For those new to Hamilton County or new to driving, throw away your Indiana Driver’s Manual. What follows is the Hamilton County Driver’s Manual. It will help you better understand local driving traditions.
Stop Signs: Here, stop signs don’t really mean, “STOP.” They just mean slow down a little. Especially at 4-way stops. When the car in front of you takes its turn to pass through the intersection, just slowly ease through the intersection with them without making your own complete stop. True, if each car made a complete stop, children could cross the street and cars trying to cross at the next intersection might actually be able to do so, but the Hamilton County Golden Traffic Rule is, “Do unto others anything necessary to get where you’re going faster.” You’ll find our Golden Traffic Rule* permeates all traffic behavior here.
Speed Limits: In Hamilton County, the speed limit is more a suggestion than a hard rule. Think of the posted limit as the slowest you’re allowed to go. Ten to twenty miles an hour over the posted limit is just fine. This is especially true in neighborhoods. The people trying to relax on their porches and the children riding their bikes or playing basketball in cul-de-sacs really won’t mind you making their neighborhood menacing, dangerous places. They’ll understand how important it is that you shave five or ten seconds off your drive.
Pedestrians/Crosswalks: Here in our corner of Hoosierland, we see crosswalks as needless government regulation. Fact is, some people are too cheap to exercise in health clubs and others are so rude they actually get out and walk around. Here’s what to do: As moms with strollers, County employees and Monon Trail users are exercising their supposed right to safely cross the street, ease your car menacingly close to them. The effect can be heightened by thumping the steering wheel with your palm and sighing heavily. Once they are just inches out of your way, slam on your accelerator and roar past. This may sound extreme to bleeding-heart newcomers, but it reminds pedestrians that might makes right. So if you’re in a mall parking lot or at a pedestrian crossing and it’s raining or bitterly cold, do not give pedestrians the right of way out of a mistaken sense of kindness. No matter that you’re warm and dry and they’re not. Cars come first here. Always.
Parallel Parking: We haven’t gotten around to banning this yet. When people slow down near an empty parking space with their turn signal on, pull up to their bumper so they can’t back up, then honk your horn as if to say, “Get the F’ going!” If someone is already in reverse as you approach, honk your horn long and loud and angrily accelerate around him.
Bicycle Safety: Treat bicyclists the same way you’d treat a parallel parker who is getting out of their car. Accelerate past them and do so dangerously close. Cyclists should know that bike riding is a nuisance because sometimes it slows down a driver by a few seconds.
Car Size: We prefer the biggest cars possible. Smart cars are for pussies. Never mind that we live in one of the flattest places on earth, or that we have not one single gravel road left in the county, or that we have some of the best and safest roads in the nation. Bigger is always better, no matter what. Commuting solo to downtown Indy in a Suburban or Hummer? Of course! And if it costs $80 bucks to fill your tank, that’s not your fault. Just blame Obama. (Around here we blame everything on him anyway.)
Turning Left: Hamilton County is so conservative we’ve made turning left near impossible. But there’s a way around this. When the light turns green, even though it’s technically not your turn, step on it and race out in front of oncoming cars. If you insist on following the rules when turning left, you better take a sack lunch and bring a magazine along. You’re gonna be there awhile. (And remember, nobody is gonna let you in. *refer back to our Golden Traffic Rule)
Roundabouts: We have roundabouts here in Hamilton County. If you're of at least average intelligence and prefer to move forward rather than sit needlessly at red lights, you’ll do just fine. If not, you'll find these irritating, and possibly even their circular shape, confusing. Forewarning: If you hate daylight saving time and spicy food, you’re definitely from Indiana, and therefore will also my be prone to hate roundabouts.
Noise Pollution: We Hamilton County residents put “noise pollution” in the same category as global warming, evolution, Obama’s citizenship. They’re things that don’t exist. We love loud car sound systems and loud motorcycles. That’s why we don’t enforce our noise ordinances. Fellas, the louder your sound system and/or engine, the more men admire you and the more ladies are attracted to you. Like you, they see the noise as a symbol of your masculinity. Likewise, if you’re a driver who likes to yell a high-pitched, “Wooooo,” out your window at pretty girls, we encourage that here. The ladies just love it and will find you irresistible.
If there’s a traffic situation not covered here, refer back to the Hamilton County Golden Traffic Rule* for guidance.