Atlanta hasn’t had a good time with traffic recently, with i85 bridge collapse, i20 buckling and 285 just being 285. Add in i75 and the traffic around the new Braves stadium and traffic is nearing meltdown but it seems it always is close to meltdown and manages to survive by the skin of its teeth. And all the above mentioned things have certainly pushed the traffic to the brink as well as drivers to the brink of insanity.
Anyway, today’s little post is all about directions and how Americans give them and how it differs to back home in Ireland. Here it’s all about the compass direction of travel, turn north on 285, follow it till 85 south etc. This is great if you have a compass, or have an idea where you are going to start of with. In fairness most cars have a built in compass or at least a direction of travel light. I remember back home getting asked where the N17 was, have absolutely no idea until the person mentioned where it headed to. After that giving directions from Dublin to a road have way across the country was easy.
If you tried the Irish way of giving directions here in Atlanta it would end in absolute failure. I can imagine telling someone to go straight as far as the the big church, turn left followed by turning right at the red pub, follow the road till you reach McDonald’s, turn left and when you get to the church at the roundabout take the first exit till you get to another pub, your destination is about a mile up the road from the pub. Well for starters there are so many churches and McDonald’s here those directions would be useless. So it’s back to North and South using road designations.
Have fun, be safe and don’t ever drink and drive or text and drive!
Have been asked a few times recently what I miss most, what I like best, what is the hardest thing and a few other questions along the same lines. Today I will answer what I find the hardest. And the simple answer is driving. Not the skill of making the car go forward or awareness on the road but the sheer volume of traffic, different rules and amount of lanes on roads.
I have been driving nearly 26 years now and all of it has been in Ireland. So we drove on different side the road, the roads are smaller, the cars are smaller and journeys much shorter. The drive from Orlando to Atlanta was 7 hours and I drove half of it but overall the drive was possibly the longest drive I had taken in milage in a car. Oh I have been in a car longer, especially when serving overseas or in the 70’s going anywhere in Ireland could take hours in the days before motorways found their way to Ireland.
Another huge difference is the turn right on red law. At the majority of junctions it is allowed to turn right on red once it is safe to do so. It’s a bit like a yield sign at home but it certainly does take a while to get used to. My pet hate is traffic lights hanging across the road up in the air. I can understand why, junctions are so big and wide, having them in the corner on a post would make little or no sense as they couldn’t be seen. But for a split second you have to look up and take your eye of the road and it only takes a split second for an accident!
So onto 285, the dreaded Interstate that is like the M50 at home. 285 circles Atlanta completely and even though it’s officially called the Atlanta Bypass, everyone calls it 285. For me, who drove the M50 at home everyday going to work for the last 2 years, 285 isn’t so bad. The hardest part about it is the amount of lanes and lane indiscipline shown by drivers. And now to introduce a new word to my American friends, on Irish roads we call them sort of drivers Gobshites, well I am sad to say Atlanta and Georgia has its more than fair share of them too.
Drive safely, drive with consideration and get to your destination and allow others to theirs safely and don’t be a Gobshite!