September 21, 2005

How To Drive in Utah

A wise traveller is open-minded and alert for local laws and cultural nuance. First-time visitors to Utah will be immediately struck by the scenic vistas. Sadly however, while soaking in the unique landscape, those same visitors are at risk of also being struck by a Utahn making his or her way to work or Temple. Here are a few tips to make your visit to Utah as safe as possible.

Lane Usage
While most places in the Western Hemisphere reserve the left-hand lane for faster-moving traffic, Utah operates under a first-come, first-serve policy. Occupants of any lane may travel at any speed. The strategy behind switching lanes may vary from one driver to the next. While some drivers may chose to vary speeds within the same lane at their own discretion, others may prefer to make abrupt moves to the left to slow down or block faster-moving traffic.

Faster drivers should also take note that passing on the left is considered insulting and will be met with by an immediate increase in speed by the driver being passed. This is especially common as two lanes merge. For best results drivers are expected to pass on the right, then move left and slow down again.

Utah drivers are sophisticated, free-thinking individuals. Visitors will be impressed with Utahns' ability to adroitly manage several tasks and thought-processes at once. While operating a moving vehicle in Utah, you may be expected to talk on the phone, drink coffee, read a book, write a term paper, conceive a child, practice origami, perform a circumcision, and scan Utah radio for your favorite top40, country or religious rock station all at once. However, for safety's sake, while using the phone, be sure to use a hands-free device to allow maximum freedom of gesticulation.

As your dexterity increases, you may be able to increase your efficiency while driving. Seasoned veterans of Utah's driving customs are clearly visible as their speed will vary wildly above and below the designated speed limit. They might also make seemingly awkward lateral movements, utilizing every possible inch of their lane while borrowing several from the adjacent ones. Although these skills are not easily acquired, beginners may find it useful to buy a vehicle that far exceeds their particular size requirements, and decreases their line of site. That way, other drivers are sure to recognize your commitment to the Utah way.

Traffic lights govern the right of way at an intersection. Red means stop. Green means proceed. Yellow indicates the the light will soon be red. Therefore, when a light turns yellow, it is your obligation to accelerate sharply so that you and the line of traffic behind you may continue without the inconvenience of stopping. Remember, True Utahns drive excessively large vehicles which require more time to stop and more fuel to get back up to speed. Slowing down at a yellow or even some red lights will immediately expose you as a foreigner who must be passed immediately.

The unique width of Utah roads are a historical phenomenon. Utah roads were designed by migrating Mormons who required roads wide enough to turn an entire heard of cattle around at any juncture. Indecisive Utahns still make common practice of this technique. The "Utah Turn" (or "U-turn" for short) is perfectly acceptable on any road at any time. Utahns have petitioned short-sighted car manufacturers in vein to add a second turn signal specifically for U-turns. So be aware that by entering the state's borders, you have been given a gift from its very founders.

Busy Utah highways experience added congestion due to a lack of night life. Most Utahns access the same commute at precisely the same time. Therefore, it is often necessary to provide relief to gentle and predictable ebb and flow of steady moving traffic by violently applying your brakes for no apparent reason. Commuters behind you will appreciate this form of stimulation, especially if it serves as a warning that there is construction, or a police officer ahead.

It may also be useful to ride within several inches of the car in front of you. Not only will this solidfy your reputation as a masterful Utah driver, but you will be able to avoid the annoyance of allowing other commuters to change lanes on your watch. Should the car in front of you decide to slow down, wait until the last possible moment before forcefully applying your brakes. This will create a desirable tsunami effect of panick-branking behind you, making you the life of the commuter party.

The Middle Lane
Many busy Utah roads are quipped with a middle lane for turning across traffic. At any time this lane service traffic from 4 different directions. When turning off a busy street, be sure to cut across the 2-4 lanes of oncoming traffic at the least opportune time. Other drivers will appreciate being kept alert. Pulling ONTO a busy street requires traffic to be momentarily clear from only one side. Do no expect the far side to be clear when pulling out. To expedite the process, pull out while the far side is at capacity and merge blindly into fast-moving traffic. The faster the better. You will not be met with assertive opposition. Utahns elect to have their factory-installed horns removed to acheive a seemingly more polite and society. Instead, you will most-likely encounter a more passive-agressive form of disapproval: being passed on the right.

For more tips on driving in Utah, see local accident reports or call an LDS representative for hands-on advice. Good luck and happy U-turning.

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