this life in LA: driving

You know, I really don’t like driving. I’m not sure when this realization actually set in, but I do everything I can to not have to drive. If I’m not the only person in my car, you can usually find me in the passenger’s seat.

Upon arriving in LA last year, I had many initial scary thoughts about driving in the infamous Los Angeles traffic. I received much advice/consolation when vocalizing these thoughts, and two ideas stood out to me so much then that I still think about them now:

1. Britney Spears drives in LA and handles the traffic. This means anyone can.
2. Make left turns just after the traffic light turns red. Or you’ll never make a left turn.

I was thrown into driving with my first job, and couldn’t even use my own car then. This was upsetting because I bought my car specifically for the move to Los Angeles: a 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback. I love my car. Sub-compacts are the way to go out here. I can park in the compact parking spots. I have every reason to internally yell at the drivers who park their SUVs in the compact parking spots. I can parallel park without error every time. And in almost any available spot. And there I was driving around a Chrysler minivan. I accidentally cut off my fair share of cars while driving up and down the 5 in that whale. But I digress.

These days, driving here doesn’t phase me. I hate the interstates and avoid them at all costs, and I still do not particularly enjoy driving, but I’ve become used to it out here. My car really did turn out to be the perfect vehicle for LA driving. I take it through Hollywood during rush hour every morning on the commute to work. I’ve learned which roads are the best during rush hour and which roads I am guaranteed to find too much traffic. I am fairly familiar with the area from Burbank all the way down to Santa Monica. If a road is blocked somewhere, I know my way around enough to get back on route. My experiences have also taught me all of this:

1. Drivers switching lanes take entirely too long to merge all the way over. When they are moving to a turning lane, they almost never make it all the way over and traffic has to slow down to drive past them.
2. Do not drive down residential streets during rush hour on trash day. You will hit a trash can. Your side view mirror will lose its back. You will pay $53 to replace it.
3. Side streets are your friends. They are still crowded during rush hour, but you can still get places faster.
4. Make sure you have a live traffic GPS so you can avoid the 101 before ever getting on it.
5. Sometimes the 101 is faster than the Cahuenga Pass. You will always choose the wrong one.
6. Pedestrians have the right of way even during rush hour and jaywalking on Hollywood Boulevard.
7. Driving north on Bronson just before Hollwood gives a very clear view of the coveted Hollywood sign. I don’t care about the Hollywood sign.

I’d like some more additions to this list. Anyone?