Tag Archive for commuter

Holiday Traffic — A Guide to Surviving – Holiday Driving Tips

We’re entering the holiday season and with that comes one of the many joys seldom discussed – holiday traffic. It’s a mixed Santa’s bag. For commuters going with the general direction of most commuting traffic, i.e. 405 South through the Sepulveda Pass, the good news is traffic actually improves with your commute. That is about all the good news there is however with holiday traffic. For those of us who have a “reverse” commute (if you can even call it that anymore) traffic actually gets worse at the end of the day during commuting hours. Why is that you ask? It’s because many people are off work and schools go on break. In preparation for the holidays, everyone is out bargain shopping, driving all over town, making traffic much worse. I submit to you, the better the economic climate, the worse the traffic. Hurray for our economic recovery. Bah humbug! What compounds the problem is the erratic driving that goes on during this time. People are distracted, stressed, and always it seems in a rush. I’m sure I’ll be reporting on that in the coming weeks and appropriately shaming people along the way.

So, with all that said, I offer you a traffic survival guide for the holidays, holiday driving tips. Heed my advice and you’ll hopefully avoid an accident and get through the holidays with less stress.

Be careful driving in a parking lot – this may be the worst place to be during the holidays. People seem to have the misconception that parking lots are racetracks — the dog tracks to be precise. It’s a dog eat dog world in a parking lot during the holidays. People believe the faster they go, the better the odds are that they’ll get premium parking. I prefer to park towards the back of the parking lot. It’s easier to get in and out and walking is good for you. When you pull out of a space, go slow and look carefully. People don’t typically stop to let you out on a good day, so don’t expect it on a holiday. Same applies to shopping carts! Just think of the lady who pushed me in Costco with her shopping cart … and it wasn’t even officially the holiday season yet! Do you part to take just one parking space. If you do see people who took 2 or more, take a picture and send it to me. I will properly shame them!

Rearrange your driving schedule – Okay, so I know this isn’t always possible, but try to rearrange your schedule to avoid peak times. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the worst traffic days of the year. Leave work early if you can (although it seems everyone is doing that), take the day off work whenever possible, or stick around wherever you are for the evening to wait for the masses to get wherever they’re going. I’m a big fan of Happy Hour after work, but don’t overdo it. The last thing you need is to get a DUI. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Prepare for the worst – If you are stuck in traffic, be prepared. Bring plenty of music, a good book on tape, practice breathing and isometrics. Hey the latter will help you burn those Thanksgiving calories!

Be vigilant – Note — I said vigilant not a vigilante! You have to be both an offensive and defensive driver during these times. Everyone else is distracted so you can’t be. So, when the asshole cuts you off, let it roll off of you. At least you saw him coming. I saw a license plate frame the other day on a yellow sportscar. It read something like, “Okay so I cut you off. Relax, it’s just a lane change.” I couldn’t get the camera out quickly enough because he was driving too fast. (Be sure to take a look at my post on what the color of your car says about you.) Don’t flip the bird. Don’t start a fight. Don’t pull out a gun. Try not to even mouth what you’re thinking — people are accustomed to reading lips at least when it comes to curse words. I know this from experience. Exercise kindness this holiday season and who knows, maybe the Karma Santa will be extra good to you.

Let someone else do the driving – Nah, I take that back. Bad idea. Unless you’re a lousy driver, only you can control the outcome of driving in chaos. Well, actually you can only control it to a point.

Consult with Sigalert – This is my bible. I always consult with it before heading out anywhere. It helps me know whether or not to avoid certain routes or if there’s no way to avoid a situation, at least I’ll be prepared.

Be safe out there!

Zen Master Marci

Car Shame of the Day

The guy below on the right in the little black Ford drove up the right shoulder bypassing the two lanes of cars patiently waiting to get on the freeway. Way to go! You got about 5 cars ahead before coming to an abrupt stop on the freeway because of traffic.

(Note the color of the car and my assessment of what the color means in my last post!)

Also, be sure to check out the Car Shaming Page if you haven’t seen it lately. Got any car shaming pictures to share? Send them to me and I’ll be happy to post.

Car Shame of the Day

Car Shame of the Day

Color Me Driven


Color Me!

Color Me!

Last Friday, I noted that people who drive light colored Priuses seem to drive annoying slow. I know this because I’m often stuck behind one. Interestingly, if you, however, drive a Black Prius, the same does not apply. It got me thinking about how the color of your car tells something about the kind of driver you are, or at a minimum it reveals some of your personality traits.

Color is important in a car after all. If you don’t believe me, according to ForbesAuto.com, a General Motors’ lead designer for exterior colors on cars reported that nearly 40 percent of customers who walk into a dealership will leave and go to another dealer if they can’t get the color they want in a car. So, it stands to reason that color says something about who you are.

Here’s my take on car colors and what they mean.

Beige – drivers of beige cars tend to be dependable and flexible. You adapt well to your surroundings and blend in well. You are more likely than other colors to let other drivers in when they signal.

White — White has long been considered a color of purity. It’s also a practical color when it comes to cars. It doesn’t show dirt easily and it doesn’t fade like other colors do. It says clean and fresh looking. So if you drive a white car, you are likely to be practical, stable and low maintenance. You won’t be the sort of driver who zips in and out of lanes trying to get ahead. You’re by and large a patient driver. The biggest problem with white car drivers is going too slow and annoying the people around them. More often than not, the car you’re stuck behind is going to be white. Think about the snow birds in Arizona. (For those who don’t know, snow birds are elderly drivers who have moved to warmer climates for the winter.) They all drive white cars! Last point, if you have only ever driven white cars, you need to step out of your comfort zone and live a little.

Red — Red is a color of passion, power and attention. If you drive a red car, you long to be noticed. You may drive faster than a white car, but you’re not the fastest on the road and you don’t care to be. You know you’re calling more attention to yourself just by being there. That includes police attention and you want to avoid that speeding ticket. Good move.

Purple – Purple is a creative and original color, but not for a car. The music group Train cites in their song “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” a “crappy purple Scion” as one of the 50 ways she dies. Better off wearing purple, don’t drive in it.

Orange — Orange is in fact the new black. No one gets stuck behind a slow orange car unless he rear ends the car and I wouldn’t advise that because the driver will go off on you. Orange car owners may be a little too into drama in their lives, but they love excitement and have no fear. This is the car that will take the drag race challenge.

Blue — Blue connotes stability. People in blue cars are purposeful and dependable. I’m not just saying this because I drive a blue car. You seek a sense of calmness and order, two qualities that are seldom present while driving in L.A. In order to cope, you create your own sense of reality. Heck, I started a blog about driving!

Black – you want to appear impressive without being too flashy, though you still do seek status from your car. You also like to maintain a little mystery. You are, however, the most likely colored car to cut someone else off on the road. It’s that rebellious streak in you. Did you know black is most often chosen color for luxury vehicles?

Silver — You like to blend into your surroundings, not be noticed too much and go with the flow. Others may perceive you as a little standoffish. You give the air of being cool and calm. You tend to be more of a conformist than you care to admit. You are also more likely to keep up with technological innovations.

Green – You love nature. You have an upbeat attitude for the most part, but can be a little moody and inconsiderate. It’s in those moody moments that you’re not likely to let someone in who signals. You also strive for material wealth.

Yellow – Yellow is the most highly visible color. Think about it — street signs and warning signs are in yellow. If you drive a yellow car, you have a lot of enthusiasm towards life and exude confidence. You can be analytical and critical of others too. If you’re driving a yellow Hummer though, you’re just arrogant.


Picking on Priuses and PT Cruisers

Why is it that 8 times out if 10 when I get stuck behind a ridiculously slow car it’s a Prius? The other 2 times it seems to a PT Cruiser, clearly not the turbo charged version. I suspect the PT cruiser (or any variation of that car) would rank higher if there were more on the road. It’s true. This is based on empirical evidence. It occurred to me that I should post photos proving my point. There’s plenty of time for this as I suspect this condition will not change any time soon.

I have observed, however, that it’s never a black Prius that goes slow. It’s typically the lighter colors. I believe that’s because there’s a cool factor associated with owning a black colored car even for someone who owns a Prius, doubly true if they have tinted windows. No one cool would be caught driving 45 MPH on the freeway. Think of the car scene in the beginning of Revenge of the Nerds.

Speaking of, do you ever wonder what the color of your car says about your personality? Stay tuned. I’ll have some great insights on this coming soon.

Have a safe weekend.

Marci Freud 


Seeing Red!

Who else is seeing red?

Who else is seeing red?










Just thought I’d take a quick look to see how the commute home is looking. Not TOO bad for me … yet. Feeling sorry for the folks heading the other way on the 405. The 101 is worse though.

Ode to the Red Light Shuffle


Poet's Corner

Poet’s Corner













Listen up everyone
’cause there’s a new dance
It’s taking LA by storm
but you gotta have the right form.
If doing it isn’t a must
then you’ll be left behind in the dust.

No doe see doe
no dips, no show
It’s a vehicle prance
a drivers stance
where the position is sought
for the prime spot
When the light turns green
it’s not being mean
It’s the Red Light Shuffle

Make your move
turn your head
It’s all about precision
for the coveted position
to take off like a rocket
Now don’t you mock it
Just put your pedal to the metal
and don’t you settle
or you’ll miss out on the Red Light Shuffle!

Your behind a Prius and the light turns red
You either move away or your gonna need a med
Cause the cars will fly by in the other lane
while you’re left behind to go insane
Then the light turns green
and you can’t escape the scene
You missed out on the red light shuffle!

No doe see doe
no dips, no show
It’s a vehicle prance
a driver’s stance
where the position is sought
for the prime spot
When the light turns green
It’s not being mean
It’s the Red Light Shuffle.

Happy Monday! Proceed out there with caution. Don’t get into a scuffle with the red light shuffle, but do let me know how many people you see today doing the dance including you.

Marci Allan Poe

P.S. I haven’t given up my day job … yet.

P.P.S. Just wait until I put this to music!

My Life on the Road – What a Morning!

You ever have one of those days where every driving choice you make is the wrong one? You change lanes hoping to get ahead, but somehow end up farther behind than if you stayed in the same lane. It almost feels like you’re moving backwards. It’s been one of those mornings for me. You would think that I, more than anyone else, would know better than to get stuck in the Obama traffic nightmare.

Here’s my morning and how it went down. I had a doctor’s appointment in Beverly Hills at 9:30 a.m. (Don’t worry Mom, it was just an annual check-up.) I allowed 50 minutes to get there from the Marina. That should have been adequate. After all, it used to be that Friday morning traffic was light in Los Angeles.

Before leaving my home, I checked where the Obama Motorcade closures were so I could avoid any delays. I consulted with my bible — Sigalert.com — and knew to avoid the freeways. I was feeling pretty smug. I’m in the know. I know where to avoid the traffic hassles! Well, the traffic Gods were laughing at me, cackling really. As I headed East down Venice Blvd. past Overland, I suddenly encountered gridlock. The traffic all but stopped entirely. I sat for about 15 minutes moving maybe 50 feet. I’ve been fasting since the night before, which means I’m already a little cranky. I haven’t had my morning coffee and I’m hungry. I’m not a happy camper.

I then called KNX 1070 Traffic to report (and find out) what’s going on there. Yes, I have 1070 on speed dial. Next time you hear a traffic report, be sure to listen for them mentioning Tipster Marci. Come on folks — I live in my car. This is one of my important survival techniques. So, I was told that I was stuck because of the Obama motorcade. “No! That can’t be!” I declared. “I checked to see where he was going to be and avoided that area. He’s supposed to be in the Westwood/Century City area, not where I am!” I was told that we’re not always told exactly where he’ll be. So, at my first opportunity, I made a U turn and headed back towards Overland. I could take Pico across and avoid Century City. Good. It’s fine. A delay. I’ll be a little late, but now I’m moving along nicely. Then, suddenly, I see the sign. LANES CLOSED AHEAD.

Lane closure on Overland

Lane closure on Overland

Here I go again. As I’m listening to 1070, I hear the next traffic report. They talk about Obama and the road closures and then say, “By the way, it seems there’s road construction on Venice Blvd. heading East from Overland. It’s down to one lane. Avoid that area if you can.” I didn’t mention my name this time, so no Tipster Marci credited for this. I get through the Overland construction, head down Pico eastbound. I see multiple police vehicles parked along side Rancho Park (a sign that Obama is headed that way soon). Thankfully, I stayed ahead of the motorcade and got to my appointment about 15 minutes late.

Police cars Waiting for Obama at Rancho Park

Police cars Waiting for Obama at Rancho Park

So now, I’m at the doctors and declare that I think my blood pressure is going to be extremely high after that drive. The doctor asked why. I told him explaining that I write a blog about driving and I should have known better. He then asks me where the Obama closures are because he’s heading out of the office shortly and wants to avoid that area. I bring up my post and read it to him. He looked at me and said, “I think I’ll go home instead.” Yeah…

Appointment done. I picked up a large cappuccino on my way out of the doctor’s office building and I headed back home. (This place oddly has exceptionally good cappuccino.) This time, I take the freeway back — 10 to the 405. Mercifully, no driving issues. As I’m making that transition from the 10 to the 405 South, I see 3 military helicopters heading east in the sky with two F-15 fighters following behind. (Wish I could have gotten a picture of that!) I raised my coffee to the sky, leaned back in my seat and sailed home.



Obama’s in Town, Blame Gweneth Paltrow for the Bad Traffic

Obama is in town today. Gweneth Paltrow is hosting a fundraiser for him so you can blame her for your traffic nightmares.

Here are the road closures as promised. Avoid these areas at all costs!

  • Centinela Avenue between Ocean Park and Olympic boulevards, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln Boulevard between Pico and Wilshire boulevards, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between 26th Street and Ocean Avenue, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
  • Ocean Avenue between Pico and San Vicente boulevards, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
  • San Vicente Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and Bundy Drive, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard between Allenford and Barrington avenues, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard between Allenford Avenue and Roxbury Drive, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Beverly Glen Boulevard between Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
  • Wilshire Boulevard between Sawtelle and Santa Monica Blvds, 7:30 – 9 p.m.

He’s around tomorrow too, heading inland to San Dimas. No info yet on any closures.

Demand Campaign Finance Reform and you’ll have far less of these road closures in the future!

Citizen Marci

2 Quick Things

Be careful out there. There’s a full moon — a blood moon no less — and all indications are showing some crazy driving out there!

After 2 days of Vice President Biden blocking traffic on the Westside, it’s now Obama’s turn. He’s coming to town on Thursday. I’ll post traffic closures as soon as I can find them!

Top 10 Driving Annoyances in Los Angeles

10. When the President comes to town. Let’s face it, a city like LA has a lot of deep pockets, which means Presidents and other wannabe Presidents and politicians can easily fundraise here. We are inconvenienced it seems more than most major cities with these visits. I have been stuck waiting for the Presidential Motorcade to pass on more than one occasion. I remember one such instance back in the Clinton years. I sat at a red light for 20 minutes minimum waiting. I did get to see both Bill and Hillary’s faces in the back seat of the limo as they drove past me. I will be sure to alert you when this happens in future posts and provide tips on ways to avoid the jams.

9.  Cyclavia – There’s something wrong when you have to 1.) drive your car someplace, 2.) pay through the nose to park your car so that you can then 3.) ride your bike to make a statement about supporting alternative forms of transportation in LA. Plus, the road closures because of Cyclavia make it impossible for drivers to get anywhere near its route. Here’s my advice, tie in Cyclavia with the LA Marathon. That way, the city is only inconveniencing drivers one time a year (other than Oscar night).  Meanwhile, stick an orange cone up on the nearest via or cul de sac and ride your bike up and down like little Timmy does. It’s safer and you won’t agitate nearly as many drivers.

8.  Road construction – when will this city be done with its roads?  Next to the problems arising from overpopulation and overdevelopment, road construction seems to be the leading cause of traffic jams in LA. Everywhere I go, there is road construction! For the past 2 years, the roads in and out of my neighborhood have been under constant construction. It never seems to end. Plus, I can’t tell you how many times lanes are blocked off but workers are nowhere to be found!  Most recently there was a lane blocked off between Lincoln Blvd. and the entrance to the 90 Freeway East on a Friday afternoon, leaving just one lane of traffic open. The gridlock spilled over onto the already overtaxed streets making for a complete traffic nightmare. It took 30 minutes to travel 2 miles. Who approved that construction project for a Friday?

7.  Police driving along side you. I don’t begrudge police the ability to patrol the streets and highways. They are doing a service … hopefully … making our roads safer. But, any time there’s a cop on the road or freeway near you, why does everyone have to slow down to below the speed limit? Do you know you COULD get a ticket for driving too slowly? That can be just as dangerous as driving too fast, maybe more. Besides, no one is getting fooled by the sudden good behavior. It might even make the police more suspicious. The police may think — Why is he slowing down? What does he have to hide? I will say, however, it does have its advantages for drivers ahead of the pack. For example, there have been times I’ve been on the freeway doing the safe-driver-scan-of-my-rear-view-mirror to see what’s happening behind me. I’ll see an entire cluster of cars behind me moving at exactly the same pace, as though they’re all being pulling by one string. This kind of cluster NEVER happens under normal conditions. It’s a pretty darned safe bet that there’s a patrol car somewhere in that cluster. How annoying though if you’re stuck in it and can’t get out. One might call it a cluster … well, you know.

6.  Police writing tickets. Once again, I don’t begrudge police the ability to pull cars over and write tickets where justified. They are doing a service … hopefully … making our roads safer. But, any time there’s a police vehicle on the side of the road with his lights flashing (or even not flashing), that translates to a slow down on the road or freeway for everyone else. Repeat after me … “I will not slow down when I see a cop on the road next time.” There is nothing to see and he’s not after you. Of course, you’re not speeding so there’s no need to slow down, right? The same rules apply to traffic accidents. If you have a morbid sense of curiosity, watch TMZ or the news instead.

5. Loud music coming from the car next to you. At the risk of sounding old, I cannot stand this! How often are you stopped at a red light when suddenly your car starts shaking and you hear this rhythmic boom in sync with the shaking? No, you’re not having heart palpitations and it’s not an earthquake; it’s the a-hole in the car next to you. You can’t drown out the noise because the bass is just too overpowering. Now, I love music. I love listening to music, all kinds. There are times when I crank up the music to rock out to a great tune, but there’s nothing great about this. The only consolation is that this person will no doubt be deaf in a few years.

4. Potholes. Why does it seem that every Mayor in LA has run with a platform that includes fixing potholes but somehow it never quite seems to happen?  I don’t know about you, but these potholes cost me a fortune in tires and alignments. I’ve got A LOT more to say about this in future posts. Stayed tuned.

3. The California Stop. Rolling through a stop sign is NOT stopping. This is so pervasive that California Stop or California Roll (not the sushi) is actually listed in the Urban Dictionary. Make stopping a habit like flossing your teeth or putting on your seatbelt. It’ll become second nature and it’ll save you a ton of money in traffic tickets and insurance.

2.  People who don’t signal.  Repeat after me … “It is not a sign of weakness to use your turn signal.” Even though every other person in Los Angeles is psychic or clairvoyant, no one should assume that we know they’re planning to make a turn. Do a good deed today and let someone in who signals. Try it out! You’ll be surprised how nice some people can be. You might even get a thank you wave. It sure beats the finger! Keep this in mind — if you want to change lanes or turn and you haven’t signaled, you have no right to get upset with the person who doesn’t let you in.

1.  People on their smart phones. Not so smart. There is far more to say than just a brief paragraph. But, for now, let me just say this. A recent Friday night, I caught the shuttle bus to the Hollywood Bowl from Westwood. We took the 405 to the 101. We were in typical Friday traffic. From my elevated seat, I could see what drivers were doing in their cars. It seemed that every 3rd driver was on his cell phone, texting or doing something that took the driver’s eyes off the road. I was shocked at how many people were messing with their phones in their cars. I mean, if we were playing the Smart Phone equivalent to the Slug Bug game, someone would have ended up in the hospital. Check out this video and share it with your friends. That split second taking your eyes off the road is all it takes to forever change someone’s life. Volkswagon Eyes on the Road Video.

Let me know what your top annoyances are.

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