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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