There are several ways to sail through a traffic light like a true Detroiter. This is a how-to guide for drivers.

Whether you are new to Detroit or just visiting, these tips will help you operate your vehicle like a seasoned professional, navigating the streets of the Motor City with a true local’s disregard for “traffic laws” that might apply outside the city limits.

Note: This guide should not be read as an endorsement of Detroiting traffic lights or ignoring traffic laws. Please use the following list for entertainment purposes only.

Scenario 1: Accelerate through a long yellow. Speed up as you approach a yellow light from a distance. No big deal if you run a red; if you brake too early on a yellow light with traffic behind you, you are liable to be rear-ended by your tailgater, who intends to Detroit the light, too.

Scenario 2: Accelerate towards a red light, assuming it will turn green before you arrive at the intersection. This scenario is especially common late at night or in low-traffic situations. As you approach a red light, wait as long as possible to slam on your brakes, watching for it to turn green. If you are feeling especially bold, slow down a little and check the intersection for traffic. If there is no one in the vicinity, sail through the light, disregarding its present color. Congratulations, you just successfully Detroited that light!

Scenario 3: Sneak by on the right. Whether other cars are stopped at a red light or just traveling more slowly than you (e.g. at or near the speed limit), a good option to maintain your current speed and bypass dawdlers is to employ the far right lane, especially if that lane is usually used by parked cars. This can be considered a high-traffic version of Scenario 2. Bonus points if your subwoofers are bumping while you pass.

Scenario 4: Prioritize your turn. You approach a red light, planning to turn. Unfortunately, there is a car in the designated turn lane which has not yet completed its turn.  Fortunately, for a Detroiter any open lane can be used as an alternate turn lane. Pull up alongside the car and if it does not turn by the time you arrive at the intersection, simply pull around in front of it, completing your planned turn. A true Detroiter never waits. Another intersection, another successfully Detroited light!

Note: This guide should not be read as an endorsement of Detroiting traffic lights or ignoring traffic laws. Please use the preceding tips for entertainment purposes only.

a traffic light, Detroit intersection

Detroit this light!                          photo by lindspetrol (flickr) CC BY-ND 2.0


This pie chart I made in library school is still remarkably accurate.

a pie chart

under construction

Posted: June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

I decided it was time for a new blog iteration. A couple of years of dormancy has a way of making a wordpress theme look positively antique.