So, let’s say that you are one of the folks who have decided to stay on the islands this winter. You have spent the last half year here already after escaping the mainland and its unpleasant realities. Now that you are settled in and autumn is upon us, you no longer fit into either of the categories of tourist or summer-time resident. Now you will want to become a helpful participant in the fabric of the winter population. I feel obliged to give you some advice in this regard. Let’s start off with something simple and straight forward. Let’s look at driving on the Vineyard in the off-season.

Don’t be in such a big hurry. If you find that the other vehicles on the Island roads always seem to be making you late, get out of bed a half hour earlier. Don’t tailgate. It just slows down the vehicle ahead as they attempt to keep an eye on you in the rear-view mirror to make sure that if you try to do something silly, like pass on the double yellow line, that they can get out of your way. Imagine how late you will really be if you have an accident.

Especially don’t tailgate trailers. We like to pull boats on trailers that are years beyond retirement and only stay together because we have promised the gods that this is absolutely the last time that we will venture out on the highway with it. Don’t tailgate equipment trailers. We don’t like to waste valuable work time securing machines or lumber. You will want to be a witness rather than a participant when our luck runs out and large objects tumble onto the road.

Don’t tailgate dump trucks. We like to load them to within a pound of the absolute limit of the steel molecules remaining in their rusty frames. If a big truck is waiting to pull out of a side street, stop to give them a chance to get out. They will appreciate it and you will earn some good karma. It’s a golden opportunity to change a local truck driver’s attitude towards those orange license plates.

Fall back a little when a vehicle has its right turn signal on. Refrain from zooming past as soon as it slows down. It may have to swing over into the left lane in order to line up with a narrow driveway. Or it may have to stop suddenly if someone is coming out of that driveway.

The mopeds that you see on the roads now will not be joyriding day trippers. They are hard-working folks saving up to buy a vehicle so that they can one day ride in heated comfort just like you. They have enough on their minds without having to worry about you saving three seconds by squeezing past with oncoming traffic.

Just remember, it’s an Island. Driving ten miles an hour faster only gets you from Morning Glory Farm to Alley’s two minutes sooner. If two minutes makes or breaks your schedule for the day, you might have made the wrong choice about staying the winter.