This article was last modified on November 20, 2003.

Ghetto Driving: A Beginner’s Guide to a Growing Trend

Perhaps you have seen them, holding up traffic and billowing smoke from their windows? But most likely you didn’t see them at all because they sit too low in their seats to be seen properly with the untrained eye. You know who they are – ghetto drivers – and now you want to be one of them. Fear not, for I will now enlighten you by sharing the secrets of my ghetto driving prowess.

So, Just What is Ghetto Driving?

Ghetto driving is the sport of driving as if you were in the ghetto, although it is quite obvious that you are not. It requires the driver to maintain a slower than average speed, with reclined seating and proper hand grip to get the feeling right. Not just anyone can pull this off, but with a little luck and some practice you can be one of the few, the proud, the mighty.

The origins of ghetto driving remain a mystery. Intense investigative research have traced the sport’s humble beginnings to the suburbs of Northeastern Wisconsin and the first recorded sightings seem to be the mid-1990s. Just who the genius behind this sport is (or was), the world may never know.

Proper Vehicle

Ghetto driving can be done in any vehicle of the driver’s choice. The idea is to make it look as if you were driving a “sweet ride” such as a classic Impala. For the visuals of what the ideal car looks like, it is recommended that you keep in mind the pimp’s car from the Clint Eastwood classic “Magnum Force”.

It is actually better to be driving something which is far removed from the actual visual. While it is classier to flow in a low rider, the stares you’ll get from onlookers will be much more enjoyable if you are in a coupe car or perhaps a Volkswagon. Trucks are not as effective due to their overpowering size, but there is no particular reason that ghetto driving could not be done in one.

To my knowledge, no one has ever successfully attempted to ghetto drive a bicycle or motorcycle, but the potential for mass mayhem clearly exists. You could be the wet dream of all the girls in the middle school with this technique.

Modifications to Fit the Mood

There is only one modification that need be done to the car in order to ghetto drive. (Speed and Music are not modifications and will be discussed below.) This is in the angle of the seat. To properly ghetto drive, one must be leaning back in their seat flat against the upholstery. To test the position of the seat, stretch your arm to its fullest length and rest it on the steering wheel. It is correct if either your wrist or the knuckles closest to the fingertips rest on the steering wheel. It has been found that an angle of between One-twenty and One-fifty degrees seems to work well for most people. Shorter people may need to move the seat back for the effect, and tall people may have to sit in the back seat.

If your wrist rests on the steering wheel, you want to go limp from wrist to to fingertips, steering with the bottom of the wrist only. This gives a relaxed appearance that is so crucial to ghetto driving. Caution: This method does not allow for a firm grip and may cause problems in the event of sharp turns or evasive maneuvering. Luckily, most ghetto drivers are unconcerned with turning.

If you fingertips rest on the wheel, place your little (pinky) finger and your index finger on top of the wheel and curl them. Allow the other fingers to dangle as much as possible. This grip is much tighter and gives a better turning radius while still portraying the “I don’t give a shit” look. With both methods, it is not important which arm you use – adjust for comfort. (I find my right arm is more comfortable, although the left allows me to save the right for adjusting the radio.)

An option for those of you who smoke: try smoking. The proper way to smoke is as follows: crack the window very slightly so as to allow the smoke out only in small amounts. Keep the cigarette pressed between your lips at all times, breathing out of the corner of your mouth. You will be unable to ash, and the debris will fall on your shirt. This is exactly what you want. You cannot possibly look more relaxed and unconcerned than the ghetto driver with the three-inch hunk of ashen tobacco hanging from his mouth.

Proper Attire

There is no proper attire for ghetto driving. While I could recommend leisure suits and Robin Hood caps, these items are wholly unnecessary. I knew of a man who once went ghetto driving entirely nude. This is well within the guidelines of proper game etiquette.

Recommended Speed

Speed is one of the primary ways to identify Ghetto Drivers. The only other people who drive like this are elderly people as they’re crashing through your local farmer’s market. The maximum speed any driver should go is the posted speed limit. It is even better to go five or ten m.p.h. under the posted limit, because people will blare their horns at you and look at just how cool you are – becoming envious and then even more upset!!

Ghetto driving is not recommended on the freeway. While there is no real danger in reclining, it is unwise to go under the speed limit where people have a tendency to travel fifteen or twenty miles over the posted limit. Accidents tend to occur more frequently on freeways because you cease to be an amusement and become simply an obstacle. You don’t want to be the obstacle they avoid as they cut off that sewage tanker or the short bus full of mental retards drooling all over themselves.

Recommended Locale

I have already mentioned the preference for city streets over freeways, but where is a good location in general?

The suburbs are by far the best location. It is easily to explain why this choice makes sense by eliminating the other possible choices.

Large city: Like the freeway, people tend to drive fast and you become more of an obstacle than anything else. And in large cities, people carry guns.

Rural: One of the ideas behind ghetto driving is to be spotted by other ghetto drivers. In rural territory, you’re unlikely to be spotted by anyone other than cud-chewing bipeds.

The Ghetto: The ghetto already has enough people ghetto driving, they don’t need your help. Also, these people tend to have the same guns they have in the large city. And unlike the metropolitan thugs, these people want your hubcaps.

Music Choices

No music is preferable to any other. You might consider “ghetto music” to get yourself in the mood, but this is not mandatory. Hard rock works, polka works, and even talk radio works. The only real objection is country, which tends to be too depressing for the sport – which is meant to be uplifting. Punk music works great to set the mood, although you may find it difficult to keep a slow pace with such up-tempo beats. (This clashing of speeds might add to your experience if you’re willing to try.)

When is the Best Time?

There is only one time to engage in this sport: Ghetto Driving Tuesdays. This day has been set aside so that once a week all the ghetto drivers can show off just how suave they are on the North American asphalt. Other days of the week are right out.

Tuesday begins when you wake up on Tuesday and ends when you go to sleep. Therefore, if you stay til bar close, you may still ghetto drive home if you’re sober enough. This is not yet Wednesday and is still fair game for that last minute indulgence.


You are now ready to be the professional ghetto driver you’ve always wanted to be!!!

Also try another article under Miscellaneous
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

One Response to “Ghetto Driving: A Beginner’s Guide to a Growing Trend”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Bad ass site bro. Good work.

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