Udi Manyak’s Guide to Not Being a Frier Tip #25: Driving Etiquitte

Maybe it’s because I spent most of the day driving doing last-minute errands before I leave for a couple weeks; maybe Shirat HaSirena inspired me with her inaugural post in what promises to be a helluva series on the driving around here.

In any case, I saw some f’d up shit the last couple days. So, I figured I’d come up with a few simple rules that I (obviously) should be practicing:

1. When approaching a traffic light on a multi-lane highway with one or more left turn lane: If the turn lanes are annoyingly backed up, go ahead and block whichever lanes you need to and squeeze in at the front of the line. Observe:


Don’t worry, the people behind you can just dangerously whip out into the quickly moving non-turn lanes (and it’s their fault for not leaving a good 8 or 9 lanes distance between that nasty backed-up turn lane).

2. Further to Rule #1, people behind you don’t really matter. They may not even exist — you’ve read Descartes, haven’t you? If you need to stop to unload something on a small, one-lane street, don’t bother pulling off to the side and lose those critical seconds (and risk being late to your hummus bath and/or matkot practice). Just stop, and take your time:


The only thing more annoying than the guy’s lame excuse for why he’s deliberately blocking traffic here is the incessant honking that ensued as a result. Which brings me to Rule #3…

3. Honk early and often. I can’t stress that enough — nothing helps clear that jammed up commute or moves a stalled car better than honking like a psychopath. Again, the pedestrians to whom its the most jarring and caustic sound possible *may not even exist.* It’s your right, no, your obligation to break the Israeli no-honking-within-city-limits law at least 90,394 times a day. Tel Aviv is a better place because of all your contributions to its colorful soundscape.

4. Never go through with any decision you’ve made in traffic should it prove inconvenient. This one’s a bit more subtle, and I wish I had the sense of mind to photograph the following two examples when they occurred, both in the last 48 hours:

a) If you suddenly realize, halfway through an intersection, that the lane you’re in is — by no fault of your own — a turn lane, go ahead and stop in the middle of the intersection. DO NOT GO THROUGH WITH YOUR TURN. You might have to actually go with the flow of traffic (frier’im!) and turn around where it’s safe to do so: that’s crazy talk.

b) On a highway on-ramp, if you see that the highway you’re entering is backed up, go ahead and put your car in reverse. Do not get on said highway and exit where and when it’s safe to do so. Refer to Rule #2 hummus bath / matkot dilemma. (Yes, I actually saw this on the Yarkon entrance to Road 5)

A lot of time is wasted on safety, and there’s no reason for that. Go with your gut.

5. Turn signals are decorative distractions that automakers, obviously understating the delicate Israeli fashion sense, still put on cars despite their obvious lack of utility.

The correct way to signal a lane change is to put at least 35% of your car in the target lane. DO NOT LOOK when doing this; this communicates indecisiveness. Those that try to make their own highway discos by running those silly blinkers from time to time are to be ignored, and whenever possible, gaps in traffic should be closed wherever you see them should they try to actually get in the lane they’re signaling for.

That’s it for now. Except this: HEY ISRAELI DRIVERS. DO ME A FAVOR AND KISS MY ASS.

7 Responses to Udi Manyak’s Guide to Not Being a Frier Tip #25: Driving Etiquitte

  1. Ummm…but WE’RE now Israeli drivers, aren’t we?

  2. NG says:

    About the honking, I actually noticed something weird shortly after I made Aliyah three years ago. A friend was driving me somewhere, he got cut off by a crazy driver, and I asked him why he didn’t honk. After thinking about it for a few moments, my friend told me that if he’d honked, the other driver would have known that he had succeeded in inconveniencing us, and therefore would develop certain pride at not being a freier, because you can’t be a freier while you are sticking it to someone. Consequently, my friend said, he almost never honks while driving: doing so will just encourage them to drive even worse.

  3. Daniel says:

    I sense some serious passive aggressiveness here … I think I better keep a safe distance before the explosion.

  4. Davida says:

    I would actually argue that all of Israeli culture is based on the avoidance of being a freyer, Driving in this country is the single most terrifying experience I have ever had, and I have it all day long, every day. I’m sure that’s great for my heart.

  5. Pigulim says:

    Absoulutly correct, word for word. Dang, people are stupid.

  6. Chicago Guy says:

    I made aliyah to Chicago from a lesser, midwestern town with very sedate drivers. the rules cited in the article are the same rules I learned — the Chicago driving rules. However, this article lacks the most important Chicago driving rule: if there is the tiniest piece of open road, floor it! You never know when your next chance to speed will come, and what good is a life led unsped?

  7. seeta says:

    i never know when my next chance will come,wat good life will bring 2 me.

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