Driving Around Boston: 5 Quick Tips for Tourists

Drive Like a Real Local

One look at Google Maps shows that Boston traffic can be confusing and hectic. The city is densely packed, roads are badly designed, and everyone has somewhere to go. This guide was created to give you some insider tips, so you can visit Boston with confidence in your driving abilities.



  1. How to Navigate Yield Signs

Just like snowflakes, yield signs around Boston are quite unique from one another, and each one has a different meaning. Some yield signs tell drivers to try and cut into traffic as aggressively as possible, while other yield signs recommend drivers come to a complete stop and cautiously approach the merge as one would approach an angry circus bear. The best thing to do when approaching a yield sign really depends on your mood.


  1. How to Navigate Narrow Lanes

It’s no secret that Boston has some of the densest neighborhoods around the country. Streets in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville can sometimes barely fit two lanes, which can be problematic to some drivers who have trouble staying in their lane. Don’t worry if you are driving in Boston though, as locals understand that staying in your lane is tough, and openly encourage driving in between two lanes, bonus respect if one of the lanes is for oncoming traffic. Even if you can adequately drive within your lane, be sure to aimlessly wander out of your lane every now and then to show your respect to local drivers.


  1. How to Navigate Roundabouts and Rotaries

If you remember to practice tip #1 regarding yields, roundabouts and rotaries will be no issue to you. Just like yield signs, roundabouts and rotaries are also very unique, and each one has their own ebbs and flows. Some people in other cities around the U.S. prefer to be a bit strategic going into one, staying in the outside lane if they plan to exit soon. This kind of behavior will instantly make you stick out in Boston. Instead, try to be as unpredictable as possible when entering and exiting roundabouts. If you are courteous and want to show everyone on the road how generous you are, feel free to stop in the middle of a roundabout or rotary and let some people in. Besides, you never know how people will interpret their yield sign.


  1. How to Navigate Around Boston Pedestrians

Just like its love for baked beans, Boston is famous for having some of the friendliest and laid-back people in the country. Pedestrians around Boston tend to be relaxed, and they rarely jay-walk. Boston is a pretty small city, and the locals understand that they can depend on a reliable public transit system, which causes people to rarely be in a rush. So, if you must inch forward at a red light until the point where your car is completely blocking the cross-walk, pedestrians won’t mind, they’ll just know you are a good driver.


  1. How to Navigate Around Bad Weather

There’s nothing worse than driving in an unfamiliar city while also dealing with bad weather. It can become easy to miss street signs, and having to pay extra attention to the road can get in the way of shuffling through your Spotify playlist. While we can’t promise that the weather will be ideal during your visit to Boston, we can promise you that most Boston drivers are also just as incompetent as you will be during bad weather.

Just like the aliens in the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan film “Signs”, Boston locals are deathly afraid of water, and will abandon attempts to reach their destination in a timely manner to avoid rain drops from hitting their car. In fact, you are probably a better driver than most Boston locals in bad weather, so if you don’t want to stick out, try to drive a good 20-30 mph under the speed limit if you perceive that there’s any amount of precipitation in the air.


In Conclusion

These five tips will absolutely help you alleviate your anxiety to driving around Boston, so be sure to bookmark this article if you need to refer to it while you are driving. If you need to take an extra minute or two at a red light to review this guide, take your time. It’s likely the driver behind you will appreciate your thirst for knowledge, and will honk their horn to honor your commitment to learning. Be sure to repay their gratitude by driving off at the last possible second that the light is green, so driver behind you can enjoy another red light, and reflect on their day. Happy driving!

(This article is not a real driving guide, and none of these tips should be taken seriously.)



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