*File photo
*File photo

Just as many visitors from Boston must adhere to our left hand rules of the road in Bermuda, so too must many Bermudians who travel to Boston accustom themselves to the driving culture there.

Case in point, there is a genius in the the Massachusetts highway department who has found an hysterical way to communicate better driving habits to the motoring public.

Keen to ensure that all drivers understood the message, they were trying to send they actually spelled it out in that iconic linguistic style Bostonians have become famous for: “Use Yah Blinkah!”

I knew instantly what that suggestion on the electronic sign would sound like if actually spoken by a true Bostonian and it has tickled the funny bones of thousands as this picture has gone viral. And of course, using your blinkah, er, blinker or signalling when you want to change lanes is good advice, whether you are in Boston or Bermuda.

I cannot tell you how happy this directive has made my husband who is the quintessential Englishman, meaning he is properly polite, and aghast at the way we drive. I consider our road skills an art, but he disagrees and is made furious when another motorist, with what seems like little regard for his fellow drivers, suddenly and without warning shifts into your lane, just inches from your front bumper and then puts on his blinker. Occasionally you will witness a driver administer just one blink of the blinkah before making his move, but it is rare.

Massachusetts motorists may be considered rude by some, but they cannot even hold a candle to Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi. Those states rank in the top three of the worst states to drive in as assessed by CarInsuranceComparison.com.

Compilers of the list looked at drivers’ failure to obey traffic signals, the number of speeding tickets issued and the instances of careless driving to evaluate the worst drivers in the US.

Driving habits become even scarier when you go very international.

Grant Martin is a writer for the GADLING travel blog who describes his maddening motoring experience in Italy. 

“When I rented a car in Napoli, the manager at the Hertz office told me: ‘Driving here is like a video game. You just have to relax, stop thinking, and feel it in your stomach’.”

Travel to Namibia, Thailand and Iran and you will find yourself in the deadliest countries when it comes to automobile fatalities. The world average is 18 deaths per 100,000 people. In Namibia it is 45, according to the International Business Times.

China’s driving habits are also legendary.

According to Alert Driving magazine: “Many pedestrians still behave as if the auto revolution in China never happened; wandering aimlessly into crosswalks, darting across eight-lane highways and loitering in traffic medians.”

A great friend of mine, who has operated a business in China for over a decade, recalls when his friend was riding in a cab only to see it strike down and kill a pedestrian. What shocked him more was that when the police arrived no one was arrested or even charged. The Chinese have recognized that there are far too many cars on the road and according to my friend have instituted a $25,000 fee just to register your vehicle in Hong Kong.

Of the 196 countries in the world recognized by the United Nations, Germany is considered one of the most proficient in the driving department. 

According to the online site examiner.com, German drivers must complete serious and expensive training before getting their driver’s licence.

That includes 14 theoretical lessons which teach you things we don’t even have a clue about, like what every little bit of data on a car tire actually means. Then there are the 12 driving lessons you must take before sitting for your final, exhaustive test.

The Germans don’t sound like much fun and you could never imagine them erecting a clevah, sorry, clever, highway sign like the one in Boston.

So feel good about driving in Beantown, (insider slang for Boston) this summer and  “Use yah blinkah,” okay?