I know many people think that joke emails that get passed around originate out of thin air, but I'm here to tell you that somebody actually writes them. Case in point is a list of "22 Basic Rules for Driving in Metro Detroit" that I wrote in 1998. It was inspired by a similar joke email I received from somebody about Boston driving. It was not credited to anybody so I couldn't give the person credit for the one or two items that were similar to what I included, but the others were all originally written by me. So I sent it to all my friends and it spread like wildfire, getting on the radio, and even into the Detroit Free Press in a Bob Talbert column. I had encoded my name in the list so that I could prove that I wrote it since I know that in the internet world, people take credit for other people's work by removing the author's name. So I thought I would revive it to post it to Detroit Essentials. Then, out of curiosity, I did a Google search on a unique phrase in my list and much to my horror and pleasure, I saw tons of search results copying my list, altering it and using it for cities all over the world.
Here is the original one that is now nearly 8 years old. Enjoy, and look for my name encoded in there.
22 BASIC RULES FOR DRIVING IN METRO DETROIT
1-- A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same jerks to squeeze their way back in before hitting construction barrels.
2-- Turn signals are just clues as to your next move in road battle so never use them.
3-- Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you no matter how fast you're going. If you do, the space will be filled in by somebody else putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
4-- Large SUV drivers think they're immortal, (especially if they have 4WD); don't succumb to the temptation to test this theory.
5-- The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller the chance you have of getting hit.
6-- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive body work. (Remember no-fault insurance, he might not have much to lose, you do.)
7-- Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to insure that your ABS kicks in giving a nice relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates.
8-- Construction signs tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the exit before the traffic begins to back up.
9-- The new electronic traffic warning system signs are not there to provide useful information, just to make Detroit look high-tech.
10-- Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It's a good way to scare people entering the highway.
11-- Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions and apparently not enforceable in the metro area during rush hour.
12-- Just because you're in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn't mean that a Detroit driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn't think he can go faster in your spot.
13-- Please remember that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic in Detroit.
14-- Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even a person changing a tire. It might be more interesting than the articles in last week's National Enquirer.
15-- Throwing litter on the roads adds variety to the landscape, keeps the existing litter from getting lonely and gives Adopt-a-highway crews something to clean up.
16-- Everybody thinks their vehicle is better than yours, (especially pickup truck drivers with stickers of Calvin peeing on a Ford, Dodge or Chevy logo.)
17-- Learn to swerve abruptly. Detroit is the home of high-speed slalom driving thanks to MDOT, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.
18-- It is traditional in Detroit to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant the light changes. This is a drag race isn't it?
19-- When the light turns green, put the pedal to the metal; gas is cheap in Michigan, pollution is a myth, and this is a drag race isn't it?
20-- Seeking eye contact with another driver revokes your right of way.
21-- Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and left before proceeding.
22-- Remember that the goal of every Detroit driver is to get there first,
by whatever means necessary.