Friday, May 9, 2008

Observations of a Commuter

The following is a list of valuable things I've learned during my short time as a commuter in L.A., and I have no doubt they will aid you in driving should you ever come to visit:

1. Under no circumstances are blinkers ever to be used. This gives the enemy (aka other drivers) foreknowledge of your next maneuver and depending on how you view it this a) might give them a chance to adjust accordingly to give you room or b) allow them to keep you from merging into their lane.
2. The etiquette of stop signs outlined in the California Driver's Handbook is only necessary for other drivers. If you feel like going...go!
3. The traditional method of pausing when green lights turn green to make sure that the intersection is clear is unacceptable. There will be people running the red light. Deal with it. In fact, you really should anticipate when the light is going to turn green and start going prior to the actual change to save other drivers the hassle of having to honk their horn to remind you that green lights mean go.
4. Driving in the right lane does not give you the right to drive the speed limit. You should be going faster. If a driver pulls up right behind you, they are probably trying to pass on the right and therefore you need to speed up. If they seem to be getting too close to your rear bumper, do not be alarmed. L.A. drivers are very kind, and they are simply planning on saving you gas by pushing you forward.
5. The City of Los Angeles was experiencing technical difficulties when all of the speed limit signs were produced. They should be considered typos. Add 10 mph to the posted speed limit. This is the actual speed limit. Then drive 10 mph faster than that.
6. If you see a long line of cars backed up at your offramp and are worried that this will make you late, don't be. Those drivers are likely all from out of town and don't know the proper way to exit the freeway. Simply drive the two miles remaining before your exit in the lane to the left of all of the ignorant people sitting in line, and then merge into the lane at the last second. If the person behind you has a strange look on their face, do not be concerned. It is just dawning on them that they went about the whole thing wrong, and they appreciate your efforts to demonstrate the right way to do it.
7. If someone puts any part of their car anywhere in front of you in your lane, they have the right to be in front of you.
8. If you see a fender bender, major collision, stalled vehicle, a car, a pretty bird, or pretty much anything off to the side of road, be sure to slow down to a crawl and carefully observe every detail of it. The people behind you will appreciate you slowing down the speed on the freeway to 5 mph, which allows for a nice, leisurely, and relaxing drive home.
9. When making a left hand turn at a signal, expect it to be unguarded. This means that you are basically being encouraged to run a red light since that is often the only way to make it through the intersection. Refer back to rule number three for how to handle being on the other side of the intersection when drivers are running the red light.
10. Assume that nobody else needs to get where they are going as badly as you do. Drive accordingly.:o)

If you look really closely you can see the buildings of downtown Los Angeles in the distance cleverly muted by the lovely brown overtones of a crisp morning smog.

1 comment:

Carrie Haughey said...

hahahaha!! so funny! our friend Ben lives in Murrietta and would probably enjoy this... :0)