HOUSTON TRAFFIC RULES FOR PEOPLE VISITING DURING SUPER BOWL XXXVIII, FEBRUARY 1, 2004 1. You must learn to pronounce the name of the city. It is "Hue-stun," not "Ewe-ston," and definitely not "How-ston." The street named San Felipe is pronounced "San fe-LEE-pay," not "San Fi-LEEP" or "San Fay-LEE-pee." 2. Forget any traffic rules you learned anywhere else. Houston has its own version of traffic rules. They are called "Hold On And Pray." There is no such thing as a high-speed chase in Houston. We all drive like that. 3. All directions start with "Go down to Loop 610," which has no beginning and no end. 4. You don't have to wait for an exit to get off the freeways. Just follow the ruts in the grass to the frontage road like everyone else. This is how Houston residents notify the Texas Department of Transportation where exits should have been built in the first place. 5. You have the East, Katy, Southwest, North, South, Northwest, and Eastex freeways, which are actually I-10 East, I-10 West, 59 North, 59 South, I-45 North, I-45 South, and 290, but not in that order. Your job is to figure out which one you really want to get on, without any signs to tell you. God help you if you are in the wrong lane, or you will go around Loop 610 again, which is an endless circle. 6. When in doubt, remember that all unmarked exits lead to the state of Louisiana. 7. WHATEVER YOU DO - DO NOT go down to Sugarland and speed even 1 m.p.h. over the limit or forget to wear your seatbelt - you WILL be ARRESTED and taken to jail for a full body search - no questions, no attorney and your family will never hear from you again. 8. The Houston Chamber of Commerce calls getting through traffic "a scenic drive." It is if you love seeing wrecks and people risking their lives changing tires, running through potholes, slamming on your brakes to avoid a collision, having people cut you off, seeing a lot of people's middle fingers, and exhaust fumes. 9. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The noon-hour rush is 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The evening rush hour is 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., sometimes 9:00 p.m. (or 3 a.m. during floods, which we call "ponding"). The teenagers take the streets from 9:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m., and Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning. 10. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you WILL be rear ended, or at least cussed out, and/or possibly shot. When you are the first off the starting line, count to 5 before moving when the light turns green, to avoid being "T-boned" by crossing traffic. 11. Construction on every freeway, loop, and toll way in the city is a permanent form of entertainment as well as a source of delays. 12. Kuykendahl Road can be pronounced ONLY by a native Houstonian. (It is pronounced "Kirk-n-doll.") 13. All unexplained smells are accompanied by the phrase "Oh, we must be near Pasadena." 14. If someone actually has his turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect and should be ignored. 15. All Suburbans and Hummers have the right-of-way, unless you are driving an 18-wheeler or perhaps a Bradley tank. 16. The minimum acceptable speed limit on Loop 610 is 85 mph. Otherwise, you will be stopped by Houston's Finest for impeding the flow of traffic. 17. The wrought-iron bars on windows in East Houston are NOT ornamental. 18. Never look at the driver of a car with a bumper sticker that says, "Keep honking. I'm reloading." In fact, don't honk at anyone. 19. If you are in the left lane, and going only 70 mph in a 60 mph zone, the people who are passing you are not really waving at you. 20. If it is 100 degrees outside, then Valentines Day must be next weekend. 21. The Sam Houston Toll Road is Houston's daily version of a NASCAR race. 22. Don't get on Main Street unless you really WANT to be on Main Street. Left turns and right turns are not allowed between the South Loop and Dallas (that's Dallas, Texas, not Dallas Street). 23. Don't get sick or injured. There are no parking spaces in the Texas Medical Center for anyone but doctors. Y'ALL ENJOY YOUR STAY IN HOUSTON, AND COME BACK REAL SOON NOW, Y'HEAR? The funniest part of all is how many people will think this is a joke. It's not, I assure you.