Have you been thinking about travelling to North Carolina (or indeed he wider United States) but have been put off by the thought of driving on the notorious American road system? Fear not! I’ve put together a list of the basics of driving in the state of North Carolina and present it here for your help and guidance. Disclaimer: This list has been based on extensive and detailed observations carried out over a period of four hours. On one day. In August.
Here we go!
- You need a truck. If you don’t have a truck don’t even think about entering the state. Ideally your truck should have an even number of wheels (not including the spare) but if you have one of the larger models with four wheels on the back axle only three of these need to be functional for you to legally drive around.
- Your truck needs to be big. This is really important. If you can climb into the back of your truck without a ladder your truck is not big enough. Your status in NC is judged based on the size of your truck…so the less successful you are in life he bigger it need to be. Just got fired from your job? Get a bigger truck. Partner split up with you? Bigger truck. Just committed an armed robbery and about to be chased by he cops live on the evening news? Oh boy, you’re gonna need one of those special super-sized trucks with a triple back axle.
- You need to be carrying something appropriate in the back of your truck. Farm equipment or a boat is allowed but, if you really want to get noticed, carrying a smaller truck that’s in a state of dis-repair will gain you extra kudos.
- The roof of your truck is an additional storage area. Use it to carry beds, mattresses, other items of furniture or, indeed, children on a sofa. The only legal requirement is that you’ve at least thought about load-strapping it all down.
- The back bumper of your truck is your own personal advertising hoarding. Use it well. Signs stating how many people are travelling in the truck (and how important they are) and how much you love your truck are pretty basic really. To get to the premier league you should have a series of contradictory religious and political statements as well as a state flag, American flag, information about how powerful your truck is and a humorous anecdote (in italics) about non-truck drivers. A license plate is optional.
- You need a large mobile phone. This is mandated by state law. You have two hands when driving and one of them needs to be clamped to your phone at all time. Taking selfies while driving through a busy intersection is a must (‘YOLO’) and having an angry conversation with someone on the phone while simultaneously trying to take a picture of the ‘a-hole’ in the smaller truck who just cut you up is also an important skill.
- Cigar. You need to ensure you’re always smoking a cigar. (This was news to me but a surprising number of drivers in NC seem to be smoking cigars. I guess it gives you something to do with the hand you’re not using for your phone.)
- The number of large sodas contained in your truck needs to obey the rule N=H+2 (where N is the number of sodas you should have you have and H is the number of soda holders your truck actually contains). The sodas should be of the biggest size provide by the gas station and should be filled with mostly ice. You should hold one of the additional sodas in your spare hand (the one not being used for texting or the cigar) and balance the other one between your legs. You may need to move your laptop onto the passenger seat to accomplish this but, as long as you relocate the mini-microwave to the floor this should be ok. You don’t need to worry about what happens if you need to brake as all traffic lights in NC are advisory only.
- You need to find an appropriate collection of country music songs and always have them playing whenever you’re in your truck. Loudly. The country songs should ideally be about trucks, the loss of a truck, why a truck is needed or an event that happened in a truck.
- You should set your driving seat as low as it can goes. Preferably only the top of your head should be visible to anyone who looks into your truck. There’s no need to look at the road directly in front of your truck as that’s what fenders are for.
- Finally you need to ensure that your truck has never seen any form of maintenance, ever. Before you set off you should walk round your truck and check that none of the rear indicators are functional. At least one of the brake lights should be broken and you don’t need to worry about the reversing light as a true truck driver will never back away from anything. As a contrast, you need to ensure that as many lights as possible are affixed to the front of your truck. These should be primarily white but can be accompanied by bright blue spots or orange strips. The intensity of the lights on the front of your truck should be such that any deer that wanders into your path is incinerated long before you get to it.
And there you go! Simple. I wish you all the best in your attempts to drive round NC and expect to see you being chased on the evening news before the weekend is out.