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Old 08-20-2008, 05:22 PM
2,769 posts, read 7,244,585 times
Reputation: 1487


You guys are exaggerating, I don't find California drivers to be horrible at all, and the bottom line is it seems wherever you go people say the driving is bad. As an individual you need to remind yourself that not everyone is going to drive exactly like you, and just because they don't doesn't mean they are a bad driver.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:42 PM
123 posts, read 488,577 times
Reputation: 35
Interesting. I just moved back from Ca. I didn't think people were rude I just noticed how when you have your turn signal on to try to change lanes people don't let you in. It just seems like there is so much traffic at any given hour there is going to be accidents. I would think though camera lights would help with some of the issues.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:37 AM
Location: PA -> Denver, CO
205 posts, read 821,882 times
Reputation: 58
People in CA drive pretty conservatively, and I personally thought they drove pretty slow. At least compared to what you see in NJ. Now FL takes the cake for worst drivers, especially Miami area.. You have old people who go slower than the limit, tons of people in really fast cars who want to have fun, and a bunch of immigrants from cultures where driving is completely different than in America. Add that to the NY/NJ people who moved there for the weather. But really, CA drivers are much more midwest in attitude than they'd like to admit.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:53 AM
Location: Declezville, CA
16,806 posts, read 40,008,634 times
Reputation: 17695
I'm in a trucking related line of work. Some of my veteran over the road drivers have stated that So Cal motorists are some of the best drivers in the country.
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:42 PM
10 posts, read 38,589 times
Reputation: 37
Well, I don't know what it's like to drive in France. But I've driven all over the U.S., in probably half the states in the last two or three years alone, and here are my observations:

While California drivers are far from perfect, our worst drivers (at least outside the major cities) went off the side of some mountain road years ago. Some of them are still down there, waiting for someone to find the bones.

Unfortunately, being a competent driver is not necessarily correlated with manners.

We at least make people take a real test to get a license, and not everybody passes. Unlike some states... Illinois comes to mind, where former governor George Ryan is in federal prison in part for allowing drivers licenses to be sold while he was secretary of state. Hmmm... maybe that helps explain some of the driving behavior I've seen in Chicago?

Extended middle fingers, running red lights, and speeding probably correlate with the number of young male drivers on the road than with place. Although I think I've seen more extended middle fingers per capita in Des Moines, Iowa and Perth, Western Australia than anywhere else. I swear, once I watched a guy flip the bird at a cop just south of Perth... and he got away with it!

California has different driving issues in different parts of the state. Road rage is kind of an LA thing. Up here in the north, drivers tend to be pretty courteous. Unless you're doing the speed limit and you're in front of their big pickup truck with the lift kit, in which case they tailgate and if it's night, put their headlights right in your mirror, which makes you slow down because you can't see, which makes them even more impatient. I don't think they mean harm... it's more like an absence of thought. Two solutions for this one: Use the pullouts, that's what they're for, to let the local boy who knows every curve in the road get past you. He'll probably wave and think well of you. Or buy a sports car. The pickup trucks can't keep up with my little roadster on the curves, and on the straights they can pass if they're in that big a hurry.

The other problem: Americans are so mobile these days, that half of us are from somewhere else. So half those California drivers you met haven't lived in California very long. Place doesn't mean much anymore.

Finally, if you ever want to see something really funny... watch a native LA boy try to drive in a New York City snowstorm
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:08 PM
3,440 posts, read 8,048,613 times
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Interesting post. Due to the fact that I have driven tow trucks for 2 years and have my own business that is mobile, I haft to agree with the posters on this forum who believe that California drivers (regardless if they are native or not) are bad.

I had some buddy's a while back that rode motorcycles here in Ca. They tell me that is common for motorcycle riders to carry marbles to throw at the motorist in cars and that they have kicked off mirrors on cars because the people in the cars would block there lane during traffic jams or have opened doors on the freeway to purposely block them from passing.

It's a war zone on California freeways so I'm just counting my days until I leave this state. I have lived back east and have visited other city's and have never experienced all the drama it takes just to drive to the next city to run errands and so forth.

BTW, some poster said something about the stretch from Cali to Vegas is dangerous. I agree. Among some of the people I use to know, they would brag about how FAST they got to Vegas. Going up to 150mph on a bike on that stretch, I would guess, happens fairly common. Add people who use drugs and drink WHILE ON there way to Vegas just adds to the danger.

Gosh, you got me thinking about all your local house party's in the neighborhoods of Cali. My x girl use to go to these party's. I kid you not, MANY people drive on the roads pissy drunk or high after party to get home. I almost got side swiped by a car on one weekend night that was bobing a weaving as if the driver was "not in his right mind." The cops can do nothing, its just to many people.

Be careful out there!
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:10 PM
3,440 posts, read 8,048,613 times
Reputation: 2402
[quote=ShadowplayFinally, if you ever want to see something really funny... watch a native LA boy try to drive in a New York City snowstorm [/quote]

LOL! Lets take it to another notch, how about black ice.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:04 PM
4 posts, read 40,943 times
Reputation: 10
california drivers are largely from all over the world so what you are seeing are crazy drivers from mexico,iran,england, canada,germany, russia, china, etc..........welcome to caliFORNI
Originally Posted by gildossantos View Post
Last year, my girlfriend, my best friend and I spent 3 weeks in California for vacation, touring the state. We're coming from France and are, respectively, 35, 33 and 34. We drove from San Francisco to Lassen Volcanic Park in the north part of California, then to Lake Tahoe, Monolake, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and then back to San Fransisco.

During our trip, we drove in absolutly all kinds of roads : 10-lane congested urban freeways in LA and SF metro areas, desert rural roads, meandering forest roads, urban one way streets, avenues and boulevards, 2-lane highways, 3-lane (one is the passing one) roads, 2x2 roads with or without dividers, during the day, the night, etc.

Viewed from Europe and especially from France, there is the persistent myth that american, and especially californian, drivers are cool, relax, corteous, doing the speed limits : well they are actually good drivers compared with the French drivers who I've used to consider so far as perfect dangerous jerks compared with the american ones. There's also another myth : cops and highway patrol cars are everywhere checking for your speed, your behaviour. Third myth : road casualties are much lower in the US than in Europe regarding the same comparison basis. I guess those myths date back to the "CHips" series time!!! Well the conclusion of my 3-week California tour is : this time is over!

I would like to give my opinion on the topic, based on my californian driving experience : well to sum it up i'd say that all those myths are totally FALSE, it's complete RIP-OFF!!! Reality is far from the myths and not in a good way, we noticed.

Here are the widespread road behaviors we noticed on the California roads :

1-speeding : it's a sports practiced by 100% of californian drivers ; the speed limits? pff forget about them!! speed limits are mere indications NOBODY respects and neither enforced at all. Oh yes, we tried to respect them the first week but, let's be realistic : nobody does them, everybody tries to drive as fast as possible, even if the road or weather conditions are bad and If one dares doing the speed limits heis automatically endangered by the other drivers, threatened even by the others who honk, tailgate and show you their finger. At a time my girlfriend told me "speed up or one of them is going to take his rifle and shoot us" (yes, you're true, another myth : each citizen in the US carries a rifle with him).
The worst experiences :
*Pasadena freeway in LA, an urban freeway with dangerous sharp bends and stop signs on the on-ramps : you enter the freeway at a low speed and everybody on the freeway is speeding at 75 instead of 55, waving, cutting off, etc. Well honestly, due to the sharp bends and the lack of acceleration lanes, we didn't find that the 55 speed limit was too low!!
*I15 between los angeles and las vegas : it seemed that people where crazy on their way to Las Vegas : speeding, tailgating, honking, cutting off, using the shoulder as a lane on traffic jams, this was a festival of nonsense driving

2. Red light running : in San Fransisco and LA, it seems to be a widespread habit to run red lights even 5 seconds after the light has turned from yellow to red. If you're a pedestrian you got to be very carefull if don't want to die.

3. tailgaiting : well if you do the speed limit like us, it is unavoidable to have cars only a few feet of your bumper. Furthermore, everyboy will show you how wrong you are to respect the law by honking, threatening you, making road rage gestures.

4. cutting in front of your car : widespread behaviour on the freeways, despite the rear mirrors, a great number of california drivers behave as if they were alone on the freeway. We were forced to hit the brakes several times not to be hit by these guies.

5. turn signal and changing of lanes : the turn signal??? What for??? I'd say that less than 10% of the drivers use it when changing lanes. Well it was no rare to see drivers changing 4 lanes in one time to exit a freeway, almost causing crashes.

6. keeping a safe distance between cars : again, what for? The philosophy in california roads seems to be the following : the least space you let between your car and the car in front of you, the better it is for everybody. Even worse, when you're trying to let a reasonable distance between you and the car in front of you (you know, in the very very very unlikely case there is a sudden brake in front and so that you will not end in a giant pile-up), there will always be someone cutting in front of you, passing you to feed this seucrit distance!

7. (no) enforcement : complete lax! what are the highway patrol officers doing? spending their work time sleeping on their cars ??? The relevant question is : is there really a highway patrol or have they fired all the cops since the "CHiPs" times?? During all the trip we only saw one time a patrol car ; it was in a 4 lanes highway, everybody was doing 80 in a 65 hwy (exept us) the cops picked one car at random and arrested it, the others went on as if nothing had happened!! Wow, such an efficient way to enforce the speed limit!!

- Our conclusion :driving in California is unsafe and you are put at risk whenever you take your car and hit the road. The road beahviors seemed to us selfish, mean, it was some kind of "i'm the king of the road, i do hatever i want to do no matter he consequences, get off the road" attitude.

Actually, the behaviors we noticed in the California roads were similar to those of French drivers until 2003 when the governement said "enough" and launched a strong set of measures to fight the anarchy on the roads. Measures were based on :
-much harsher penalties for speeding, DUI, cell phone use, etc : fines increased, jailtime systematized
-increased enforcement, greater visibility of the enforcement, hence increased probability to have your behaviour checked on he road
-widespread use of fixed speed cameras and mobile speed cameras in unmarked cars : this is the center measure that has cut the death toll by 40% since 2003. We have now 2000 speed cameras and until 2012 there will be 3000 new ones. This has turned the roads safer, behaviours've been pacified.

You might think i'm kind of rude in the way I express myself but we were really amazed by what I'd call complete anarchy in the california roads with really dangerous behaviours! We often felt jeopardized by the road behaviors of the californian drivers!! And, no, we're not paranoiac.

So I'd like to have the opinion of california drivers on the forum. Have you ever drive in european roads recently? What do you think of the european drivers? What do you think of the behaviors of your counterparts in California roads? of yours too?? Do you also frequently notice the kind of behaviors I report above in your daily commutes etc? How are california drivers compared with the other states? is CHP another myth or do these guy really exist ?
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:42 PM
Location: Southern California Mountains
563 posts, read 1,451,857 times
Reputation: 456
California drivers...don't get me started...LOL! More like California non-drivers! Here are a few observations from one who has driven up and down the Eastern Seaboard and up the West Coast:
I learned to drive in Florida. We were taught that slipping through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop was called a "California Stop". 'Nough said.
The more expensive the vehicle, the faster it must go to keep up appearances. Many end up running off cliffs in my neck of the woods, since the capabilities of the car exceed the capabilities of the driver.
Use tailgater eliminator techniques, such as slowing, then slowing more, then slowing more, then brake-check 'em (do not try this at home) LOL!
Instead of flipping off an obnoxious driver, simply smile and wave...it really make's 'em mad! Or do the "Who, me???" manouver. Or better yet, blow them a kiss.
If you want to go at a leisurely pace, stay in the slow lane. Then you can slide off the road to the right if things get hairy.
Make sure you have uninsured motorist insurance to protect you when (not if) you get into a fender bender with one who is not insured, such as illegal aliens, tweekers and drunks.
Drive a clown car such as a bright yellow 1981 VW Rabbit and most drivers will slow down a little and smile...
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:50 PM
18 posts, read 110,318 times
Reputation: 14
I agree with kidyankee784.

That's just what driving is like in America. Everybody thinks that wherever they live has "the worst drivers!!" when in fact people in this country simply do not care about anyone other than themselves as a general rule.

80 in a 65 is almost standard in my experience, and I have never even been to California. I am from the midwest, which has a reputation as being hospitable and kind. With few exceptions, this false. All you have to do if you wish to evaluate the character of people in the midwest is drive the speed limit on the interstate. Again, welcome to the U.S.

Even in the supposed kind and polite midwest, when someone doesn't like how fast I am going, they do not simply change lanes and go around me. First, they will get so close to my rear bumper that I can't even see the hood of their car, then they will swerve around me. This type of behavior is most commonly exhibited by soccer moms followed by teenagers or early 20s type people.. in other words, people who think they are special in some way/shape/form.

We will be driving out to CA soon, and because it is such a long drive, I plan on setting the cruise at a relatively slow speed. I do not plan on even acknowleding my rear view mirror at any point during the drive because I am already familiar with what I will see: a late 30s/early40s crusty soccer mom driving an otherwise empty SUV making hand gestures at me while driving dangerously close to my car. At some point we will surely pass a police officer who will opt to sit in his car rather than give this crazed, selfish, psycho a ticket.

I hope you enjoyed your stay in the United States.
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