Do’s and Don’ts of Rhode Island Driving

Now that I have been in Rhode Island for half a year, I will let you know what it is like here. I will begin by telling you about the driving habits and manners of Rhode Island drivers. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts


  • Just go around a car on the right if it is turning left. This is actually in the Rhode Island driver’s handbook. It keeps from blocking traffic as it is very common here not to have a left turn lane. The interesting thing is that cars will actually pull as close to the center line as possible when turning left to allow cars behind them to go around.
  • Reverse the right of way when someone is turning out of the driveway or side road that you want to turn into. Instead of turning in and then letting them turn out, it is very common to let them leave the driveway first. Maybe this began because many driveways are quite narrow, but it seems to be more of a courtesy now because this is practiced even with wide driveways.
  • Make more room for cars if there is an interference with traffic on the other side of the road. If there is a police car or a telephone truck on one side of the road, each car in oncoming traffic will move over slightly on the shoulder to give room for both streams of traffic to have adequate space to get around the construction, etc.
  • Drive Slowly. The speed limit is 25mph within city limits! This one is still taking some time to get used to. I was used to going 35 minimum in Tennessee, and my foot seems to have adjusted to the faster minimum speed limit. In the past I remedied my heavy foot syndrome by setting cruise, but our cruise won’t work below 30!
  • Expect bumpy roads that hold water when it rains. This one really bothered me at first, but now I am realizing how nice it is not to have to deal with Tennessee’s state mascot – the construction barrel


  • Don’t hesitate if you are turning left and have no left signal. Many times I have seen a left turner book it when the light turned green. It seems to be accepted and actually expected behavior because drivers who are going straight actually pause long enough to allow it. Unfortunately, there seems to be a limited window of opportunity for this expected behavior that I have missed quite a few times.
  • Don’t honk your horn. It wasn’t until someone honked at me the other day that I realized that a car had not honked at me since moving (except in New York)! I actually almost changed lanes on top of someone (accidentally of course), and they didn’t even honk then! They just slowed down and let me in!
  • Don’t go blind looking for non-existent road signs. There seem to be certain areas that do not advertise what road you are on or the intersecting roads. Some areas have neither, some have one or the other, and occasionally you will find an area that has both the road you are on and intersecting roads.
  • Don’t assume no one will go behind you as you are backing out – even if you are over half way out. I guess I am used to people beign afraid to go behind a car if they merely have their reverse lights on. It has shocked me several times to have a car zoom behind me as I was backing out!
  • Don’t go the wrong way. Here in RI, we have rotaries. These are intersections where everyone coming into the intersection turns right and goes in a circle until they come to the road they want to turn onto. If you want to go straight, you still have to go around the rotary. If you want to turn left, it can be a bit confusing b/c you have to turn right and go all the way around. this is really a neat idea; it just takes a little getting used to.

Blogged with Flock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *