Driving in Columbia, MO: A Guide

May 9th, 2011

Driving in Columbia, MO is pretty easy. There are a few things to look for though, especially for the Southern Californian driver:

1. Generally, do not make u-turns. The streets are too narrow.
2. Most intersections have a special right-turn lane with a yield sign. They appear to be designed to make watching out for pedestrians easier. Basically if the path is clear of people and no traffic is moving in your way, you don’t really have to stop. Remember, with no u-turns, there is no threat from cars going from right to left!
3. The speed limits are higher than one would assume based on street conditions. Go the speed limit (or slightly faster)! Weeeee.
4. Watch out for people going way slower than the speed limit.
5. If some college kid is crossing the street and he’s not on a crosswalk, just drive around him. He’ll be fine. Stopping to let him through will mess everything up for traffic behind you.
6. But, there are many crosswalks so be aware of pedestrians. Sadly drivers stop for crosswalkers only roughly 70% of the time (made up number), so set a good example.
7. Pass bikes on the left if they’re on the right side of the lane. If they’re taking up the whole lane, you can cross the dotted lane marker to pass. If that’s not possible, hope that they’re turning soon!
8. It’s actually legal to pass on the right if a car is blocking the left half of the lane trying to make a left turn. It’s true! I looked it up.
9. Speaking of passing, the I-70 rules don’t apply in town. Pass other drivers wherever possible and use whichever lane you want.
10. Look out for ridiculous street changes as lanes merge and divide based on nothing but poor city planning. Your lane may end sooner than you expect!
11. A relatively new thing in town is the blinking yellow light for left turn. That’s a yield if the coast is clear.
12. If your car suddenly starts shaking, it’s probably the poor road conditions.
13. Lane dividers are not lined with raised bumps, so in rainy and/or dark conditions it will be very difficult to see the road. Try to follow another car when possible.


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