I was in Andover, Massachusetts (just outside Boston) this week for meetings. While I was there, I had the most bazaar road experience ever! It was very confusing and odd and funny all at the same time!!! I still can’t get over it!
Amy – the co-worker I was traveling with – was driving and I was the navigator (no comments from those of you who know I get lost everywhere I go – I was a GOOD navigator!). We were sailing along route 93N from Logan airport to the hotel in Andover when I started to notice something strange. I didn’t think much of it at first, but when I realize that it wasn’t just some inconsiderate driver, I started to pay more attention to it. Just about that time, Amy (who has been there before) said, “Oh, I should probably mention that it is legal to drive on the hard shoulder, here!” That started a conversation about it that continued off and on the whole time we were there!
Apparently, there are certain times of the day when the hard shoulder is used as another fast lane! Imagine my surprise and confusion when we had cars passing us on the right – literally flying past us in a lane usually reserved for breakdowns! Cars would be speeding down this lane and look like they were going to be taking an exit and end up zipping right past the exit and keep right on going along the hard shoulder!! Cars in what is usually the last lane to the right that want to move over to take an exit have to be very careful to look for traffic coming up behind them and literally fight to get over and exit the highway!
And to make it even MORE confusing (if that was possible), some of the signs said it was OK to do this from 6:00 am – 10:00 am and some of them said it was OK to do it from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm!!!! OMG — what a nightmare!!!! ha-ha-ha
We talked about it at dinner with the whole group that night and we asked our colleagues who live there whether or not this causes more accidents and what do they do if they break down – there is nowhere to go to get out of the line of traffic!!! They said that it does cause accidents and one said that she had a flat tire and when she called her husband to come help her, he said “get out of the car and stand as far away from it as you can get!” Now, I have called my ex-husband when I’ve broke down on a highway somewhere and his advice is always to “stay in the car and keep your doors locked”!! ha-ha-ha
A colleague from Havant in the UK was riding back and forth from the hotel and the meetings and commented “oh, my! I could never drive here!” and she wasn’t talking about how we drive on a different side of the road than they do – she was also totally confused by the use of the hard shoulder lane!
Can you imagine????