Miami-Dade County boast several miles of beautiful beaches and many first-rate hotels, but to enjoy them you have to make it to them alive. In my county, drivers make right turns from the leftmost lane, cruise in the rain with blinkers on, drop passengers off in the middle of a busy street, and abjure the use of turn signals while showing contempt for those who do. We South Floridians ‘fail to use turn signals 48 percent of the time when changing lanes and 25 percent of the time when making a turn,” according to an automotive engineer:
Ponziani conducted his field study in Dayton, Ohio, which is in the Midwest, where people are nice. He predicted that the percentages would rise in the Miami metropolis, where people are aggressive or oblivious. Here, it’s Mad Max or Mr. Magoo behind the wheel. Drivers either don’t want to cede an inch of territory to competing drivers or they are not paying attention. Here, instead of mindfulness — the healthy way of living in the moment — Miamians practice mindlessness — the selfish way of living as if you are the only human inhabiting your surrounding environment.
Other theories include a fear of showing weakness, tied to machismo (“In L.A. drivers are more laid back because they are resigned to sitting in freeway traffic for two hours,” a University of Miami observes). There’s no way to get past the implied racism: tranquil white Dayton has less trouble with turn signals than polyglot Miami. My experiences in multiethnic New York City, though, gives me pause. In Manhattan, the drivers are aggressive, impatient with dallying, but they follow elementary traffic rules.
Out of towners, use Uber – even if you’re staying with me.