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Three things I've learned from driving around DFW

In the video above, I purposely picked times when traffic was low. But when there is traffic, I've learned a few things about driving around DFW.

The area of DFW (Dallas-Ft Worth) I'm referring to is the northeastern part which includes McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Richardson, Lucas, Murphy, Addison, Farmers Branch, Wylie and so on.

This is what the area looks like on the map:

image

I've not ventured south of Dallas proper nor into Arlington or Fort Worth simply because I've had no reason to go there. Not yet, anyway. However, where I have been still covers a fair bit of ground.

This is what I've learned from driving around DFW in my time here thus far:

1. You will get cut off. Don't get angry about it.

DFW drivers for whatever reason are always near-missing turns, so what happens is that they shove themselves into lanes at the last possible second routinely. The end result of this is getting cut off happens a lot. This used to really anger me, but now it's mildly annoying.

What I do now when driving around is that if there is anybody in front of me or someone coming up in a lane from behind, I expect to be cut off. This makes it slightly more tolerable when the cutoff inevitably does happen.

2. Having a good sense of where you are really does help.

I've done tons of map study concerning the DFW area, and I can't adequately express in words how much it helps having at least an idea of where you are when traveling around here. (I really should get an updated road atlas, now that I think about it...)

DFW has a lot of that everything-looks-the-same thing going on. Without GPS or smartphone navigation, it's almost too easy to get lost. And even with a navigation aid it's even possible to get lost.

GPS is good and I always drive with it, but it sometimes tells me to take paths that I know aren't the best way for getting around DFW. There have been times when the GPS tells me "go this way" when I know it would be better taking a different road just a half-a-mile away.

I find that a blend of following GPS directions and using my own instincts seems to work best.

3. People driving below the speed limit on the highway is normal

DFW is the first area I've lived in where a fair amount of drivers travel at 5mph below the limit.

You'd think this would be normal for big rigs and large trucks. It is, but I'm actually talking about passenger cars.

On US-75, the speed limit is 70mph. It's routine that when I do travel at 70 on that highway, I'm flying past other cars. It happens to much to the point where I check my speedometer and my GPS to confirm I'm not speeding. Nope, I'm not. People are just driving slow.

It's not so much from a sense of courtesy that people drive slower, but rather a few other factors. Namely, wind and debris.

The wind that happens on the highway will blow your car around. At 70, you really feel it. I'm used to it at this point, but I understand now why I almost never see motorcycles or Jeep Wranglers on US-75. But even for those with cars that can handle the wind, many stay under 70 just so they don't get blown around as much.

Debris is a thing that happens on Texas highways, and it mainly comes from trucks. There's a saying that says everything is bigger in Texas. Well, that includes the stuff dropped on the highway. When the high winds slam against the trucks, things fall to the ground more. The two general rules of thumb is to a) don't ride close to a big truck, and b) keep a good view of the road...

...which is why it's normal to see locals around here driving slower. Again, it's not from a sense of courtesy. It's so they don't get blown around and/or have debris smack their car and cause damage.

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