Greetings fair driver! Welcome to Atlanta, the city too busy to follow basic traffic laws. Here in The ATL, we're known for two things, naming everything after peach trees and sitting in traffic so bad you want to find a peach tree and bust your head against it. We didn't get this way by accident, oh no, it takes years of careful civic planning and a complete and total lack of competence on the part of you, the driver, to make this city the congested commuter shithole it is.
This handy guide has been created to help out those new to the area, who may have come from cities that know what a stop sign is. With the tips in this guide, and a liberal amount of head trauma, you too can drive the way Atlanta wants you to. Horribly!
Everywhere the Signs
As you drive around Atlanta, you may notice a lot of streets named after peach trees. With a language spanning some 600,000 words, you'd think we could come up with some more street names. Not so! Besides, what do you have against peach trees anyway? Getting around Atlanta is easy. Imagine a grid where some streets run North to South, some run East to West, some go diagonally, some go in a circle, some make an 'S' shape and some go absolutely nowhere. Now, if the North-South streets are named one thing, then the East-West streets will be named the same thing, but appended with a "SE" or the number 3, or the letter 'Q', or a very small dot of orange paint. Simple! You can also use handy city landmarks to get around. For instance, if you're driving along and you see the sign for The Varsity, you're in downtown Atlanta. Or you're in Alpharetta. Similarly, if you're in Marietta and you see the Big Chicken, then you know you're in Marietta. Piece of cake! If you see homless people then you're in some bizarro alternate universe, as Atlanta has made homelessness illegal. As we all know, the best way to fight poverty is to criminalize it!
Stop Me Before I Stop Again
During your travels around Atlanta you may see strange, red, octagonal signs asking you to stop your vehicle. We all know that when going 65 mph in a residential area, stopping is just a recipe for disaster, or at the least, undue wear on one's seat belts, so feel free to ignore these "Stop" signs. If you feel like you have to slow down, do so, but try not to go under 45. The people behind you have places to go. Similarly, if you're on a highway and a flashing sign is telling you to merge left or right due to a lane closure, what they mean is to continue driving until the lane ends, possibly by slamming you into a piece of heavy machinery, and then swing in to the next lane as quickly as possible. The person you cut off won't mind. And if they do, it's probably their fault anyway. Had they rocketed down the shoulder at 85 mph before merging, everyone else could have all gone a little bit faster. This strategy is also helpful for "Exit Only" lanes. If no one will let you merge, simply stop your vehicle and wait until someone lets you in. Those people behind you will just have to wait. They don't mind. Honest. As for traffic lights, don't worry if the light has turned red and you're still in the intersection, thereby keeping the opposite lanes from getting through. That's what those cameras are for, to capture your wacky hijinks. Oh how we laugh when we see the pictures of the other drivers as they get red faced with rage while all the time you sit there and desperately try to ignore them so you won't have to make eye contact and admit to them that you're a total fucking idiot. Thanks for those fun times! You know who you are.
Can't Stop the Signal
Legends tell of strange devices attached to our cars that, with a flick of one's finger, can indicate to other drivers that you're intending to switch lanes, or turn a corner. Here at the Atlanta Traffic Council, we don't hold much with legends and tall tales. I mean, a flashing light, on a car? That's madness. What would these strange, blinking, flashing, signal devices be called? Flashers? Blinkers? Signals? Flablinknals? The things people come up with. No, fair driver, these items exist only in stories, and it's a good thing too, because how are you expected to drive, hold your cellphone, change the radio station and operate a signalling device? You'd need like 4 arms! As it is, you need 3 just to be able to hold the steering wheel, and you've been doing just fine without doing that, so a fourth arm would be absolutely unnecessary. Plus, think of what would happen to the global sleeve industry if everyone now needed 2 more sleeves on every piece of clothing they own. Demand would outstrip supply and we'd have a garment recession not seen since the Great Zipper Collapse of '08. Just as people don't need to know that your uncle likes to dress in women's clothing, they also don't need to know every time you want to make a turn. Too much information people! Besides, it's a nice surprise, when they expect you to go straight and then you veer off wildly. It's especially surprising if they're trying to make the same turn! Good times. As for lane changes, if you feel the need to tell the other driver that you're planning on occupying the space they're currently occupying, a roll of the eyes, or pointing of the finger will suffice. Honestly, none of this is necessary as physics won't allow both you and the other person to occupy the same space at the same time. Simply get into the other lane and let Classical Mechanics do the rest!
On rare occasions, and we mean rare, like it almost never happens, you may find yourself in bumper to bumper traffice on an Atlanta highway. When this happens, it's absolutely imperative that you get as close to the car in front of you as humanly possible. This will ensure that more cars can fit on the roads and that we all get home as quickly as possible. You wouldn't think that 6 inches makes a difference but they all add up to a whole bunch of inches. At least a dozen. We've come up with a handy formula to decide how close you should be to the car in front of you. Simply take the distance from the ground to the top of your front bumper and subtract it from 10. This is how many inches you should be from the car in front of you. SUV owners, this may mean that the front axle of your car is in the back seat of the car in front of you. If so, be sure to buckle your axle in. Safety first Atlanta! Not only will this get us all home faster, but larger cars will be able to shield smaller cars from debris and low swooping pterodactals should a dimensional portal to The Savage Lands be opened and the creatures of prehistoric days thunder across Atlanta's roadways.
Here at the Atlanta Traffic Council, we too are doing our part to ensure that Atlantans look forward to prostate exams more then their daily commute. That's why we've laid out Atlanta's roads and streets as if the city's infrustructure was planned by drunken howler monkeys. In fact it was. Skippy has been a civil engineer with the City of Atlanta for 20 years now. Say hello Skippy. "*BURP* SCREECH!". Ha! Too true. Anyways, here in Atlanta, we feel that the best way to tangle you up on your drive home is through a cunning combination of single lane roads, left turn only intersections and retail plazas. For example, can you imagine a two lane road with an intersection that leads to a Wal-Mart and behind the Wal-Mart an elementary school? We can, and did! Nothing adds time on to ye olde commute like waiting for buses to take a left in the morning, and shoppers to take a left in the afternoon. Future plans involve putting a landfill behind the elementary school that's behind the Wal-Mart and making it a left turn only intersection so that those that could have taken a right into Wal-Dump Elementary have to go down the road to another left turn only intersection, complete a dangerous and illegal u-turn, and then take a left into good old WDE. That's right Atlanta drivers, we don't expect you to be the only morons in the state. We're dumb two! That is to say, we're dumb to! No wait, ah, forget it.
So there you have it Atlantanoids, all the tips you need to make sure that anyone even attempting to get from one place to another in under an hour have their hopes and dreams smashed like a tail-gating bumper at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Remember, Atlanta is the only city to have traffic cops at intersections with fully functioning traffic lights. It's your incompetence that makes Atlanta so fun to get around. Happy driving Atlanta! Take it away Skippy!
That guy. He kills me.