AN L.A. NEWBIE ON THE ROAD
I was born in Cali but we moved east when I was 7 and I lived in the DC area for over 25 years. I moved to L.A. recently and these are my observations so far about driving in SoCal.
- •TRAFFIC - Your whole world revolves around driving, planning for driving, avoiding driving, talking about driving, and so on. In fact, I could probably do a whole list just about driving. Oh wait, that's what I'm doing.
- •DIRECTIONS - I LOVE the use of "the" to describe freeways (also - freeways! we don't use that word back east). In DC, I would say, "take 495 west to 123 north," but here I specify, "take THE 101 east to THE 405 south" (good luck with that by the way). The use of THE really helps when you're emphatically giving directions - an art form in L.A.
- •CARS - Cars are serious business here. Daily I see Bentleys, Maseratis, Teslas, and cars I can't identify. (TBH, except for the logo, a lot of the ones I listed look like Hyundais to me.) In my time in DC, I don't think I ever saw a Bentley. And don't get me started on BMWs. Does the city just give you one after you've been here for a few years?
- •MOTORCYCLES - It may be legal to drive your motorcycle between lanes of traffic (which I've never seen on the east coast), but it must take nerves of steel. Have you seen how people drive here?!?! (Honestly they drive the same as people everywhere but my point is the same.)
- •LEFT HAND TURNS - Specifically in intersections. A) Why aren't there left turn arrows in all of the busiest intersections? B) You don't need them because you kids know how to get out there. C) Never drive back east. It will drive you BONKERS that people don't get out in the intersection.
- •GOOGLE MAPS - God bless 'em. I have seen SO much of L.A. as a result of Google trying to find me the shortest route around traffic. I start to feel sorry for the residential neighborhoods that Google sends me (and everyone else) through BUT then I remember they live in million dollar mansions high above my apartment.
- •80 TO STOPPED - When the freeway is wide open, we all go as fast as we can (65 mph speed limits!), because OMG it's wide open; but I'm always prepared to go from 80 to 0 in mere seconds no matter when or where because it's not IF just WHEN. (Shaking my fist at the 101 and the 405...)