Your Guide to Driving in LA: Top 10 Tips for Navigating the Roads
LA TRAFFIC! Is it really that bad?!? I wish it wasn't...but yes.
Most of us are aware that Los Angeles doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to driving. Just the two words "LA Traffic" in general relays a negative connotation.
After sharing that I was finally making the big move, I expected a simple "Congratulations, you're going to love it" type of reaction. Instead, the number one response I received was, "Don't you know the traffic is terrible?"
Yes, I did know the traffic would be bad, but that would never stop me! I actually like driving most of the time to have alone time to clear my mind or sing.
Well, now that I am basically a pro at driving in Los Angeles (not quite), I want to share my tips I have gathered over the last couple of months of living here.
1. Don't use your cellphone: As of January 1, you can get a ticket for using your phone without a hands-free device. This means you can't even touch your phone to read directions or play music.
2. Buy a phone mount: Find one that attaches to your dashboard while you drive. I bought a magnetic rose gold one that connects to my air vent and magnetizes to the back of my phone. You can see your driving directions right in front of you. And of course, it is trendy and will keep you safe!
3. Get acclimated to turning left on red: mostly all the time. There are not left turn signals in LA that are green long enough for everyone to get through. So, after the light is red or you are yielding at a green light, at least two cars go through while it switches to red. Don't worry...this is normal...and the drivers behind you will get very angry if you don't do this.
4. Allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination: Don't rely on how many miles you have until your destination, but instead the time. In traffic, it takes at least double the time to get anywhere!
5. Take time to figure out the best route to get to work/home: I had to explore several different ways for over a month to and from work until I found the best route.
6. L.A. motorcyclists drive in between lanes: Be very careful when switching lanes because motorcyclists drive in the middle and act like the own the road!
7. Know how to parallel park and read all parking signs: PERIOD! You will get a ticket if you disobey any signs or if you don't pay the meter.
8. Find if there is free parking before you go somewhere: Almost everywhere you go in LA you have to pay for parking...even at some LA Fitness locations that I pay to be a member of! It's insane! I typically search what restaurants, gyms, or stores have free or validated parking before I choose which location to go to. Parking is always a constant struggle.
9. No one can drive in the rain: People drive even slower and the traffic is even worse when it rains. I moved during the rainy season, so I experienced this very often.
10. BE AGGRESSIVE but NICE: You need to drive aggressive or you will never get across an intersection in traffic. This means you need to pull out in between cars when trying to make a left off side streets, because both sides will never be compeltely clear. Maybe I am just a friendly person, but I still always wave to people when they let me in. It seems that people do that less frequently here...but hey oh well!