to lose, but you do.

Rule #7-- Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to insure that your ABS kicks in, giving a nice relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates.

Rule #8-- Construction signs tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the exit before the traffic begins to back up.

Rule #9-- The new electronic traffic warning system signs are not there to provide useful information, just to make Memphis look high-tech.

Rule #10-- Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It's a good way to scare people entering the highway.

Rule #11-- Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions and apparently not enforceable in the metro area during rush hour.

Rule #12-- Just because you're in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn't mean that a Memphis driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn't think he can go faster in your spot.

Rule #13-- Please remember that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush hour traffic in Memphis.

Rule #14-- Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even a person changing a tire and reflect on why you're glad you're not them.

Rule #15-- Throwing litter on the roads adds variety to the landscape, keeps the existing litter from getting lonely, and gives Adopt-a-Mile highway crews something to clean up.

Rule #16-- Everybody thinks their vehicle is better than yours (especially pickup truck drivers with stickers of Calvin peeing on a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy logo).

Rule #17-- Learn to swerve abruptly. Memphis is the home of high-speed slalom driving thanks to MLGW, which puts manholes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.

Rule #18-- It is traditional in Memphis to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant the light changes. This is a drag race isn't it?

Rule #19-- When the light turns green, put the pedal to the metal; gas is cheap in Memphis, and this is a drag race isn't it?

Rule #20-- Seeking eye contact with another driver revokes your right of way.

Rule #21-- Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and left before proceeding. (See Rule #5)

Rule #22-- A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same jerks to squeeze their way back in before hitting construction barrels.


More About Memphis

1. Downtown Memphis is composed entirely of one-way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Memphis is to turn around and start over when you reach Arkansas or Mississippi.

2. All directions start with, "Go down I-240..."

3. I-240 has no beginning and no end.

4. Coca-Cola is bottled in Memphis. That's all we drink here, so don't ask for any other soft drink. And, by the way, it's pronounced "Co'Cola."

5. Memphians only know their way home and their way to work.

6. Gate One at the Airport is 32 miles away from the Main Concourse.

7. It's impossible to go around a block and wind up on the street you started on. The Chamber of Commerce calls it a "scenic drive."

8. The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The 5:00 p.m. rush hour is from 3:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

9. Reversible Lanes (for example, Union Avenue) are not understood by anybody.
Note: They finally got smart and made Union into a normal street.

10. "Sir" and "Ma'am" are used by the person speaking to you if there's a remote possibility that you're at least 30 minutes older than they are.

11. "Sugar" is a more common form of address than "Miss." So is "Honey," And don't be offended; it is used by both sexes.

12. "Presley" can only be properly pronounced by a native Memphian, so do not attempt the pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you with their mouths open.

13. The falling of one raindrop causes all traffic to immediately come to a screeching halt. So will Daylight Saving Time, a girl applying eye shadow across the street, or a flat tire three lanes over. Should (God forbid) one snowflake fall in Memphis, all drivers on the roads immediately lose any ability to control a car. Or, if in a pickup truck or SUV, they will drive as though the roads are dry. (See Rules #4, #14 & #23)

14. If you're standing on a corner and a Metro Bus stops, you're expected to get on and go somewhere-although no one actually knows where the buses go.

15. Memphis is pronounced "MEM' fus."

16. Construction on I-240 is perpetual, a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment for the road construction companies.

17. Construction crews aren't doing their job properly unless they close down all lanes except one during rush hour.

18. Memphis' traffic is the friendliest around. The commuters spend hours mingling with each other twice a day. In fact, Memphis' traffic is rated number 1 in the country. You will often see people parked beside the road engaged in lively discussions. (See Rule #14)

19. Nonconnah Parkway(TN-385) is the southern equivalent of the Autobahn. You will rarely see a semi on Nonconnah Parkway, because the truck drivers are intimidated by the oversized SUV-wielding housewives racing home after a grueling day at the salon or the tennis match, to meet their children at the school bus.

20. The 95-pound woman driving the Ford Excursion (the largest vehicle ever produced in the world) absolutely MUST come to a complete stop, then proceed at 2.5 mph over any railroad track. Let's face it, this vehicle was built to invade small countries, and she's worried about the damn railroad tracks! Plus I think it is the Law.

21. Hard and fast rule of the road in Memphis: Never use your turn indicator when changing lanes on any freeway. Use it randomly on surface streets. (See Rule #2)

22. Pedestrians in Memphis have the right-of-way....but it is a driver's duty to take out the pedestrian when crossing the street.

23. The parking lots at all the malls rotate once every hour, thus ensuring that visitors will be unable to find their cars.

24. Most native Memphians do not know how to get around downtown.

25. Even though I-240 is known as a "loop," you cannot drive the entire circumference of the loop without taking several exits.

26. Even though it is the largest indoor arena in the region, there is no easy way to reach The Pyramid. You must drive under a series of interstate off-ramps and through the back of a concrete company in order to park. Once you reach the building, you must climb up dozens of steps, even if your seats are at floor level, which means you will be climbing back DOWN dozens of steps after entering the arena.

27. A typical set of Midtown directions may include, "take North Parkway east until you reach East Parkway, then take East Parkway south until you reach South Parkway, then take South Parkway west until you reach..."

28. If you drive south from Shady Grove Road, you will end up on Ridgeway Road without taking any turns. If you continue South, you will eventually be on Hickory Hill Blvd., again without taking any turns. However, Ridgeway Road will be parallel to you about a mile to the East. Memphis' street names change without warning. It is common knowledge that Memphis was laid out by a drunk on a crippled horse. Just go to Winchester Road out East, and try to distinguish between the intersections of Germantown Road, Old Germantown Road, and Germantown Road Extended/Riverdale.

29. There is an intersection of two streets near Midtown. The "two" streets are Summer Avenue, North Parkway, Trezevant Blvd., and East Parkway. Again, names change at random. This situation (two intersecting streets with four names) is not atypical.

30. Native Memphians cannot distinguish between the Mississippi River bridges named "Memphis-Arkansas Bridge" and "Hernando DeSoto Bridge". Nor can they distinguish between the "I-55 Bridge" and the "I-40 Bridge". They are ONLY known locally as the "Old Bridge" and the "New Bridge" (even though the "New Bridge" is about thirty years old).






Author unknown. This page is a merger of two emails that I received. I did a little bit of editing so they would make sense together.


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