This is an old email I got about ten years ago. Found it amusing, so I thought I’d share:
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury.
Due north of the center we find the South End.
This is not to be confused with South Boston,
which lies directly east from the South End.
North of the South End is East Boston and
southwest of East Boston is the North End.
Backbay was filled in years ago.
Basic Rules for Driving in Boston: (Subject to change at any
Boston is often acclaimed as the most exciting city in America in
which to drive. Who would argue? Herewith, for newcomers and visitors, are
a few basic rules of the road for driving in these parts:
- To obtain a general idea of how to drive in Boston, go to a Celtics
game and carefully watch the fast break. Then get behind the wheel of
your car and practice it.
- Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and
left before proceeding.
- When in doubt, accelerate.
- Very generally speaking, the intransigence of the Boston driver is
directly proportional to the expense of his American-made car, and
inversely proportional to the expense of his foreign-made car. But in
applying this formula, bear in mind that they are all more or less
- When on a one way street, stay to the right to allow traffic to pass
coming the other direction.
- Drivers whose cars sport “I Brake For Animals” bumper stickers may
brake for animals, but they may not brake for you. Watch it.
- Teenage drivers believe they are immortal. Don’t yield to the
temptation to teach them otherwise.
- Taxicabs should always be given the right of way, unless you are bent
- Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the
wheels of your car. Most multicar pileups are caused this way.
- The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see.
- Learn to swerve abruptly. Boston is the home of slalom driving, thanks
to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which puts potholes in key locations to
test drivers’ reflexes and keep them on their toes.
- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive body work.
- Double-park in the North End of Boston, unless triple-parking is
- Always look both ways when running a red light.
- While it is possible to fit a 15-foot car into a 15-foot parking
space, it is seldom possible to fit a 16-foot car into a 15-foot parking
space. Sad but true. Don’t even think of finding a 20 ft space.
- There is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic in
- Rush ‘Hour’ generally only lasts from 7am until 8pm.
- It is traditional in Boston to honk your horn at cars that don’t move
the instant the light changes. Color doesn’t matter.
- Never put your faith in signs that purport to provide directions.
They are put there to confuse people who don’t know their way around the
city. And to confuse those who do but are detoured by the Big Dig.
- Use extreme caution when pulling into breakdown lanes. Breakdown
lanes are not for breaking down, but for speeding, especially during rush
hour. Breakdown lanes may also end without warning causing traffic jams
as people merge back in.
- Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract
other Boston drivers, who are not used to them.
- Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Boston drivers,
unused to such courtesies, will think you are waving them on to pass you.
- The yellow light is not, as commonly supposed outside the Boston area,
a signal to slow down. It is a warning to speed up and get through the
intersection before the light turns red. As a result, yellow lights only
light for a quarter of a second.
- Seeking eye contact with another driver revokes your right of way.
- Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. Sidewalks are
- In making a left turn from the right lane, employ the element of
surprise. That is, do it as suddenly as possible, so as to stun other
drivers. Crossing entire 4 lane roads in one block always gains the
respect and salutes.
- Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.
- Whenever possible, stop in the middle of a crosswalk to ensure
inconveniencing as many pedestrians as possible.
- Remember that the goal of every Boston driver is to get there first,
by whatever means necessary.
- Above all, keep moving.
And good luck. You’ll need it.