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Old 06-15-2010, 03:18 AM
981 posts, read 2,285,994 times
Reputation: 1433


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?

Last edited by ca_north; 06-15-2010 at 03:31 AM..
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:43 AM
Location: Declezville, CA
16,799 posts, read 36,597,134 times
Reputation: 17453
I deal with it by working at home. I'm sure my rosy view of So Cal life would be tainted if I had to put up with that **** every day. As far as how I deal with life on the freeways, the timing of my trips is important. There are certain days/times I just flat won't hit the freeways, and I don't care what's going on or where I have to be.

I've pretty much got my timing down to a science, and most of my freeway time is fairly painless, save for the odd crash here and there.

As far as the way other people drive, I guess I'm used to it after all these years. I don't notice anything out of the ordinary and am not bothered by it.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:56 AM
75 posts, read 194,049 times
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Ha ha, ca_north, you totally nailed the description of harrowing danger I felt recently on a foray to the south! Made me totally appreciate driving in the Bay Area when I returned. I hear you on the crazy-ass drivers. Lots of slopping over the lane markers even on surface streets, not to mention the dumb stunts. I kept thinking people were either on speed or alcohol, especially driving at night. I saw a few accidents too, which I typically don't witness up north.

Isn't it nice to chill out on the roads in the Bay Area? It makes our traffic jams look like child's play.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:17 AM
804 posts, read 1,837,145 times
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Try the Boston Turnpike...those ppl should be professional race car drivers with the way they weave in and out traffic lol...

but yeah i hear you. everytime i travel in LA its a fun experience lol
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:23 AM
Location: NYC
1,178 posts, read 3,383,880 times
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LA traffic may be bad, but the drivers are actually relatively polite given the circumstances they encounter everyday. Try driving around any of the major East Coast cities (especially that Mecca of automobile idiocy known as the New Jersey Turnpike), and you'll probably appreciate LA drivers more.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:44 AM
85 posts, read 162,057 times
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I agree. East coast driving is much more lawless.

I think driving in LA is simple as long as you maintain a balance of patience and aggressiveness.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:51 AM
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 486,959 times
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I use public transportation. It can be done, although the price of an MTA pass is going up next month.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:15 AM
Location: SoCal
2,261 posts, read 6,746,762 times
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Ditto on the Boston driving. Trust me, you've never seen insane until you've driven here!

It's partially the drivers' fault and partially the road system here.

I just got back from LA and it was like a breath of fresh air driving there! I wasn't terrified all the time like I am here, heh.

Some dude did come "this" close to hitting us at one point... but that's a daily thing in Boston.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:24 AM
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,343 posts, read 88,165,161 times
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Originally Posted by ca_north View Post
the constant threat of crashes
I was in high adrenaline mode
felt trapped
evil skyways
a sense of imminent disaster
adds to the claustrophobia,
must inspire sheer terror
Sounds overly dramatic.

The second worst pain (the first is getting hurt in a crash) of driving in the LA area is the stress of traffic.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:00 PM
Location: The D-M-V area
13,690 posts, read 16,970,816 times
Reputation: 9555
If you know it takes at least 40 minutes to drive in traffic 12 miles, you leave early enough so you don't feel pressed to rush down the road like the Tasmanian devil. Also road rage is never called for. There is a lot of road rage on the freeways here. Every time the season changes to Spring/Summer there's some psycho shooter with a gun sniping at drivers on the freeways or some nonsense. Then you know to avoid that stretch of whatever freeway it's on after the sun goes down. So many nuances of driving on the freeways in Los Angeles. Things only a long time resident would know. I once had someone throw a boulder the size of two fists off an overpass onto the freeway at me. The boulder hit my windshield in just the perfect spot where the glass cracked but didn't shatter. It hit the glass and skidded up and over the roof of the car deflected by that silver seal that goes around the glass and the roof. I was lucky.

I am glad that you were able to navigate back to the north triumphant that you didn't cause any accidents or end up in one here in L.A.

You get a gold star!
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