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Opinion Column: A Wyoming driving guide

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 9th, 2013

This is an excerpt from a larger volume called The Out-of-Staterís Guide to Living in Wyoming, written by Wyoming folks for non-Wyoming folks.

If you, out-of-stater, decide to come visit, or, God forbid, live, in our beautiful state, there are some things you need to know before you hit our roads.

You see, weíd love to have you go visit Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This gives us the best of both worlds. You pump tourism dollars into our economy, and youíll leave the rest of our beautiful state (the parts that havenít been annexed by the prying fingers of Uncle Sam) alone.

And donít bring up Jackson, any real cowboy knows that place is about as far from Wyoming as you can get.

Now, hopefully, visitor, you get in your rental car, head to the parks for a few days and promptly get out. If you do not leave immediately, though, at least drive correctly.

Here are some rules that most Wyomingites will follow statewide; our youth memorize these rules at 12, 14 or whatever age our younger residents feel like driving at.

1) Buy a truck. Look, wuss, if you want to drive a Prius or another small car, you can just stay on I-80 and head west to California. If thatís too far, Iím sure those Colorado hippies would love to share their legalized marijuana and pretty mountains with you.

And not only should you drive a truck, preferably with a big diesel engine, but you should gun it every time you make a standard turn onto a side street. If the whole neighborhood doesnít know youíre turning onto the road based on the sound of the engine, then youíre not doing it right. You should be going zero to 20 mph in record time, spewing as much exhaust into the air as possible, every single turn.

We DO NOT care to hear your music, especially if itís not country-Western, but we should hear your truck.

2) Never, ever use a turn signal. Any Wyoming vehicle, upon adopting a license plate on the front and rear of the vehicle adorned with the glorious silhouette of Steamboat, has disconnected turn signals. You wonít find it in formal state law, but look deeply enough, and itís there.

This is an important rule. You see, we Wyoming folks donít take too kindly to the Feds telling us what to do, and using a turn signal is just another way for the man to track us. Itís no oneís business where youíre going, so donít tell them.

3) Use all your lights. The second you see signs of darkness, you need to turn on the high-beams in your truck. Then turn on your fog lights. If your car doesnít have fog lights, buy some. Also, buy the brightest variety of each light possible.

There are a whole lot of deer, elk, pronghorn and moose in this state, and theyíre just waiting for you to drive by so they can jump out in front of you.

Disregard any cars in the other lane. Theyíre probably a tourist anyway, and as long as you have the biggest, baddest truck out there (see No. 1), you donít have to worry about their lights hitting your eyes. If you are the guilty type (weak), just turn them off when theyíre about 100 yards from your front bumper and closing fast. This should protect you from the destructive, trouble-making wildlife.

4) Never be in a rush, unless they want to pass you. Here in Wyoming, we move our own pace.This should be kept in mind whenever pulling onto any road where the speed limit is 45 mph or higher.

As long as you wonít t-bone the oncoming car, go ahead and make that right-hand turn at your own pace. Remember the rules; he or she has got to slow down for you! Not vice versa!

If youíve got a trailer or something else youíre hauling, thatís no problem, either. Just pull on out.

Now, most of our roads and highways are single lane with a dotted line in the middle. Go your own speed, but donít let that Colorado, Utah or Nebraska plate show you up. As soon as the coast is clear and they try to pass you, gun that diesel engine! Nobody just ups and passes Steamboat like that! What are these people in such a rush for, anyhow?

Now, this is only a beginnerís introduction. See future editions for further instructions, or you can purchase the imaginary out-of-staterís guide at no bookstore, anywhere. Stay safe on those wintry roadways, and always remember to drive like a Wyomingite.

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