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How to Drive in Los Angeles (First in a Series)

Here in Los Angeles, PAs drive.  A lot.  Unless you’re a teamster or a location manager, I can virtually guarantee I drive more than you do.

So, driving in the City of Angels is the one area of expertise in which I can speak with some authority.  Since I’m not going to have any set-related high jinx to relate for some time, I thought this might be an opportune time to impart some of my knowledge on you Okies.

If you look closely, the bumper sticker says, "My other vehicle is a Millennium Falcon."
This is how I get to work.

Now, I’m going to assume you know the basics.  Gas on the right, brakes on the left; red stop, green go; hands at ten and two (or ten and latte, if you’re running late).  These are tips for people new to Los Angeles.

First tip: USE A TURN SIGNAL.

Whether you’re turning or changing lanes or… Okay, it’s just those two things.  Still, use it.

A lot of people will tell you that if you use a turn signal on the freeway, the car in the next lane will speed up to not let you in.  While it does happen, this is by far the exception.  (Think I’m wrong?  I’m not.  I’m working off a larger experience sample than you.)

Complain all you want about New Yorkers (I will, thank you)– they’re rude, loud, and obnoxious, but at least they’re efficient.

Angelenos, by and large, are polite drivers.  Too polite.  Not only will they let you change lanes, they’ll stop for a car trying to leave a driveway.  Nevermind the fifteen cars piled up on the road, waiting for one car to go.  While their hearts are in the right place, this is not the most good for the greatest number of people.

That being said, use a turn signal, and join the rest of us polite people.

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3 Responses

  1. I will agree about turn signals, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly been in an accident because of people who don’t, but I have to disagree about the level of politeness for LA drivers. For everyone polite driver, there are at least 9 who won’t let you over on freeways or on side streets, turn signal or no. Or that will nearly take your bumper off for trying to leave a parking lot on Santa Monica.

    Personally I think there is just a point of the day when all LA drivers become jerks, like some sort of switch goes on and then off again.

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