One of my friends, a fellow Blogger, recently posted about the frustrations of driving in Sydney. What a great book this would make. Imagine a book on driving in many different cities in the world. In the Philippines it would be the art of turning two lanes into five. In Shanghai it would be the art of making your own lanes–two wide-ish lanes can make three. In Melbourne it would be the art of speeding up the minute the car in front of you indicates to change into your lane. Obviously so said car can’t get in front of you.
Ahh the idiosyncrasies of navigating the roads in different cities.
Short of publishing a book I thought I’d contribute to her blog post by sharing my pain of driving in LA. Without further adieu here are my top three pet peeves about driving/drivers in LA.
And, as a bonus prize I give you three things you should know before getting behind the wheel in LA. And it’s not they drive on the wrong side of the road.
Peeve #1: KEEP CLEAR
For God’s sake. It’s universal: in Australia, the UK, America they use the words “Keep Clear”. No translation issues here. So why the F%#@* can’t LA drivers understand??? Renowned worldwide for its traffic congestion, LA drivers are concerned about one thing and one thing only: themselves.
Listen up people: if you didn’t block the Keep Clear area I wouldn’t have to push my way in and block the whole road. Try it sometime. I’m pretty sure it won’t kill you.
Peeve #2: INDICATE
Living Life at 56 mentions it’s a Sydney phenomenon but I can assure you LA cars don’t come with indicators (or blinkers as the case may be–did I just use an American word ahead of an Australian one?).
Well they can’t. Possibly. Turn left, right, change lanes, four-way stop, change from the carpool lane across four lanes to the exit a freeway in 10 metres and there’s no sign of an indicator.
No, cars in LA most definitely don’t come with indicators. We don’t need them here.
Peeve #3: STAY IN YOUR BLOODY LANE
Oh yeah, this one’s a beauty. I live up in the hills around Mulholland Drive. It’s not a very wide road and neither are the lanes. It’s windy and the drops are …. well …. steep and unforgiving.
Why then are drivers incapable of keeping in their own lane? I’ll often be coming the other way to find a car well and truly hogging my side of the road as if he’s coming in for a cuddle. I can’t just jump on top of you it’s a crash or it’s off the canyon. And I’m not going over.
Let’s make it easy for everyone: keep on your own side.
Now that I’ve shared that with you it’s time for me to take some good advice.
Driving in LA can lead you to drink.
Three things you should know about driving in LA
- The more expensive your car the bigger hoon you are. There are no bogans in LA. No. It’s great, everyone’s hip and groovy or trendy or stylish. But when you have an expensive car you turn into a bogan. Automatically.
- Overtaking is always allowed: suburban streets, winding your way around Mulholland Drive, can’t see the on-coming traffic. Don’t worry about it. Overtaking is encouraged. At all times.
- There is no such thing as a speed limit. Technically as long as you’re the same speed as the traffic you’re OK. So technically speed limits don’t count for much. It’s not until you get someone in the car from out of town or you start driving back in a country where speed limits are enforced that you realise you actually drive quite fast here.
So now when you come to LA you can drive as the locals do. I remember the first time I got on the freeway I thought I was going to be blown away by the g-force of the cars passing me by, leaving me for dead. I was doing 100kmph or thereabouts. Try changing lanes, it can be scary. It doesn’t take long before you’ve got the hang of it and your speed is edging upwards of 70/80 mph. No wonder the freeway accidents are big.
It’s pretty tough to get around without a car. Acquaint yourself with driving LA style and you’ll be fine. Good luck!
xx It Started in LA xx