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In order to effectively drive in Seattle, it is important to understand the methods of driving already accepted as standard in this area. The following is a set of standardized behaviors:

1- That thingy on the steering column is not a turn indicator, it is a turn "REQUESTER". Once you have placed your request, remain in your lane until the car behind you passes. At that point, begin this process again and continue until all cars have received your request and passed. Should you decide at any time to actually CHANGE lanes, be prepared for a hearty bleat of the horn from the car behind you. Once all the cars have passed, change lanes quickly and slow down.

2- That thingy in the middle of your steering wheel is a mistake. Never, ever push it, it makes noise and frightens the people around you. The only time it is acceptable to use that thing is if you have decided that the person in front of you should not be allowed to change lanes, but has done so anyway.

3- While waiting at a green light, remember this rule, you must wait at least 3 seconds for every car lined up behind you, if you have trouble with the math, take your time and make sure you get it right.

4- Merging lanes of traffic follow the ancient native rhythms of "you go, I go, I go, I go, you go, you go, we wait, I go, you honk, I signal, you go", repeat.

5- When leaving busy traffic to enter a driveway or other private egress, stop completely before signalling, signal, then follow the same "Rules of Waiting" outlined for green lights.

6- If you are driving and another car is within seven feet of you to either side, subtract 15 mph from your overall speed, preferably without notice. If you are on a two-lane bridge or limited road, subtract another 10 mph for safety's sake. When raining, look over to the side of the road, if you are traveling faster than pedestrians, slow down.

7- If you see snow, even if you THINK you see snow, pull over and leave your vehicle immediately. For rain, see rule 6.

8- Pedestrians have the right of way. This includes pedestrians that have not entered the crosswalk, pedestrians thinking about crossing the street, and pedestrians that just happen to be nearby. When in doubt, apply the Rules of Waiting whenever a pedestrian is within sight.

9- If your car is suddenly grabbed from below and forced to move more quickly, that is gravity and you are on a hill. Step on the brakes and slow down.

10- Never, for any reason whatsoever, drive as if you have someplace to go, it will confuse and frighten those around you who enjoy driving for hours on end.

11- If you see a giant ball of flame, that is the sun. It will not hurt you, but slow down, just to be sure.

A few notes about the Municipal Roadworks in Seattle

1- If you decide to take a bus, set aside an evening to plan your trip. You will need: Bus maps, a pad and pencil, a calculator, a compass, a protractor and a ruler. Do not wait until your trip to figure it out. You will not be allowed to ask people at the bus stop, strangers that talk out loud are frowned upon and considered worth ignoring completely.

2- Traffic lights are timed according to the same ancient native rhythms described above. Translated, they are: Red, Green, Green, Green, Red, Stop sign, yellow, Pioneer square, red. Never expect to see more than two green lights in a row, if you do, report it immediately. More than two green lights when you are stuck at a red light do not count.

3- There are express lanes on I-5 with an exit in Tacoma, one in the U district and the last one at the Canadian Border. These lanes are efficient for trips to or from Alaska.

4- Right about now, while you are reading this, I90 is faster than SR520, regardless of your location or direction.

5- When travelling to or from work across the SR520 bridge, take your family, a pet, a few of your neighbors and the local pizza delivery boy. This will ensure that you can use the express lanes.

6- There are three bridges in, on or under Lake Washington.

7- If you happen to live in the Seattle Center and want to go downtown, don't walk the seven blocks, take the monorail, that's what it's there for.

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