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Old 12-09-2008, 08:05 PM
 
110 posts, read 780,624 times
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I'm a native Californian. I used to think California drivers were the worst until I drove in a few other states. It really makes California look good! On an average, California is not that bad. But it also depends where in the state you live. I'm on the central coast where the traffic isn't that bad. I drive to southern CA and you do get cut off if you leave just a small space between you and the car in front of you.
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:21 PM
 
18 posts, read 110,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susie4 View Post
I'm a native Californian. I used to think California drivers were the worst until I drove in a few other states. It really makes California look good! On an average, California is not that bad. But it also depends where in the state you live. I'm on the central coast where the traffic isn't that bad. I drive to southern CA and you do get cut off if you leave just a small space between you and the car in front of you.
That is what I mean by everyone thinking that [wherever you happen to live] has the worst drivers ever!

I associate CA driving with being obnoxiously slow because so many times when a car out here is going so slow that it completely disrupts the flow of traffic it's a CA license plate for whatever reason. Contrast with my experience that people with KS, NE, or OH (basically anywhere from the middle of the country) license plates always seem to go flying by me like I'm standing still. Speed it up a little, CA people!
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 5,385,104 times
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Quote:
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 ?
lol I love meeting foreigners...I chose to live in Australia a few years...but your points #3 and #4 made me laugh.

I HATE IT when you have some "person" going the speed limit in the fast lane. It's completely rude and I will tailgate, until they move over and if they continue being an *******, I'll turn my brights on and if they still continue being a jerk, I'll go in the slow lane and come around and cut the person off. It's about respect. I consider myself a nice driver too, if someone needs to change lanes, I'll open a gap. However, on a freeway, YOU HAVE EVERY SINGLE LANE, WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO GO THE SPEED LIMIT IN THE FAST LANE!

Your point #2 is also funny because having lived in San Francisco, I constantly came across tourists at street corners where the light would turn green or it's red, but there are no cars coming. And I'm trying to get through and they aren't crossing, it's one thing to be careful, but plain scared it's annoying when you have to commute by foot each day. You should know America is the sueing capital of the world. If a car just runs over your foot, you're a millionaire...that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point lol.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:03 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 29,165,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonotastic View Post
lol I love meeting foreigners...I chose to live in Australia a few years...but your points #3 and #4 made me laugh.

I HATE IT when you have some "person" going the speed limit in the fast lane. It's completely rude and I will tailgate, until they move over and if they continue being an *******, I'll turn my brights on and if they still continue being a jerk, I'll go in the slow lane and come around and cut the person off. It's about respect. I consider myself a nice driver too, if someone needs to change lanes, I'll open a gap. However, on a freeway, YOU HAVE EVERY SINGLE LANE, WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO GO THE SPEED LIMIT IN THE FAST LANE!

Your point #2 is also funny because having lived in San Francisco, I constantly came across tourists at street corners where the light would turn green or it's red, but there are no cars coming. And I'm trying to get through and they aren't crossing, it's one thing to be careful, but plain scared it's annoying when you have to commute by foot each day. You should know America is the sueing capital of the world. If a car just runs over your foot, you're a millionaire...that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point lol.
I go about five over at times when the freeways are flowing well. But they're always heavy, so I sometimes find the only lane I can go at my desired speed is the fast lane. If someone zooms up behind me and instantly glues themselves to my rear end, I am NOT going to move over, no matter what gestures they try to give me. If I notice I'm getting crowded in and it's possible to move over, I do, but I'm not going to reward that kind of aggressive, antisocial, low grade behavior just because "it's the fast lane." There is still a speed limit.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:04 AM
 
Location: In a room above Mr. Charrington's shop
2,916 posts, read 11,082,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
I go about five over at times when the freeways are flowing well. But they're always heavy, so I sometimes find the only lane I can go at my desired speed is the fast lane. If someone zooms up behind me and instantly glues themselves to my rear end, I am NOT going to move over, no matter what gestures they try to give me. If I notice I'm getting crowded in and it's possible to move over, I do, but I'm not going to reward that kind of aggressive, antisocial, low grade behavior just because "it's the fast lane." There is still a speed limit.
I hear you, except I'm always looking to see if there is a gun barrel connected to that guy behind me -- who's late for his anger management class.

But something odd happened to me a number of years back. I used to get very cranky about traffic in L.A. Always tried to beat the slow lanes during bumper-to-bumper, figured out the patterns, "oh, from Wilshire to Sunset the number 4 lane is good, after that the number 3 lane..." and so on. Then one day -- even remember where it was -- I was westbound on I-10 leaving downtown. The freeway was absolutely stopped. At some point I remember passing Crenshaw and it dawned on me that I'd been sitting in the worst traffic in the world for several miles, not going anywhere fast, and it didn't even phase me. A part of me got a little scared at the realization. "I've become one of 'them'," I thought. But ever since that time, I just get a mental shut-down and resignation when it comes to traffic: I will be stuck; there is no fast way. And though I may arrive late, take it easy and I will at least get through. Fortunately there are 5 gazillion radio stations in L.A.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:58 PM
 
18 posts, read 110,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonotastic View Post
I HATE IT when you have some "person" going the speed limit in the fast lane. It's completely rude and I will tailgate, until they move over and if they continue being an *******, I'll turn my brights on and if they still continue being a jerk, I'll go in the slow lane and come around and cut the person off.
Quote:
It's about respect. I consider myself a nice driver
Yeah. With you it's clearly all about respect.

When somebody is going as fast as the law allows and I don't like it, I DON'T harass them, flash my lights at them, or put both of our lives in danger by tailgating them or cutting them off. Because it's about respect. But that respect has nothing to do with bowing down to some clown who drives aggressively to get what he wants.

I hate it when people do that too, but I'm not about to let it affect how I drive. If your illegal actions on the roadway (e.g. tailgating, wreckless driving) ever cause an accident with injuries, I hope you are the only one that has to pay the price for driving around with that pea brain of yours in your head.

Get over yourself, princess.

Last edited by EurekaPerson; 12-10-2008 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:06 PM
 
18 posts, read 110,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
If someone zooms up behind me and instantly glues themselves to my rear end, I am NOT going to move over, no matter what gestures they try to give me. If I notice I'm getting crowded in and it's possible to move over, I do, but I'm not going to reward that kind of aggressive, antisocial, low grade behavior just because "it's the fast lane." There is still a speed limit.
Yeah, exactly. "It's all about respect" means respecting whatever he wants to do. The last thing it meant was him respecting what the other person wanted to do. By that logic, the person going slow could have said "OMG IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT!" and then cut him off as his tried to pass him. I'm not even one of those people that drives slowly in the left lane (or the right one for that matter). It's just his neanderthal brain that is of interest to me.

What can you do? Some human beings are just absolute rejects.
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:26 PM
 
2,769 posts, read 7,238,302 times
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I don't mind being a homer when I say I don't feel California drivers are that bad at all. I've seen much much worse.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:45 PM
 
80 posts, read 237,140 times
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nobody has explained to this gentleman that it is LEGAL to make a right turn, and sometimes a left turn, on a red light. Unless it is noted to "no right turn on red". And once you get into the metro areas it's all the same. In the country people are more relaxed, sometimes too much.

and we should also look at some real statistics before jumping to conclusions.
here http://www.driveandstayalive.com/inf...03.htm#table-2

the death rate in france is actually a bit higher than California. But the data is a bit old. So it might be that France lowered the # of deaths with the new laws.
http://www.driveandstayalive.com/inf...apita-2004.htm

I wasn't able to find anything more recent than 2004.

Last edited by Sir Punk; 05-13-2009 at 02:01 PM..
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:38 PM
 
Location: SoCal
14,530 posts, read 20,139,950 times
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That's one of my pet peeves, people who don't understand that you can turn right on a red light, after coming to a complete stop, and after checking that no pedestrians or oncoming traffic has the right of way, unless a sign indicates no right on red of course. Some people seem to be willing to take the turn, but they just keep creeping forward and look like they're going to go ahead, but they never do until the light actually turns green. There's such a thing as being too bold a driver but overly timid drivers are bad too.

This topic started over a year ago!
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