This Summer, I decided to live at my hometown and travel to and from Los Angeles for my internship and work. Despite the long hours of work and travel, I have learned different things about traffic and driving on the freeway, to which I hope fellow drivers and visitors to the "fabulous" city will read and understand.
1. Times Where Traffic is "Light"
When coming into LA through the valley or Inland Empire, it is best to leave early in the morning between 5 and 6 A.M. in order to beat the majority of traffic. It cannot be no later that 6 A.M. If someone decides to leave at 6:01 A.M., chances are he or she is going to be in bumper to bumper traffic compare to someone leaving at 5:59 A.M. If a driver does not have to be in Los Angeles at 9 A.M., it is best to leave between 11 A.M. and 1 P.M. to avoid the morning traffic. Traveling at night to Los Angeles may be easy because the majority of traffic on the freeways are people heading to the Valley or Inland Empire. The best times to travel to Los Angeles are between 6 P.M. and 7 P.M. If one wants to leave Los Angeles, he or she should start driving after 9 P.M., unless it is on a Friday, in which one should drive after 10 P.M.
2. Slow Drivers
It is odd to admit that there are common cars that are known for being owned by slow drivers. Many include four cylinder cars like the Camry or an older 80s car. Despite having the left lane be the fast lane, you still encounter these drivers in these lanes. I also notice some trucks driving slow in the fast lane. Of course, there are trucks like Ford and Dodge that do have drivers that are at or above the average speed on the freeway, but I do encounter trucks like Toyota or Nissan. It does not make sense why these trucks are slow because they have a bigger engine than my Corolla and yet I still pass them. I feel that most owners of these trucks are guys who want to show that they are a men and that owning a truck gives them some sort of right of passage or faux balls for them to prove that they are men.
3. Fast Drivers
The fast drivers are mostly mini vans and Priuses. They can pass me and others going at ninety miles an hour compared to my eighty mile speed. Yes, there are people and cars that are known for driving fast, yet, for some reason, drivers of these particular cars are always the one that I see flying through the crowd.
4. Why There's Traffic?
The main reason that there is traffic is the fact that people put their breaks on. For slow drivers, they break the minute they see the car in front of them break even though they have a ten feet buffer and their speed is manageable enough to break later. Fast drivers also cause traffic as well. When a fast driver cuts someone off or tries to pass a slow driver, he or she immediately breaks to prevent from crashing into the car in front of them. With all these break lights occurring, it causes the traffic behind them to get worse because people have to break or do the same thing as the ones in front. This causes a chain and traffic forms.
5. Common Areas Where Traffic is
The common areas where the traffic is are usually on the 10 freeway near Downtown Los Angeles and the 405 in between the 10 and the 105. The 10 freeway is fine to a certain extent, particularly when one travels around Downtown Los Angeles. It is tough to get through as a result of people either making a transition from the 10 East to the 110 North - where most people go in order to enter Downtown through the side streets for Staples or for the museums. For the 405, traffic occurs as a result of the interchange from the 10 freeway and the 105 freeway. These areas are mostly congested for most of the day no matter what. If there is an accident or a stalled car, forget about it. A driver is not going to be able to get through within thirty minutes.
6. Put Extra Time aside for sudden traffic
If you have an important interview or a date with a drop dead gorgeous man - AKA your platonic gay boyfriend - which are on the other side of Los Angeles, add extra time on top of the planned time that Waze or Google Maps states. Most of the time, the arrival time from GPS systems end up adding time when one is stuck in traffic. To prevent a disaster in your career or your love life, add about thirty to an hour of extra time depending on where you are driving to or from. If you are driving from Santa Monica to Hollywood during rush hour, plan to put one and an hours to your travel time. That way you can take your time and maybe get a little lucky at getting a job or having your gay best friend pay for your avocado toast since all your money went towards gas for the travel.
7. The 405 is a Mess
The 405 is one of the worst places to be because there is always traffic for some reason. It may not be due to an accident or a stalled car. Instead, it may be due to to the fact that people are stopping and going or is could be "just because". Native Los Angeleans are still getting over the infamous Thanksgiving traffic jam from last year.
8. Side Street Can be an Alternate
While freeways may be a great way to travel home or work, people do have an option to try the side streets. They can be a blessing if you are trying to drive up North through the 405 because you can use Sepulveda Boulevard. However, the side streets may take more time than freeway. Most of the side streets have signals and stops signs one should obey in a sense, which takes up the extra time and then some. Even if the roads lack traffic signals or stop signs, they may be windy roads that may cause one to crash if he or she is driving at high speed.
9. Do Not Text
Please, for the love of GOD, do not text. Not only it is dangerous to be distracted by your phone, it also slows down traffic. As one looks at their phone and whatnot, he or she is cruising at a slow speed. As a result, the cars behind will have to slow down or even go around the driver. If a car behind someone goes in front of the driver the minute he or she look up, that driver will panic and put his or her breaks on, and thus, cause more traffic to slow down. It is annoying as a fellow driver to try to get home and have to be in behind someone who is not paying attention in front of them and either stay idle as everyone else moves or you suddenly break in front of me. Those stupid heart texts to you boo or side bitch can wait. Trust me.
10. Karma Can Get You
While driving back to my hometown or leaving my internship, I have seen incidents where karma has bite the asses off of buttheads or reckless drivers. When I was driving to Riverside during a holiday break in the wee hours of the night, a white Dodge Charger going at 110 miles per hour passes by me and cuts me off. I was going at an average speed of 80, which is okay to drive as long as you are not reckless around fellow drivers. The best part was the fact that a police car drove past me just ten seconds later. As I drove, I was able to watch the cop gain speed to this Dodge Charger and pull the driver over a minute later. In no time, the Dodge pulled order and was given a speeding ticket while I arrived at my house. This is also the same with other but heads who are impatient. I have seen other buttheads who would cut someone off in traffic only to end up stuck in a slow car lane while me and other drivers pass by. You may be sly at first, but karma will come back to you eventually and tackle you.
11. Murphy's Law on Lanes
There is always this saying where the lane next to you is going faster than your lane; yet, when you merge to that lane, the lane you just left is now the fastest lane. Why? Murphy's law. Basically, it is the fact that since people are moving to the one lane because they feel that it is faster than their lane, it causes that lane to gain more cars and thus more traffic while the slow lane loses cars and have more room. Word of advise, if you see no one moving to the other lane and your lane is slow, you can move over; however, if you see cars in front of you moving to the other lane, stay in your lane. More than likely your lane will lose cars and allow you to move up.
12. You can encounter Buttheads Who Won't let you pass them
The most annoying thing about driving in Los Angeles are encountering drivers who will not allow you to enter their lane. It is pretty annoying. You want to move over either because you have to or you need to move over due to an incident or accident up ahead and you have an asshole who will not allow you to pass them. These drivers are mostly white men in white cars for some reason. I mean, it is 2017, they should at least be up to date on common sense and understand that they need to share the road. I know the description is similar to this one guy who refused to let me into the lane despite having an accident a few feet from my car, but I feel his description is similar to fellow buttheads. I do not hear a female driver do it unless it is the daughter of a fellow butthead, yet, most of these daughters at least have a brain in some way and do not rely on other sources to make a decision. Unless it is money, then I do not know what to say.
Speeding is okay to a certain extent. Going eighty miles down a freeway is reasonable just as long as there is low traffic and a majority of people are going at the same speed. Yet, when there is moderate traffic in the morning or evening, there are people driving at eighty miles an hour, speeding through traffic that has an average speed of sixty miles and hour. I understand it is cool and everything to impress your girl or whoever to whiz by cars, but just know that you are pissing everyone else out. Mostly because you are slowing down traffic by cutting people off, which cause cautious drivers to put their brakes on and cause a chain. Plus, you may cause an accident, which may cause a even worse traffic.
14. Truck Drivers are Respectful
I notice a lot of experience truck drivers are the nicest drivers on the freeway. Most expert truck drivers are on the last two lanes to the right and they move to the left whenever they see a car trying to enter the freeway. As a result, you should give them respect in return. This includes not cutting them off since they have a hard time braking in time as well as not being too slow for them - to which they will flip you off and go around you. You will notice inexperience truck drivers because they are usually on the fast lane and trying to past you despite the fact that you are in a four cylinder car going at eighty miles an hour.
15. Do Not Rubberneck Someone
I have encounter people rubbernecking me during my driving times. Despite going at seventy or eighty miles an hour, these drivers are still on my and fellow drivers bumper. The best part is the moments when me and fellow drivers are driving down the freeway with a butthead just inches away from our bumpers while there are open lanes nearby. I do not know if this is their way of owning a lane, but then again there is a thing called braking suddenly and have the driver freak out and tumble in a crash. Unfortunately, some experts called this dangerous; yet, you sometimes wonder this.
16. Ode to Merging Lanes
When merging lanes, it can be a blissful or stressful time. There are moments where people are synch and merge in with ease. However, this is an ideal moment many of us have in our heads. Many times, we encounter butthead who will not allow us in (See #12) or you have one butthead who think he or she is at a higher level than everyone else and drives into the side of the road to cut the line and cut other drivers off. It can be funny to see, especially if it backfires and all the drivers who waited patiently prevent this person to enter the lane. Well done dude, you just got yourself the "Douchebag of the Day" award.
On top of everything - reckless drivers, slow drivers, traffic, break lights - everyone encounters some form of stress. Traffic can be tedious and cause a thirty minute drive to be a two hour stop and go duration. As a result, people become annoyed and try to rush through the process. I get it, you want to go to your relaxing couch and watch four hours of Netflix and sleep for two hours only to go back to the traffic going the other way. Yet, understand that you need to relax and breath when you are in traffic. Play some interesting music, talk to yourself, do breathing exercises. These activities may help ease the stress of traffic and can make your driving time relaxing at some point.