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    At the same time, there are limits of “following local minhagim”. If you feel that you have to be a rude person because everyone around you are, you need to follow Rambam and Chazon Ish and move to the desert, even if your place overflow with learning. Derech Eretz kodma l’Torah. Makes no sense to try a harder class before you mastered the prerequisite.


    If driving customs are based on local minhagim, how is anyone not from the area to know what the local driving customs are, given that there are thousands of different jurisdictions in the United States alone, with most people coming from any one particular area but potentially driving through many other areas outside their own town or city.

    Avram in MD


    I think we are in agreement re: the driving digression, except for one point:

    “If you feel that you have to be a rude person because everyone around you are, you need to follow Rambam and Chazon Ish and move to the desert”

    My contention is that New York drivers may not feel they are being rude, though drivers outside of the city and environs perceive the rushed, aggressive decisiveness of NY-style driving as rude. That’s why I half-jokingly suggested you could produce some pamphlets to teach NYers about the local driving customs.

    Avram in MD


    “If driving customs are based on local minhagim, how is anyone not from the area to know what the local driving customs are”

    There’s no way to know, and it’s almost impossible for a driver in an unfamiliar area to completely “go with the flow” and not cause any annoyance. But there are some broad generalizations that can be made:
    1. Nowhere else in the US is driving quite like it is in the NYC metro. So NYers should in general when outside of the NYC metro should give extra space between their vehicle than others (perceived as aggressive), try to avoid changing lanes into tight spaces (perceived as cutting off), avoid quick maneuvers like fast and sudden U-turns (perceived as scary), and accept the fact that OOTers have a slightly slower reaction speed to light changes (they’re not intentionally trying to harm you).
    2. Driving is a bit more NY-like inside big Northern cities and parts of South FL (DC, Baltimore, Philly, Boston, Chicago, Miami), but less so in bigger Southern cities (Orlando, Atlanta, St. Louis).
    3. For OOT drivers going into NYC, stay alert and even-keeled, and say some tehillim. Short honks are more like communication than rudeness (hey I’m here, ooh guess what the light’s green!). And pedestrians in NYC can chew off metal bumpers.


    Avram, Philly is really a bit NY-like? It’s been a long time since I was there, but I believe it was in suburban Philadelphia where we were behind more than a handful of cars waiting for the light, and when it went green the car in front for some reason took almost 30 seconds to start moving. And not a single car blew their horn. They all waited like they had all the time in the world. It impressed me so much I still remember it decades later.


    Good questions, all. I think there is a boundary somewhere between different minhagim within derech eretz and amhaartzuts. We have gemoras dealing with things like drinking a reviis (not one gulp and not three, Beitza ~ 25), someone should write same for driving. One good place to start is US gov highway survey, do not remember exact name, where they installed cameras in 1000s of cars and then analyzed what was causing accidents. One result: number of sharp stops is a good predictor of accidents.

    Maybe, look at accident rates per county v. population density and see where safer drivers live. Obviously, the fact that you live a dangerous place is not an excuse but a reason to be even safer there.


    NYC is a place apart. So, if you are interested in America and have $20, drive across the bridge from our island coungtry.

    I once interviewed with Anderson Consulting O’H, and they asked me which of the 2 departments I am interested in – (1) NYC (2) the rest of the world – requirements are very different, you can’t go for both! I chose non-NYC and manners were appalling even there …


    It seems like those that do not dress yeshivish, make a bigger deal about it than those who do.

    It just a silly hat. Let him wear it. Without critiquing every aspect of his life. Who cares?


    For those that are denigrating the so-called dress code of the yeshiva velt it would do to keep in mind that all in-groups have a dress code. If you live outa town and wear pointy dainty black shoes on shabbos then you are the odd one out. if you’re a tech guy and wear a suit, high schooler with a button-down shirt, and so on. We as humans need a way of externally communicating where we belong, hence the levush. Those individuals that ignore the in-group dress code are either oblivious and therefore treated differently or super confidant if one is neither they should try to fit in and belong to whichever group they find themselves in. IN conclusion, charles trywitt and some basic loafers should do it.

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