POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 30, 2012
Question: As the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to turn, we get a lot of tourists in rural Vermont, where I live. And they drive us nuts. Instead of stopping and getting out of their cars to take pictures, they simply drive at a snail’s pace so they can take photo after photo from the comfort of their seat.
Now, I know the leaves are beautiful, and I am all for travelers coming to see them, but those of us who live around here sometimes can’t avoid driving on these same roads to go to work, or to the grocery store, or to take our kids to the doctor. I just want to remind everyone that if you’re going foliage-viewing, please drive at a normal pace and pull over when you want to take pictures.
Answer: Well said. I grew up in New England, and you’re absolutely right: If you have to go somewhere that requires you to take a scenic rural road on a sunny Saturday afternoon in fall, you’d better leave ridiculously early, because the traffic can rival rush hour in Boston.
I agree that travelers should pull over to take photographs rather than drive significantly below the speed limit, but they need to pull over in safe places. Most popular scenic highways have designated lookout spots where you can do this, but if there isn’t one, at least make sure you can pull completely off the road, especially if the traffic behind you is coming into a curve. Finally, thank you for saying “foliage-viewing” instead of “leaf-peeping,” which has to be the most irritating travel-related phrase in the English language.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.