Archive for September 2014

Crazy Things I’ve Seen People Do While Driving


I’ve observed people doing all kinds of crazy things in their cars. Why is it that people in their cars think their private behavior is okay for public viewing? Do they think this metal and glass shield of a car serves as a cloak of invisibility? That may be true if you had your car pimped out with tinted windows, but most people don’t. I know because I can see them!  Based on most of what I’ve seen, doing crazy things while driving is not about shock value or being an exhibitionist. It’s just a complete and utter lack of self awareness.

With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve observed drivers doing in their cars. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of odd things as well. Let me know what you have seen.

Smoking a joint – Yes, just last week I saw a guy in a Lexus taking a hit. He wasn’t trying to conceal it at all. He was driving alone, crawling along in traffic (while everyone else was going 60 — just kidding). I find it hard to believe that there was a medicinal value that made him a better driver because of it. Has traffic gotten so bad in this city that this is the only way someone can cope?

Shaving – electric shavers, even disposable razors. I’d hate to see the rash from that dry shave!

Putting on makeup – Okay, that said, I have in the past done an excellent job putting on lipstick. I don’t even have to look in the mirror and I don’t get it all over my face. It’s seeing someone going into full face or even just putting on eye makeup, especially mascara, that surprises me the most. It must take great skill to avoid looking like a raccoon or a hooker, or maybe that’s the goal. But here’s the thing … going back to that classic film again A Christmas Story — if you get in an accident, you’ll shoot your eye out! So not worth it.

Picking nose – Really? You haven’t learned by now not to do this in public? I see this all the time!

Picking zits – Yes, I see this all the time too. People go to town on their faces. Ick.

Flossing teeth and not with a toothpick – This begs the question … who carries around dental floss in their car?

Reading a book – I have seen this on the 405 Freeway in traffic, rolling along at maybe 20 MPH. There was a guy with a book on his steering wheel reading. Seems someone literate should be smarter.

Changing clothes – Imagine pulling a shirt over your head at the moment the car in front of you makes a sudden stop. Well, jeez officer I just didn’t see the car in front of me stop.

Using a curling iron on hair – It might be battery operated, but if it curls your hair, it’s going to be hot. You’re going to end up with what appears to be a hickey on your neck or worse, a cold sore on your face.

Now tell me what you’ve seen!

Left turn Violator

It drives me crazy when someone refuses to pull forward into the intersection when turning left. Not only are people being negligent and selfish, they are negatively impacting the flow of traffic on our streets and creating potential hazards! Here’s one such person refusing to pull forward into the intersection. She stayed there the entire time the light was green. Perhaps if drivers did this correctly, the people behind them would be less inclined to run red lights to get through the intersection (another subject of future bitch sessions).

When you're turning left, you have an obligation to pull into the intersection!

When you’re turning left, you have an obligation to pull into the intersection!

Photos on mybLAuto

Batman -- off to fight evil in a neighborhood near you!

Batman — off to fight evil in a neighborhood near you!









It never ceases to amaze me what I come across on the roads of L.A. It was serendipity coming across Batman in Marina Del Rey. I guess the roads of L.A. are even treacherous for the Batmobile; it had police escorts.

Have you had a chance to check out the photo pages on mybLAuto? Be sure to take a look. If you have any great photos to share, just email it to

Have a great Monday and keep checking back for more.


Look what I spotted on the freeway!


Might not be so bad to collide with this!

On the morning commute -- the breakfast of champions!

On the morning commute — the breakfast of champions!

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.

Also, be sure to “like” my new Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

More to come!

Check back here this weekend for more news and links. I’ll be adding a Facebook page and joining the Twitter community. Monday morning I’ll have a brand new post ready to start the new week.

Against my better judgment, I’m now heading out to do errands across town, breaking one of my key driving tenets — always do Friday errands before noon or you’ll be stuck in gridlock. And on that note, here’s my driver shaming picture of the day, not the most egregious violation (I know we’ve all done this before) but annoying nonetheless. This is called The Shoulder Jab. This girl in her Mercedes Benz squeezed as far as she could on the shoulder before moving into the lane of the traffic. Snaps to the station wagon for giving her space and letting her in; you are a good person!

Nothing says "I'm more important than you are" better than someone cutting off others in traffic to get even if just one car length ahead.

Nothing says “I’m more important than you are” better than someone cutting off others in traffic to get even if just one car length ahead.









Have a safe weekend out there!


The Most Useful Things I Learned in Traffic School

Hi, my name is Marci and I’m a traffic violator. Yes, it’s true. I have received tickets and had to go to traffic school before. The first step is admitting it. Traffic school wasn’t a total time drain though. Here are a few things I learned from the experience.

  • Thankfully, it been many years since I’ve had to attend traffic school. I’m sure it’s changed a lot since I last went. So, second to taking traffic school classes online, I recommend comedy traffic schools. A little humor helps take the pain out of sitting in a room for 8 hours.
  • Traffic school can be a great way to meet a guy (or gal) depending of course on the severity of his or her traffic infraction, but DON’T date your traffic school instructor! Just trust me on this one.
  • You’re most likely to get a speeding ticket when you drive in the fast lane.
  • The fast lane is supposed to be a passing lane. Listen … learn it … live it! It annoys me to no end when someone is driving in that lane at 55 MPH, holding up traffic behind him for no apparent reason. Actually, I didn’t learn this in traffic school. I learned this when I first got my driver’s license! It’s worth mentioning here though.
  • It’s illegal to hang anything from your rear view mirror while you’re driving. That includes handicap placards, crystal balls, graduation tassels, rosary beads, fuzzy dice, air fresheners, stupid naked women silhouettes, etc. It’s dangerous. Just think of the movie “A Christmas Story.” If you’re in an accident – “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
  • When you apply your car registration stickers to your license plate, take a knife or razor and carefully slice the sticker top to bottom and side to side. That way, no one can peel it off and steal it. This has happened to me before! In fact, to digress… I was pulled over by the police three times in one hour heading towards Arizona because of this. AND … One of the times, the cop was actually on the other side of the highway and couldn’t possibly have seen a missing sticker on the back of my car. That was the 1st, 2nd and 3rd time I was pulled over by a cop. No, I did not give any of them my phone number.
  • Don’t keep your insurance and registration information in your car in case the car is stolen. Better to keep it in your wallet.

And the coolest thing I learned —

If you ever find yourself stranded somewhere on an Interstate Highway in this country and you don’t have any idea where you are, this will help. There is a method to the madness of how our highways are numbered. Think about it –

highway map

  • Even numbered interstates travel west to east – starts from 10 and goes to 90
  • Odd numbered interstates travel south to north – starts with 5 and goes to 95
  • There are freeways/highways that are bypasses of the above interstate highways and are numbered with a prefix attached to the highway. For example, the 405 is a bypass of the 5. It starts at the 5 in North Los Angeles and ends at the 5 in Orange County. Pretty cool huh?

Any other cools things to be learned in traffic school?

TGIF … and useful things to be aware of on the road this weekend

TGIFI hope you survived arguably one of the worst driving weeks of the year. I completely get why the roads are such a nightmare this week. Kids are back in school; summer vacations are over; everyone is getting back into their routines. But … it completely mystifies me as to why in about 2 weeks time people settle in and traffic does seem to ease up a bit (for LA standards). What happens to all of these cars? Where do these people go? Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that there’s an improvement. It just makes no sense. I mean, it should be the same cars and same people on the road. The same kids are going to school. Do masses of people start calling in sick to work? They surely aren’t taking public transportation. Do they push the limits and go in later to work? Are hoards of kids already dropping out of school? Why does this happen? I’d really like to know.

Anyway, today IS finally Friday. We love Fridays, but we sure do not love the traffic that comes with it. Friday traffic is indeed a conundrum. I’m sure you’ve observed traffic is usually very light on Friday mornings. At the end of the day, however, all bets are off! It’s total gridlock and there’s no escaping it. It used to be if you left work before 3 p.m., traffic was a breeze getting home. Now, it gets brutal after 12 p.m. and surface streets are MUCH worse. Where do these people come from? Where were they in the morning? By the way, have you observed that Thursday is the new Friday? Thursday night rush hour now rivals Friday and it lasts longer it seems than a Friday. I’ve often left work at 8 p.m. on a Thursday and it’ll take me more than an hour to get home. At that time of the night it should only be about 40 minutes.

Anyway, enough of the rant for now. Here are a few useful items to be aware of this weekend. I’ll be back on Monday with a full blog post. Tune in then for more!

Road Closure
Do you remember the Carmaggedon Bridge up by Mulholland and the Skirball area? Well, the bridge is going to be closed for part of this weekend so you might want to avoid the area. It will be closed Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. – 8 a.m.

New Law – 3 Feet for Safety Act
There’s a new law on the books — the 3 Feet for Safety Act — taking effect September 16th to help drivers and cyclists co-exist.

Welcome to my bLAuto!

just me in carLiving in LA, the road has become an all too important character in my life. It’s the protagonist, the nemesis, the best friend who gives perspective on life, the annoyance that you sometimes just can’t avoid. It’s my routine and my escape. Sometimes it makes me want to scream and other times it allows me to breathe. At the age of 16, it was my “get out of jail free” card when the world was opening up and anything was possible. Now, as a commuter, there are days I fear it could lead to my demise.

Most of my adult life, I’ve had to commute a considerable distance. I figure each year, driving about an hour each way give or take, I spend about 500 hours on the road commuting for work. 500 hours! That’s about 20 days a year! With an average distance of just 25 miles each way, that translates to 4 times across the U.S. or about one and a half times around the earth. And this is a conservative estimate! I’ve had jobs that were 40-50 miles away. 20 days a year! To think of what I could do with that time back in my life.

I found after spending these two hours a day in the car, on a good day, my sanity was slowing slipping away. My regularly, somewhat genteel personality was lapsing into fits of manic combustion. I was not about to let the poor planning of urban developers get the better of me. So, I decided to turn this pent-up frustration into constructive therapy. Yep, I turned it all around for the sake of sanity. I started gaining pleasure in watching people in cars around me try to find a quick way out of gridlock – hopping lanes to see if they could squeeeeeeze an extra car past. The thrill I gained in watching these people interact on the freeway was almost sadistic.

Yet day in and day out I was no better off than anyone else. I was still one of the countless numbers of others caught in this cacophony of asphalt. So I thought and I thought. I thought about my goals, what I want to do with my life, how I could make myself financially secure so I’ll never have to drive in rush hour traffic again. I tried everything to maximize my time in the car and get my mind off traffic. I bought a comfortable car disproportionate to my income level with lots of bells and whistles (the LA thing to do). I listened to music, novels on CD like “How to Become a Millionaire.” And as my mind would still wander, I saw people’s driving habits form common patterns. Personalities emerged and started to show similarities. Just like we categorize people in society and label them based on their socio-economic status, I found that people’s driving behaviors could be categorized as well. Sure some people are in nicer cars, but this time, income level did not determine how far one could excel before another on the road to nowhere.

As it turns out, the road is a great equalizer. As in life, people behind the wheel are driven by their ambition, frustration, and others who set the pace. I can see it in how they drive and will share with you my insights. I hope you’ll join me on this journey in my bLAuto. I will share with you humor, pathos, tips and tricks, of course the occasional bitch session, and even offer what I hope will be educational information.

Thanks for joining me on this road trip! I welcome your comments.