It’s no secret that drivers in Boston and Mass in general suck. Some drivers are exceptionally bad, to the point of being dangerous, some drivers are great, but I would suggest they are an exception.
And I think I’ve worked out why …
The test here sucks.
I’m from the UK, and passed my driving test there around 7 years ago, and have been driving since then. I did around a year of learning and lessons, then a written test which was challenging, and the 30 minute road test where every aspect of your driving was watched … how often you checked your mirrors, how aware you were of things around you … that kind of thing.
I arrived in Boston a year ago, and finally got around to converting to a Mass license, for which I had to go through the test as if I was a new driver.
I did no preperation, no research, no books or guides, just let my 6 years in the UK and one year here teach me.
The 20 minute written test was finished in under 5 minutes. I got a couple wrong, but they were mostly local law questions I hadn’t come across.
Yesterday I did the practical portion of the test, and I admit, I was a little nervous …
We drove around the block. A left turn, three right turns (one with a STOP sign), and a left turn back into the car park. The policeman doing it chatted about the war and how crap he thought Bush was for the whole 5 or 6 minutes we were out.
I just figured that because he knew I could drive already, he was giving me an easy ride … but I’ve been told since that this wasn’t the case, and that really is how the majority of tests here are …
So, Boston drivers suck because the state test suck :) Thats my theory, and I’m sticking to it :)

4 Comments so far

  1. mk (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2004 @ 3:39 am

    It all depends on where you take your test. I took mine in Brockton, which at the time was rumored to be easy, and it was – almost exactly what you described. When my sisters took it, though, they had to do all sorts of crazy things, including parallel parking. Maybe they figured it was a mere formality for you since you already know how to drive and you’re not some nervous 16-year-old kid who has only been driving for six months.
    Um. Yes. There is a reason people from other states call us “Massholes.”

  2. smeg (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2004 @ 4:38 am

    See, parallel parking isn’t considered crazy in the UK, it’s an expected part of the test, along with three point turns, emergency stops, reversing around a corner, and possibly even hill starts (all done in sticks there), reverse parking, highway driving .. you also have to have experience of night driving before you can take a test.
    ‘Course, we still have idiots on the road, just not as many as in Mass :)

  3. Dave (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2004 @ 5:54 am

    The UK test sounds a lot like the test I took when I first got my license in Milwaukee 15 years ago, although we were allowed to use automatics. My tester made me drive past a busy hospital to see how I reacted to emergency vehicles. Of course that was Wisconsin, where people drive calmly and politely, yeilding the right of way, and even slowing down to allow traffic to merge. Crazy stuff. I’ve been driving in MA for so long now that when ever I go back to Milwaukee I drive like a complete Masshole. Kinda freaks people out.

  4. smeg (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2004 @ 11:08 am

    The whole auto vs Stick thing is a blog post of mine for another day :)
    I love driving in Boston, it wakes me up first thing in the AM, thats for sure (if I didn’t wake up, I’d be dead)

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