Friday, September 28, 2007

Stop the honking!

Today I heard from Carla Parks, a transplant who was distressed by a burst of honking she heard in traffic this morning.

She and her husband moved to Myers Park last year after 25 years in Connecticut. Here’s what she wrote:

"I’m a little upset by what I heard this morning at the corner of Selwyn and Queens Road West.

Someone was making a left turn in their black SUV, blocking the ‘thru’ lane on Selwyn, thus stopping traffic in a lane that should be allowed to flow. These things happen, and as I have noted in the past, many people in Charlotte exhibit the patience to wait until the traffic moves again WITHOUT blowing the horn in their car.

As a transplant from the NY Tri-State area, horn blowing was a common occurrence. Drivers blow their horns for the least little thing, and that is the way of life....THERE.

However, I feel that transplants should be reminded that it is NOT the norm in the Charlotte area to be quick on the horn and that local, albeit ‘Southern’ customs should be respected and upheld.

Yes, one of the best things about moving to Charlotte is that there are so many transplants here. However, it is my opinion that transplants need to adopt the charming/patient ways of this new community they have moved into."

It’s interesting that she wrote me with this point today, because I have been working for several weeks now on an article on a related subject that will run in this Sunday’s paper.

I’ve crunched the latest numbers that came out this month from the U.S. Census, and perhaps nobody will be surprised to know that in many parts of this region, transplants outnumber the natives. Thus, the resulting mixture of driving habits, food preferences and accents from all over the country, and the world.

So, what are the implications for our culture? Are we still the South? And what does it mean to be the South these days anyway?

Big questions – I asked newcomers, natives and experts for their views, and even after all that research I’m not sure it’s possible to give a definitive answer. You’ll see my take on Sunday, in conjunction with the publication of Living Here magazine. Meanwhile, I welcome you to post some thoughts here or get in touch.

SUNDAY UPDATE: My article about the changes to our culture published today; Click here to see it. And Living Here magazine is on the streets - its content will be available year-round at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a NC native and agree - QUIT honking, it's really not going to move anybody any faster.
However - also quit being an inconsiderate idiot and blocking lanes of traffic. I've encountered this more and more as people are in such a hurry to pull out and then end up holding up 50-100 other people up with their rudeness.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this cracks me up because i actually was at that intersection this morning and yes I honked but I have lived in the south my whole life and am in no way a yankee. people just need to learn how to drive and follow traffic signals!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Lady from Conneticut; Just wait until they start giving the NEW YORK wave thats the Middle finger to everyone and everybody; Yes Lady its getting more and more aggresive here and not getting better soon.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People living in the South , may they be a YANKEE or whatever, do like to block intersections here. Just wait until LIGHT RAIL comes on line and goes over busy raods. The Train will never be on time lets come to that conclusion.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What light rail???

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe drivers should figure out what lane they need to be in ahead of time or where they are going. I say HONK away until these idiot drivers either figure out where they need to be or stay home.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my best friends is a born and raised in our beautiful Queen City native. He is a very aggressive driver and a major horn honker! He claims it's because he lived for an extensive time in the Bethesda Maryland area and according to him "everyone does it"
Personally I think it's just his nature to be that way.
Usually if I honk my's to wave at someone I know :-)

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying very hard, as a native North Carolinian, to curb my aggressive driving tendencies like blocking traffic and honking, which don't reflect well on my upbringing. I also try to do one nice thing for someone on my commute each morning. I think my blood pressure is lower when I get to work or home now! I do have one pet peeve though - when I'm gracious enough to let someone in traffic, I do wish they'd be considerate enough to wave at me to acknowledge the favor as they pull in front of me. I know that many people have their hands full with their telephones to their ears as they pull into traffic, but it's still nice to get a "thank you."

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a recent transplant and I have to say I'm very grateful for the patience and tolerance for the people of Charlotte. I know how to drive, I'm just usually lost or not familiar with the route and sometimes I'm the one stuck in the wrong lane blocking traffic.

Charlotte street names can be really confusing, lanes end with out much warning, the curved streets are disorienting, and some of the intersections are completely illogical. Maps help, but not always. I'm getting better every day - I like to think people are thinking "bless your heart, another clueless transplant" rather than "rude and inconsiderate idiot"

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its just blowing a horn, don't take it so personally. I'm from NC don't see what the big deal is. You "NATIVES" need to grow up.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people learn how to drive and aren't on their cell phones constantly, not paying attention to the road, they probably won't be honked at. If you are honked at, don't take it personal. A lot of people on this forum have so much built up animosity towards northerners or any other person from another area of the country and I think it makes them look very ignorant and unintelligent. This is coming from a NC native by the way.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit off topic but I use more horn a lot. I am a transplant from CO. I don't honk at other drivers much though; I honk at the runners in the street. I live very near this intersection, but on East Blvd. People seem to think they are entitled to be anywhere in the road. I have seen groups of people jogging on either side of the street making it impossible to traffic to pass without going into the opposite lane of traffic. This morning at 5am I could barely see two joggers running in the street on QRWest, in the dark, in dark clothes, I could only see them from the reflection on their shoes. So no offense guys, but I'm gonna keep using my horn! And yes I looked up the law, pedestrians have no right to be in the road when a sidewalk is provided; when not they are to yield immediately to traffic. I am not a jerk, I believe in sharing the road. These people won’t even go single file when a car approaches. Is this from up north? Or is it just that I live in Dilworth and people feel entitlement?

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on the downtown trolley at lunchtime today. The car in front of the trolley stopped at the traffic signal. Just when the light turned green, the passenger decided to get out. Then he stood on the sidewalk and had a conversation with the car's driver through the passenger window. All this time, the light was green! Our trolley driver showed much patience and restraint and he didn't begin to honk until the light turned yellow and traffic had backed up for two blocks behind us. Talk about being inconsiderate, rude and stupid.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to post something about trying to shove ten pounds of fertilizer into a five pound sack, but decided against it.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha I'm a native. I look at it this way: if you're being a bad driver, someone needs to let you know. I'll gladly volunteer use of my horn if it aggravates the bad driver. Especially if you're a yank. :P

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the horn this morning. My elbow hit it while I was reloading....

3:42 PM  
Blogger Julie Kelly said...

Funny posts. Even in the South, it sounds like that was a valid reason for horn honking. Here are what I consider the Southern rules, and yes I did just make it up:

Honk it if:
-Light is green and person at front of line is not paying attention. Here, though, you don't lay on it, you tap like you're poking them.
-They are currently blocking traffic, and it's not because of car trouble
-They are about to back into you (although this is usually the time you are freaking out too much to remember you have a horn)
-You see someone you know and want to wave (use sparingly)

Don't honk if:
-Someone cut you off or was otherwise a jerk driver, and it's over now
-You see someone you don't know but think is cute
-The person is old or having car trouble and already in a great deal of distress
-Anything that's already happened and you're just mad about
-Anything that no one can do anything about

Charlotte is definitely still the South, but if enough people move in from outside the South, there is always the chance we could end up like Florida.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a native of Charlotte and moved to northern New Jersey in May 2007. I'm sure I will get blasted by other posters for saying this, but driving here is not too different from driving in Charlotte. I used to commute from Lake Norman to south Charlotte every day and had as many near misses there as I have in Jersey on a normal day traveling 287, GSP and NJTP. All in all, Charlotte traffic is changing quickly with all the new people and the city and NC collectively need to get and stay ahead of the game.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a stupid horn! It is on your car for a reason! Grow some kahunas and get over it!

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to love the sound of the horn. Sometimes I just hold my horn down for miles. I think it adds ambience to my daily driving. I think everyone should learn to appreciate a little more horn honking and embrace the sound of the beautiful, man-made horn. Horns are like people. Honda's have a higher pitch, while German cars have a slightly lower, sexier pitch. We all need to embrace diversity.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Southerns are going to rip on "Yankees" about horn honking than you Southerns need to learn how to use your damn turn signals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh!!!!! Why do people move here and think this is some little charming Southern TOWN!? It is a CITY! A fast growing CITY full of lots of different people (like all CITIES)! I just don't get it...

Advice to people moving to Charlotte: You are moving to a fast growing CITY. Move to some crummy town in SC if you want a real Southern small town experience.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leigh Dyer, you are a joke. You need to be fired. You love to start topics that turn into Civil War re-enactments.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does everyone think Southerners are born with halo's around their heads???

People that move here are in a rude awakening if they move here by choice because of the people. People are people everywhere, just with different accents and some love Jesus more than others. Honk when it is necessary, and do not honk when it isn't. It is on your car for a reason. Do not take it so personally.

10:02 AM  
Blogger unicorn1824 said...

Scarlett, that's what reporters are supposed to do.. ask tough questions and force us to think. It's too bad that too many people (in Charlotte and elsewhere) are afraid of a little critical thinking and open debate. Closed minds need to be opened.

So don't diss Leigh... besides, I think she's kind of cute...

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to many Southerners have a CELL PHONE ADDICTIOn; They walk around grocery stores and drive in their monster SUVs with the phone GROWING OUT OF THEIR EARS; Dont they know that CELL PHONES have proven to cause cancer of the brain; Most accidents are caused by cell phone use, and thats a new study coming out by the Government. People can hear anything you are planning and be meet you there and stalk you. The military will tell you never walk the same path twice.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just remember People are permitted to carry guns in their trucks and cars so be careful who you start it up with in Trailer Trash land.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am born and raised in NY. Lived in West Palm, Ft. Laud, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, L.A. and Charlotte.

Charlotte has by FAR the WORSTE drivers I have even encountered PERIOD.
I've been here since 1988 so you cannot blame it on "Yankee" drivers. You "no turn signal", "can't merge to save your life", "confused and ignorant", "got your license for driving a tractor","oohh-I missed my turn- let me now make a right turn from the far left and cut off 3 lanes of traffic for my stupidity"... inbreds need to get the hell off the roads and try walking instead or forever listen to my horn blowing.

IDIOTS !! So damn sick of you fools constantly causing accidents or near misses. Stay off the road.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, born & raised in NY, if you don't like it, pack your bags and get out of town. Clearly you have a superiority complex, and no one here will miss you. Charlotte should welcome those who are open to it. Those who only bitch and complain should remove themselves. You'll do us all a favor in doing so.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The spelling on these blogs are atrocious.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical "pack your bags". Is that the best that you have ?
Read it over again jackass. I've been here for nearly 20 years. I like it. I'm settled here. But that doesn't mean I have to accept or tolerate your crappy driving skills. This city is finally becoming livable due to the influx of people from all areas.
The truth of the matter is that you locals will be the ones moving because you hate anything different from what you are accustomed to.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you crash your car today.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, took the bus today. Another thing us Northerners can do. Beautiful display of Southern hospitality though - gotta love it.

Why not just get down on your knees and pray the whole bus crashes ?

10:09 AM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Whoa, everybody. Can't we all just get along? Seriously, is traffic really worth all this anger? I'm about to start deleting comments. More importantly, this post was not so much about traffic as it was about whether there are still regional differences in the South. I guess these comments show there are, but seriously, put a muzzle on the mean-spiritedness or I'll do it for you. --Your blog administrator

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Leigh,

I just got so fed up with the lousy driving that I started taking the bus just to be rid of the stress.
It still gets me though when I occasionally get out there in the car. It's just plain pathetic.
When I almost smash into some idiot crossing 3 lanes of traffic at a snails pace when the rest of the lanes are doing 55 mph I take it personally. If you miss your exit folks - too bad - get off at the next one and circle back.
This type of stuff happens daily in this city. No wonder there are so many wrecks.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Leigh,

When are you going to get access up into the Avenue condo project. It's almost complete. Residents start moving in end of Oct.

We want pictures :-)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Leigh said...

That's in the works!

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hearing "don't take it personally".

I ask: Why should I not take it personally? Some people have much bigger "cojones" behind the wheel of an SUV than they do in person. If someone standing in a line at McDonald's didn't notice that the line had moved, and stood there idly for a few seconds, would you scream at the top of your lungs for them to get the #$%! out of the way?

Of course not. You'd be a civilized adult and tap them on the shoulder or clear your throat to let them know to move up. That's what adults do; they don't pitch a fit like a whiny brat who can't wait an extra second.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crappy drivers are everywhere. Whenever someone moves to ANY city, they say "Wow people here can't drive, don't use signals, can't merge, etc....". Guess what? People probably say that about you too. The loudest complainers are usually culprits themselves.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong Buddy. 43 years old and not ONE single accident. Perfect driving record. So take that and stick it in your .................

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I don't use my horn, how will the soccer mom with the phone to her ear while she's yelling at her 5 kids in the back seat of the SUV know that her turn signals don't work?

10:12 AM  

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