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Old 06-15-2010, 02:11 PM
 
Location: 'Murica
1,302 posts, read 2,344,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conando View Post
I think driving in LA is simple as long as you maintain a balance of patience and aggressiveness.
That's a best advice to take, really. Your patience will be worn thin if you're not aggressive enough, and road rage will get the best of you if you're too aggressive.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:24 PM
 
1,964 posts, read 4,429,284 times
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I don't know how much experience you've got driving on the East Coast, but LA drivers are downright civilized compared to those in Boston or NYC. Lanes do not exist in those cities! If there's space, cars will cut in, whether in front or back or on the sides. Here in the Southland most ppl don't tailgate and they do use their turn signals for the most part. And there's always going to be near misses with 2 cars merging into the same lane just because C-pillars & blindspots have gotten so big. My biggest peeve is the snail-pace crawl of rush-hour traffic, especially heading eastward from downtown.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:26 PM
 
1,443 posts, read 2,843,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ca_north View Post
After visiting the basin for two days, and having to drive all the way from Santa Monica to Indio, I don't see how people can deal with the constant threat of crashes in daily commutes. I was in high adrenaline mode the whole time and felt trapped on those evil skyways (mostly 10 & 101). Having a manual transmission didn't make it any easier, with so much energy needed just to dodge all the weavers.

With Sacramento and the Bay Area as references, I have never seen so many reckless idiots in that density of traffic. Even without the speeding pimped BMWs and SUVs, there was a sense of imminent disaster if one deft maneuver happened to fail. I counted dozens of situations where if a single person hadn't been looking, a crash would have happened. Lots of half lane changes, where someone had to swerve back to their original lane in a split second. Crazy motorcyclists doing lane splitting like a ski slalom. Brakes being slammed on at the last second, etc. And it went on for hours! Hard to imagine anyone much over 65 having the motor skills or alertness to cope with it.

Several times I thought I was seeing the front end of a police chase, with two clowns being pursued. They hit about 90 MPH, knowing full well they'd have to slow in a hurry. No respect for other's lives.

How do long-time drivers deal with the random chaos of that overpopulated quagmire? I was thinking of Koyaanisqatsi the whole way. The fact that so many freeways are elevated adds to the claustrophobia, as if you'll be sent flying over the edge somehow. And if you get off at the wrong exit, you're thrown into a maze of surface streets without the usual easy on/off ramps in many CA cities. Driving on many surface streets is hairy, too.

Some a-hole in a newer RX-7 tried to pass me on the right in my own turn lane, downtown, then went zooming off in front of me at easily 65 MPH, as if he hadn't just put both our lives at risk. The street must have had a 40 MPH limit tops. I saw a nasty crash aftermath on 101, and always had the feeling mayhem could hit at any second. Rain or fog must inspire sheer terror among the risk-conscious. I couldn't wait to get free of that sick metropolis in one piece. The only thing that impressed me was the sheer effort it took to build all that infrastructure.

As a rough guess, what percentage of L.A. (region) drivers find a way take it in stride vs. the white-knuckled ones?
Wow, so flowery. This sounds like someone who came to LA determined to prove the LA-has-the-worst-drivers stereotype.

Seriously, I see all this **** up in the SF area every week. Especially the passing in the right turn lane, happens in the city all the time. And I've seen most of this in other areas when I've driven. Ever been on the east coast?

Yes, there are crazies, but there are crazies everywhere. The reason you see more if this in LA is because there are just WAAAAY more drivers, so more n00bs in raw numbers. I don't think the percentage of insane drivers is higher in LA, in fact I think it's way less.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:33 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,404 posts, read 24,386,201 times
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I think the Bay Area has far worse drivers than Southern CA in general. I hate driving up in the Bay Area now after living down here. Apparently no one understands the concept of a fast lane up there. Southern Californians can drive fast but at least they know what they're doing unlike up north.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:19 PM
 
Location: NYC
1,158 posts, read 3,135,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sav858 View Post
I think the Bay Area has far worse drivers than Southern CA in general. I hate driving up in the Bay Area now after living down here. Apparently no one understands the concept of a fast lane up there. Southern Californians can drive fast but at least they know what they're doing unlike up north.
880 through Oakland has a much higher concentration of moronic nutcase drivers than anything I've encountered in LA. The Bay Area seems to have some of that east coast, "it's all about me" attitude, whereas in LA, drivers are willing to work together AS LONG AS you're following the unspoken rules. And that's the thing about driving in LA - you've got to learn the rules (and no, I don't mean the laws in the DMV book). I mean things like making damn sure you turn left as the light goes from yellow to red, and DO NOT wait for the next light cycle.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:47 PM
 
Location: La La Land
1,514 posts, read 1,895,150 times
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I have to echo the comments regarding East Coast drivers. Having driven in L.A. it didn't come close to some of the NYC roads. I don't know of any city in the U.S. that has the number of highly aggressive, yet quite incompetent, a-holes we have in NYC. The "thug" mentality found here just didn't seem to be as prevalent anywhere in the L.A. area.
Actually, in a few of my less restrained moments, I actually felt a little pity for some of the L.A. drivers that were around me!
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:02 PM
 
164 posts, read 528,236 times
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To me, what makes LA bad is the volume of traffic - not necessarily the drivers (yes, there are reckless or clueless drivers, but that can be said for anywhere).

Also the Bay Area isn't much better in terms of traffic and drivers either.

Philly, Boston, NJ and NYC are all far worse than anything in LA in terms of drivers. Especially Philly or Boston. And none of these cities compares to anywhere in Beijing, Shanghai (think the stereotypes of clueless and reckless Asian drivers times 1 billion), Bangkok, or even in Europe like Paris or Rome (stereotypes of Italian drivers are true - reckless, aggressive, rude).

Or you can try New Delhi or Mumbai - where in addition to the horrible road conditions, you have to dodge homeless kids, lepers, wandering cows -- and cars and mopeds.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:04 PM
 
981 posts, read 1,846,130 times
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Angry It's the volume, yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by redturtle View Post
To me, what makes LA bad is the volume of traffic - not necessarily the drivers (yes, there are reckless or clueless drivers, but that can be said for anywhere).

Also the Bay Area isn't much better in terms of traffic and drivers either.

Philly, Boston, NJ and NYC are all far worse than anything in LA in terms of drivers. Especially Philly or Boston. And none of these cities compares to anywhere in Beijing, Shanghai (think the stereotypes of clueless and reckless Asian drivers times 1 billion), Bangkok, or even in Europe like Paris or Rome (stereotypes of Italian drivers are true - reckless, aggressive, rude).

Or you can try New Delhi or Mumbai - where in addition to the horrible road conditions, you have to dodge homeless kids, lepers, wandering cows -- and cars and mopeds.
You are very right about traffic VOLUME. I am not claiming L.A. drivers are intrinsically the worst, but there seems to be no breathing room at all; a constant influx of cars. I suspect some reckless speed bursts are due to natural impulses to release stress when a temporary hole appears.

Too many people, too many cars, growing all the time. Insanity. Growth and traffic was covered in a great L.A. Times piece called "Infinite Ingress." It's not just the traffic, it's the feeling that the whole situation is unnatural and getting worse. I am referencing other parts of California, and L.A. seems to be at the cutting edge of worst traffic scenarios.

I was driving on a Sunday and the traffic was dense but moving at a decent clip in many areas. It might be somehow safer on weekdays due to lower speeds in rush-hour jams. I normally drive on non-raised freeways in either the right or left lane, where I can try to escape if something goes wrong, but those elevated L.A. freeways reduce your options.

I'm sure the east coast is worse in a lot of ways. I have driven in NYC and other parts of New York. Relative to CA, I think L.A. is tops for claustrophobia.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
206 posts, read 349,741 times
Reputation: 125
I lived in the bay area for a long time before moving down here. My experience is the opposite-maybe each values a different thing! LA is very civilized-you can't pick up speed in any of the freeways-unless it is really off peak hours.

The bay area is another story. I remember doing 90 mph on I280 and had two cars fly by me on either lane beside me. That freeway you can be doing 90-95 mph in the fast lane and the whole lane is doing the same speed as you and there will be someone weaving in and out of lanes, because he wants to go even faster! Then you have 880-just crazy freeway. When it passes through Oakland and the lanes narrow and there is absolutely no shoulder and the speed drops to 55-people do 75mph or more all the time. 880 just gets crazy in many sections. Or 680 is another fast freeway. 80-85mph is really not fast on that freeway or even 580 for that matter, during off peak hours. It is so easy to speed there. The CHP there is quite liberal. I was driving 85mph on 680s for quite awhile at night-very few cars. A car came from the entrance and so I slowed to 74 -which is still about 10mph over and he slowly matched my speed. Went to 85, assuming he was not CHP and kept 85mph for almost 7 or 8 mi. Got off the exit and he passed me and what do you know, it was a CHP officer-in one of those camaro cars. I recognize the lights in the crown victoria. Maybe he didn't wan't to write a late night report!

Not so here. Unless you are driving way off peak hours or way out of LA, traffic is simply too slow to even be a threat. I am not sure about speed enforcement here-I never have gone up to bay area speeds so really don't know what tolearance they give in the LA metro area. But the thing that bugs me most here is the lack of free traffic, where you can gun it and really get going. I have never seen a traffic jam in 280 up there(well apart from close to sf and san jose). Not so here-just packed all the time.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Southern California
15,088 posts, read 16,935,776 times
Reputation: 10273
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca_north View Post
...

As a rough guess, what percentage of L.A. (region) drivers find a way take it in stride vs. the white-knuckled ones?
I've been a licensed driver in the LA metro area for about 20 years and frankly what you have described is nothing.
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