Utah Rules of the Road
I have lived in Utah for a quarter-century, so I have a lot of experience dealing with Utah's unique driving habits. As a non-native, I try to observe quirky cultural norms with detachment—until I have to slam on the brakes because someone pulled out in front of me going one-twentieth the speed limit. Out-of-town visitors often comment on Utah drivers, usually saying something along these lines: "Jeez, these people around here drive crazy!"
And statistics support that sentiment: In an Insure.com survey ranking states with the rudest drivers, Utah made the Top 10. So it makes sense that about 1 in 5 Utah drivers are ticketed annually.
However, I would argue that Utah drivers are not crazy, but simply adhere to their own unwritten Law of the Road. If observed with the detached eye of a keenly observant (but constantly swerving) road scientist, these laws reveal themselves. I am confident, after years of research that I can now codify these laws:
1. The posted speed limit means that you must drive 20 mph over, or 20 mph under, that limit.
2. If you want to change lanes, put on your turn signal. This creates an automatic right to swerve into an adjoining lane, even if someone foolishly occupies that space.
3. A "yield" sign means: "No need to look—just pull out."
4. If your lane ends, the best response is to pretend that the other guy's lane ended.
5. If you are driving a large SUV, the laws of physics do not apply to you, especially on slick surfaces.
6. If you want to have a deep phone conversation with your hairdresser, the best place to do that is ambling along the fast lane on the Interstate.
7. Pedestrians are communists; kill them.
8. If you see someone riding a bike, conceive of them as a "bicycle," not a human. It's easier to run them off the road.
9. Social class is proportional to vehicle height. The higher one's bumper is off the ground, the greater one's status is in society. For males, tire size is directly proportional to—ah ... well, you know.
10. If a fellow motorist should commit the unpardonable sin of honking while you are engaged in any of above maneuvers, affect an air of affront at the vast injustice that has befallen you. Pull in front of the offending motorist and slow down. That'll teach 'em.
Those who have not yet learned this special code of the road is advised to proceed with caution. Make sure your government-mandated insurance is paid up—and, for goodness' sake, get out of the way!
Salt Lake City
Stop Celebrating Columbus
Now, here's a thought: In order to adequately remember some of the foulest examples of humankind, maybe Utah should celebrate a John Wayne Gacy Day or add an annual Ted Bundy Festival to its official holidays.
After all, like Christopher Columbus, these men were prominent murderers and rapists.
Utah continues to glorify a man who murdered, tortured, raped, and plundered the unfortunate indigenous people of the Americas. Following his landing on Hispaniola—now the Dominican Republic and Haiti—Columbus openly endorsed the kidnapping of girls, as young as 9, to be sold as sex slaves; chopped off the hands and ears of those who failed to give him enough gold; and totally decimated an entire population of indigenious people.
Today, consistent with their overall view of the world, Utahns seem to believe that it was all part of God's plan, and that the atrocities of Columbus were simply the byproducts of a manifest destiny. It's time for Utahns to engage their individual consciences and ask our legislators to end this tragic celebration.