It’s Here! The Survival Guide to Driving in Lansing
I moved to Lansing early this summer, and quickly realized there are some definite nuances about driving on Mid-Michigan roads.
2+ months in; that makes me an expert now, right? (I know, I know.) Here are a few of the things I've learned.
Speed Limits Are Suggestions
Speed limit sign says 35? Nah. Do at least 48 or you're gonna get run over. 50mph or more if you can. Unless you're in the left lane. Then, by all means, go 34 mph.
Potholes Will Launch You into Orbit
One would think in a state that apparently honors the orange construction barrel as its official mascot, there would be fewer potholes. Alas, no. I've learned that if you see any semblance of asphalt in disrepair, avoid it. Lest you risk driving your vehicle into a hole that may or may not lead to China.
Blinking Lights Mean Do Whatever You Want
If you happen to encounter a traffic light that is not fully operational and is blinking either red or yellow--or worse, is completely out, consider this intersection a free-for-all. Those things you might have been taught in Driver's Ed about who has the right-of-way in these situations apparently do not apply in Lansing. I'm pretty sure I heard the driver of a Corolla holler "Wheeeeeeee!" out an open window while taking the corner of Jolly Rd. and Collins on two wheels last Tuesday. Be warned.
This Sign Means Nothing
Ah, the merge sign. In the Lansing area, this seems to serve no purpose. Anytime I've been traveling in the right lane and encountered another vehicle trying to join the highway, I've moved to the left and made space (as long as traffic would allow). Apparently I'm the only one. I cannot tell you how many times I've encountered drivers who refuse to budge, regardless of whether there's any other traffic in the lane beside them. And it's not because they're about to get off at the next exit. Evidently it's a game I've never heard of, called "Good luck, Sucka!"
Oh, You're Getting Off at That Exit? God help ya.
I'm pretty sure this exit off US 127 is used to train aspiring NASCAR drivers. Oh, you wanted to head east on Saginaw Street at 5pm on a Friday? Best of luck crossing 58 lanes of traffic in the span of two city blocks. And once you get to the intersection to turn, lanes no longer matter (not that they're painted on the road anyway). Just pick one and hope for the best.
This list is not meant to be all-inclusive. I reserve the right to add to this survival guide after experiencing a semester of Michigan State students joining us all on the road, and whatever winter Lansing gets this year. I'm sure there will be more lessons to learn.