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Old 02-08-2010, 12:53 PM
 
20 posts, read 108,688 times
Reputation: 38

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As a followup to the OP. Sorry that you had a bad time on the road, but really it can and does happen anywhere. I've had a beer bottle chucked at my windshield at highway speeds, I've had a handgun aimed at me by another driver more than once, I've had people try to run me off the road so aggressively that I've actually ended up off the road etc. and none of these things were in California. Fingers and cutting off? Just let it go and you'll be fine.

Some general advice to driving in LA:

I've worked as a messenger and self-employed from home so I know both the hardened road warrior ethos and the chill, easy SoCal state of mind.

When I was a messenger, I prided myself on dissecting traffic, I was Neo from the Matrix, I could see things, do things other drivers couldn't. Until another driver that I knew to be a burrito grabbing slouch, that never took shortcuts, that never broke a sweat, he kept leaving point A and arriving at point B at the same time as I did. It was a revelation. Aggressive driving shaved seconds off my time, but no doubt years off my life.

Pay attention. Don't follow too close or too far; too close = rear end, too far = people will cut you off. Don't make eye contact or respond to aggressive drivers i.e. fingers, honkers, cutters. Don't eat, apply makeup, talk on the phone or text, just listen to the radio and watch the road, eventually you'll avoid an accident because you were paying attention. If you miss your turn in heavy traffic, just make a series of right turns instead of fighting the lefts. There IS someone in your blind spot. If YOU are in someone's blind spot, don't be THAT person. In lighter traffic, don't sit in the fast lane if you're holding up traffic. If all lanes are full, give it up speed racer, the fast lane is now just another lane. If you are looking for street parking, always take the first available spot because more often than not you'll end up circling back to get it anyway, just park and walk burrito butt.

If you drive a gigantic vehicle expect that people will not cut you slack, in fact just the opposite, you're starting with a major disadvantage; remember your car reduces visibility for other drivers, takes up extra parking space, is associated with certain personality types and is not as cool as you think it is, especially if it's a Hummer. If you drive a Hybrid expect that people will not cut you slack, in fact just the opposite, you're starting with a major disadvantage; remember your car may use less gas, but if you dart around like a taxi driver, cutting people off and generally being obnoxious, other drivers see you as a poser and a self-important jerk, remember it's associated with certain personality types and is not as cool as you think it is, especially if it's a Prius.

Don't signal your intent to merge UNTIL you think there's room to make the move or if there's no room at all, but don't expect it to happen right away. Always give a thank you wave, people seem to like it.

Don't honk unless it's an emergency; okay if the jerk in front of you is blocking traffic because they're using a mobile device give them a small toot, not a long I HAAAAATE YOOOUUU honk as it's annoying to other drivers, nearby residents and diminishes the value of emergency honks.

This is important: For every one jerk driver, there's 9 polite drivers. Don't distort that in your head and use the - if you can't beat em' join em' - excuse to become one of the one in ten.

Motorcyclists: Watch for them. They are hard to see and easy to kill. If you are switching lanes or pulling out of a parking space, take a moment to look for them in your mirror. If they split lanes, yeah, it's dangerous, but it's legal, move a little and let them go. If you drive one, lose the loud pipes. It's really, really obnoxious and it makes other drivers see you as a nuisance. Have you seen the South Park motorcycle episode yet? I NEVER hear the pipes unless I'm trying to read a book in my house, it's your headlight and driving style that will save your life. Yeah, I've been on your side of the box before.

Bicyclists: Watch for them. They are very hard to see and very easy to kill. If you are switching lanes or pulling out of a parking space, take a moment to look for them in your mirror. Don't be jealous. If they break rules, they're the only ones that get hurt and besides they reduce congestion and they won't park in your space. Don't EVER try to teach them a lesson. There's a doctor going to jail for that, google it.

Drive like an airplane pilot: I don't remember where I read this, but the idea is that you go to a race track for spirited driving. For regular commuting, you want to get there smoothly and safely. A to B, no one wants to remember the part in between. It's a great, zen way of dealing with traffic.

There's more, but you'll figure it out. Or you won't.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
16,250 posts, read 27,810,264 times
Reputation: 21586
LA driving is a learned event that you either grew up around or have to adapt to. Other areas are the same. Every area has unwritten rules of the road that you may need to learn when you start driving somewhere else. It is not that we are rude, it is that you have not learned to drive like us, speak our unwritten language, or follow how things are happeing on the road.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Paradise/Las Vegas
1,658 posts, read 6,967,537 times
Reputation: 413
LA Drivers are fine in my book
Lots of people use signals,let you over when needed,and use the right lanes for slower traffic.All my friends that moved up to LA or go to school say it's less crazy driving up there compared to San Diego.Matter of fact SD has some of the "rudest" drivers in that Nation;LA doesn't.

And if you read what SOON2BNSURPRISE put it pretty much is how you got to take it in LA or you just won't understand how they drive.

Here's one thing you should get used to if you don't live or drive in LA a lot:the lack of Left Turn Arrows.
How to Make a Left Turn in Los Angeles | eHow.com
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:46 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
1,218 posts, read 2,629,151 times
Reputation: 1032
granted it was only for a few days and over the weekend, but i had a good experience with LA traffic. i at least felt a little safer. where i live people never pay any attention and will change lanes right into your car even if they hear you honk.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
725 posts, read 2,666,780 times
Reputation: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by jksouthbay88 View Post
Here's one thing you should get used to if you don't live or drive in LA a lot:the lack of Left Turn Arrows.
How to Make a Left Turn in Los Angeles | eHow.com
LOL. This is what I'm used to back in L.A., 1st and 2nd car in line turning left. However, I've seen drivers here in Chicago... 3rd and 4th car in line to turn left... GUN IT ON RED. Talk about unsafe?
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Honolulu/ Seattle-Bellevue/ Cupertino, Cali
92 posts, read 318,805 times
Reputation: 57
What I was talking about is that people tend to speed up in their lane to prevent you from changing lanes when you turn on your signal.

I had this kind of crap happen to me when I was driving on the 110 freeway northbound to South Pasadena. This was last year.

I also attended college in the L.A. area in the past, and really really could not stand how annoying L.A. people could be, ranging from flipping you the bird and even pulling out their illegal hand guns to place a bullet through your head.

LAPD and CHiP officers also tend to have real severe attitude problems.

Moreover, L.A. drivers tend to like to tailgate drivers in front of them. I don't know if common sense goes hand in hand with L.A. drivers. But if someone in front of you is driving slower than you, you simply change lanes and merge back into the lane in front of the driver. Not speed up until you're several inches from the back bumper of the car in front of you.

Lastly, what really irks me about L.A. drivers is that they love to turn on their high beam head lights at night. I mean what's the use of turning on your high beams? Anybody notice this kind of behavior?
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Honolulu/ Seattle-Bellevue/ Cupertino, Cali
92 posts, read 318,805 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fontucky View Post
Waaaa! Somebody flipped us the bird while we were filming the beach, and now I'm going to lump 10 million people in the same category because of it. Waaaa!

Get over it.

LOL! Typical immature L.A. person. I just can sniff out an L.A. person the way he or she likes to mouth back to people for criticism.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Honolulu/ Seattle-Bellevue/ Cupertino, Cali
92 posts, read 318,805 times
Reputation: 57
Songinmyheart.

I too have noticed that people here in the midwest don't use their signals sometimes to change lanes. Funny, as you need to pull that kind of sh-t in L.A. to change lanes. Otherwise people won't let you in.

People in L.A. also double park in parking lots that allow two cars to park in a stall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nginmyheart View Post
A friend of mine who had moved from NJ said that he was surprised that L.A. drivers weren't as bad as he had presumed them to be.

Also, after living in Chicago for a couple of years now, L.A. drivers don't seem so bad. First, based on my own experiences, people here in Chicago hardly ever signal (including switching lanes), they often times double park or block one way streets, still turn on red (left turn) lights, and they always honk their horns... also they don't care about dinging your car when parking (it is considered "acceptable" to bumper kiss to get in or out of a spot, I've learned)... also I don't think I've ever received a "thank you" hand gesture whenever I "give way" to another driver.

I was back home a few weeks ago and I must admit I was driving ridiculously slow on the freeway. A majority of it is because 1) I've become accustomed to driving and dealing with snow/ice/sleet and I guess it was hard to get out of that winter mindset... and 2) the speed limits here are lower at 55 mph on the highways. A friend of mine drove us to downtown L.A. at 80mph and I was seriously nervous LOL.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Honolulu/ Seattle-Bellevue/ Cupertino, Cali
92 posts, read 318,805 times
Reputation: 57
Shang.

It all depends on which part of L.A. you live in. Since you live in Pasadena, and trust me, I've been there, it's more of a suburban area, and it's much of a slower pace than driving in downtown L.A. or any of the areas surrounding downtown L.A.

The same could be said of places in Orange County (which I love!). I have been to Westminster, Irvine, Garden Grove, Seal Beach, and the driving pace there is "slower" than downtown L.A., 405 freeway area, etc.

Yeah, NYC drivers are rude, honk their horns, drive faster and recklessly as well.

But L.A. seems to have a-hole drivers who love to tailgate you, drive with their high head light beams on, cut you off.

And if traffice is very congested, let's say driving through downtown L.A. along S Flower Street, and you want to merge lanes, hell could freeze, and you wouldn't get let into the other lane. At the same time, you will have drivers behind you blaring their horns at you to "get out of my way!"

It's all this "me me me" mentality in SoCal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drshang View Post
I will come out and say it this way: LA drivers are some of the friendliest of any major city in the USA. I was absolutely shocked how polite the drivers are here when I moved here. Considering how bad the traffic is, people are really courteous.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:10 AM
 
1,542 posts, read 5,395,502 times
Reputation: 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRickShawMan View Post
What I was talking about is that people tend to speed up in their lane to prevent you from changing lanes when you turn on your signal.

I had this kind of crap happen to me when I was driving on the 110 freeway northbound to South Pasadena. This was last year.

I also attended college in the L.A. area in the past, and really really could not stand how annoying L.A. people could be, ranging from flipping you the bird and even pulling out their illegal hand guns to place a bullet through your head.

LAPD and CHiP officers also tend to have real severe attitude problems.

Moreover, L.A. drivers tend to like to tailgate drivers in front of them. I don't know if common sense goes hand in hand with L.A. drivers. But if someone in front of you is driving slower than you, you simply change lanes and merge back into the lane in front of the driver. Not speed up until you're several inches from the back bumper of the car in front of you.

Lastly, what really irks me about L.A. drivers is that they love to turn on their high beam head lights at night. I mean what's the use of turning on your high beams? Anybody notice this kind of behavior?
everything you've described here is FAR worse in the northeast and south florida (along with several other heavily urbanized areas of the country, i'm sure).

i grew up in the nyc area, where everyday driving is like a hypercompetitive sport, and believe me, driving in LA is a breeze compared with anywhere along the boston-nyc-philly-dc corridor. seriously, the worst thing about the roads/freeways in LA is the heavy congestion, not the driving habits or supposedly rude attitudes of the motorists.

overall, i've found that the motorists in LA are actually relatively tame and courteous compared with many other major cities. of course, there's the occasional exception, but for the most part it's not too bad.
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