First of all, we have big interestates. Big. We like'em big. The reason for this is that there are a lot of us. Here is an example, I live in a surburb that has, officially, 11,000 residents. On the little two lane road in front of my son's school - THIRTEEN THOUSAND CARS PASS BY every day.
So, we need a lot of roadway.
The most important thing you can do when travelling in Atlanta is know what the lane you are in MEANS.
We'll start from the far right - assuming it's an 16 lane high way - 8 lanes on each side. (There is flexibility on this throughout the city, but you can just remove center lanes and the rules on either side still apply!)
- Far Right Lane - THIS LANE IS A TRAP! It will turn into an exit lane without notice. Ok that's not true. There will be a lot of signs telling you that this is going to happen. But you aren't going to SEE these signs because you are WAY busy freaking out that you are IN ATLANTA OMG YOU ARE IN ATLANTA DON'T LET US DIEEEEEE! Get out of the far right lane unless you intend to exit iminently.
- Next to the Far Right Lane - This is a good lane for you out of out of towners. It's a bit slow and does have a lot of back and forth traffic of those who DO know what exit they way. On second thought, move left one lane.
- Third from the Far Right - This is probably a better lane. You have got to roll with the crowd though, and that'll mean 10+ mph over the speed limit. However, you can get into this lane pretty safely and just drive.
- Fourth from the Far Right - A lane also for people going about 10 MPH over the speed limit or so. Again, roll with the traffic's speed and you'll survive. Just keep swimming swimming swimming. You'll start to get some people lane jumping in the lane. People looking for that magic window of space that will allow them to jump miles and miles with the touch of their accelerator. Be aware of them. This lane is NOT full on a-hole but you are edging up to it.
- Fourth from the Far Left- You are edging into a-hole-ville now big time. You're driving faster and you have aggressive passing all around you. People will go left and right and back again without a thought. Use your mirrors and THE FORCE. Both of these things will serve you well.
- Third from the Far Left - This lane is driving fast and very very aggressive. Why are you in it? GET OUT. You don't belong here. This is where the natives drive. We don't want you in this lane anyway. You're scared, you're driving too slow and you are too scared to read the traffic warning signs anyway. Move over two lanes NOW.
- Second from the Far Left - THIS IS FULL ON MAD MAX. No one will care if they hit you. Motocyclists will not care if they hit you. Immediately exit this lane.
- Far Left Lane is either MAD MAX ON CRACK - and really, do I need to explain that? Or H0V lane. I don't know what H0V stands for, but I know that it's the carpool lane. What that means is that you need two people, and then everyone just drives as fast as hell. We pretend that there aren't speed limits but there are. Also, if you don't drive really fast, we'll drive up on your bumper and GLARE AT YOU and consider what you would taste like deep fried until you move.
So there you have it.
Stay in the center. Go with the traffic. And for god's sake. Quit looking at the map while you drive. You look like a dork.