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08/25/2002 Entry: "Drive tough or go home"

I love LA. That being said I HATE LA drivers. Hands down, LA has the highest percentage of shitty drives of any place I've ever been in my life. And that holds a lot of weight because I grew up in Bradenton Florida which is home to about 85% retirees. These are the people that drive 35mph all the time. On Freeways, and in parking lots. They make left hand turns from right hand turn lands and get flustered when people honk at them for it. They drive for 35 miles with their turn signal on because they are too deaf to hear it, too blind to see it, or because they know sooner or later they are going to make a right they just can't remember how far down the street they want is. These are the people that come to complete stops on the road in order to read speed limits signs, and who can't see the road all the time because the stearing wheel is in the way. They are old, crazy, and have no idea what they are doing. Yes, they are terrifying, and Los Angeles drivers are worse.

The thing that gets me most about drivers in LA is that all of them know full well they are putting everyone elses lives at risk, they just don't care. They are all convinced they are the most important thing on the road, and everyone else should conform to them. That is bad when it's one person. When every car around you is doing their own thing and unwilling to consider what anyone else is doing, it's gets real bad real quick. A few of the worst things I've noticed are:

- Changing lanes. In the rest of the world, when you want to change lanes, you put on your blinker, and everyone around you knows you are getting into that lane so they avoid the space right next to you until you do get over. In LA, when you put on your blinker, the guy in the lane next to you SPEEDS UP, as if to say "you aren't getting in front of me" and assumes you will just get into the lane behind him. Problem is, the guy be hind me sees your blinker and does the same thing. This sucks for very obvious reasons. The result is that no one uses their blinker because they are sure you won't let them in. So you have people swerving in front of you at the last second from one side, and someone refusing to let you out of their way from the other side. No good.

- Turning lanes. The middle lane, often called the turning lane, is the same size as all the other lanes for a reason. That's because the idea is, you pull into it and wait to be able to turn, thereby allowing everyone else to keep driving. Well, in LA, everyone drives GIANT SUVs, and apparently no one ever told them about this lane. It's as if everyone thinks they only can use half of it. So they want to turn, start to merge into the turn lane, and then just stop halfway there. With their giant cars still sticking most of the way in the left lane, traffic comes to a complete halt. If they got 5 more feet into the turning lane, everyone else would be fine, but that isn't ever considered.

- Pulling out of driveways. Or parking lots, or whatever. No one looks. Oncoming traffic? What is that? People assume there is no one coming and just pull out accordingly, when in fact, most of the time there's TONS of people coming, who all have to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the dude pulling out. I've seen more people get rear ended because of this than anything else. And of course, they jerk who pulls out and causes the chaos never looks back to see what he's just done.

- Cell phones. Everyone has one, and in every single case of people almost plowing into me for one reason or another, the other driver has had one hand on the phone, and been too busy talking to notice they almost killed me. Add a cell phone to any of the above situations and it's a zillion times worse. This just plays into the "what I'm doing is SO much more important that you" feeling I was talking about before. I can't wait for people to start selling those cell phone jamming devices, I'm going to get one installed on my car in a second and block out all transmissions for a good block around me.

All that being said, I do have to admit that I have one of the biggest of all SUVs, a ford Bronco, and a cell phone, but I really, really go out of my way to fuck up other peoples day because of that. I'll pull over and stop before driving and holding my phone, and would rather circle around a block than hold up traffic.

I don't think that it's going to get any better because of this, I just felt like bitching.

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