Those of you who spend much time in the saddle cruising this continent will understand that the really funny thing is that it’s all so true!
1. 'Phoenix' actually consists of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson, Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Sun City, Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Sun Lakes, Surprise, Laveen, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, and half of the Mexican border.
2. The morning rush hour is from 4:00 am to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 9:00 PM. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.
3. The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. On Loop 101, your speed is expected to match the highway number. Anything less is considered 'Wussy.’
4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest mufflers go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, in the East Valley, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.
5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended.
6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's an offense that can get you shot.
7. Road construction is permanent in Phoenix. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment during the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.
8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, dogs, barrels, cones, cats, mattresses, shredded tires, rabbits, vultures, javelinas, roadrunners, and the coyotes feeding on any of these items.
9. Maricopa Freeway, Papago Freeway and the 'I-10' are the same road. SR202 is the same road as The Red Mountain FWY. Dunlap and Olive are the same street too. Northern and Shea are the same street. Also, Glendale Ave. becomes Lincoln Drive. Jefferson becomes Washington, but they are not the same street.
‘I-17’ is also called The Black Canyon Freeway as well as The Veterans’ Memorial Highway. The Superstition is also known as US 60. The 101, 202, and 303 remain a large mystery to most of us. It is not yet determined if there is a Red Mountain and a San Tan or just a Red/Tan Mountain. The SR51 has recently been renamed the Piestewa Freeway because Squaw Peak Parkway was too easy to pronounce.
SR101 is also the Pima FWY except west of ‘I-17,’ which is also The Black Canyon FWY, and The Veterans’ Memorial HWY. Lastly, Thunderbird Rd. becomes Cactus Rd.---but, Cactus Rd. doesn't become Thunderbird Rd. because it dead-ends at a mountain.Actually, you should be fine if you just focus. Put the phone down, the make up away, the beer in the cup holder and the cigarettes in your pocket.
10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, it has been 'accidentally activated.'
11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be 'flipped off' accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.
12. For summer driving, it is advisable to wear potholders on your hands.
13. Please note that there are many, MANY more issues to the phenomenon of driving in Phoenix---like the 4-cars-through-a-red-light rule---but these will at least get you acquainted with our unique life on the road.
And, if you need a map, I'm happy to provide a Phoenix/Valley map to any one who asks. Good luck out there and drive safe!
Photo from Flickr courtesy of Jimmy_Joe.