driving in los angeles

A Passive Aggressive List of All the Bad Driving Habits We Should Leave in 2019 (List-cember #4)

We are nearing the end of a decade.

Thus, when the ball drops this New Years Eve, that feeling of potential and newness will undoubtedly be a little magnified. We might be inspired to try new things, make big changes, and find exciting ways to kickstart 2020.

In that spirit, I thought I would mention something we should leave in 2019. It’s something that I think has scarred this decade (and many before it), and something I believe we can only benefit from eradicating, both from our year, our decade, and ultimately, our world.

I am of course referring to bad driving.

I personally do a lot of driving, so it could be argued that I’m hyper-sensitive/completely fed up/a borderline road rage-aholic, but I also think there are things that simply need to stop.

Maybe you’ll agree with me, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll feel personally attacked, I don’t know. Regardless, let us all take a deep, cleansing breath and DO BETTER.

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1) When changing lanes or making a turn, turn on your damn blinkers.

2) When you’ve completed said turn or lane change, turn OFF your damn blinkers.

3) Also, in regards to said turn—JUST TURN. You can do it. Just crank that wheel and step on that gas. Go!

4) Stop texting and driving. Seriously. It’s dumb, you’re not “better” at it than other people, and there is absolutely nothing important enough to put every single driver, including yourself, at risk.

5) When the light turns green, GO. As in NOW.

6) ESPECIALLY on green arrows. If you are the first car in a line of cars waiting to turn on a green arrow, the moment that light turns green I need you to drive as if the car behind you is on fire.

7) Stop at stop signs. This one seems pretty obvious but, you know, APPARENTLY IT’S NOT.

8) Merge like a gentleman. I get it. Merging sucks. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. Just wait your turn, take your turn, and then we can all move on.

9) Drive faster. I understand there is a speed limit. I respect the speed limit. I don’t always obey it, but I respect it. You should too. And by that I mean, at least drive the speed limit. I’ve got things to do, I’m sure you’ve got things to do, so why not drive faster than the powerwalking senior who just passed us?

10) Drive slower. I get it, time is money and traffic is awful. But weaving in and out, speeding down the shoulder or a bike lane, or just driving 30 or 40 miles an hour over the speed limit does not make you cool, or in any way make me feel like you are more important than me. Again, just respect the speed limit, and maybe the lives of your fellow drivers (and peds!)

11) Do not slam on your breaks unless it is absolutely necessary. Examples of things that are not absolutely necessary: being nosy about an accident on the side of the road, realizing you just passed a cop, seeing a billboard, trying to wake up your friend in the passenger’s seat, dropping a french fry.

12) Get over for service vehicles. When an ambulance, firetruck or police car has their sirens on, pull over. As in alllll the way over.

13) Park in between the lines. They are not suggestions, they are requirements, y’all.

14) Turn your lights on. The sun is down, you are now a ghost death machine, take a second and turn your lights on, please.

15) This might be specific to Southern California drivers, but rain is NOT a sign of the apocalypse. So while caution is recommended, a complete and total forfeit of all driving abilities is not.

16) Don’t litter. Or, written another way, stop throwing shit out the window of your car.

17) Say thank you. A wave, a nod, a grateful burst of eye contact is all I ask. Something that says, “hey, I noticed you were a decent human who let me make the driving maneuver I was hoping to make, may we both live out the rest of our day peacefully!”

18) Approach the limit line. Hey, it’s me, behind you. This light is never going to change unless you pull forward and activate the sensor. So please, for the love of everything, pull up.

19) Speaking of pulling up, if you are making a left hand turn, PULL OUT INTO THE INTERSECTION. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT WAIT BEHIND THE LINE UNTIL THE LIGHT TURNS RED AND THEN TURN, LEAVING THE REST OF US STUCK AT THE LIGHT.

20) Speaking of speaking of pulling up, when parallel parking, PULL. THE. HELL. UP. There is no reason for there to be half a car length in front and/or behind you. Pull up close to that car and leave room for, I don’t know, EVERYONE ELSE, who might want to park on this street.

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Wow. That felt good.

I think I just added a year or two to my life (and saved money on therapy) by getting that off my chest.


 

Check out more List-cember posts here.

In the World of Driving

I drive a lot. As in most of my work day is spent behind the wheel of my adorable Saturn Ion, dancing to my iPod and judging the way other people drive. It’s very peaceful, very mind clearing, and at times, very curse word inducing.

If I were to describe my driving attitude, I would say, “sassy and upbeat, with waves of selective road rage.”

Unlike most people in the valley, traffic doesn’t bother me. I submitted to its brake light walls of doom a long time ago, and found a way to slip into a happy state of delirium when I find myself in a cluster of honks and middle fingers.

For me, it’s something much simpler than rush hour that will morph my clapping hands into fists, raised in the air, waving at the ignorance and bad choices, and that is unfathomable stupidity. Essentially, a bad driver changes me from the upbeat, awkward high school dance chaperon, bobbing my head in the corner to a current pop hit that I’m trying to understand, into the gym teacher who finds a kid with a now broken leg, stuck in a basketball hoop, because he and his friends thought it would be cool to dunk a human.

Becoming a licensed driver requires the passing of a series of tests. 2 written, 1 driven. Now, you can study for the written, and practice for the driven for as long as you need to ensure that thumbs up from the grumpy tie behind the counter, but you never have to prove that you are in fact competent in making at least decent decisions in your everyday life behind the wheel.

Chances are, if tested, the answer to “What do you do when you’re passing an off-ramp on the freeway and you realize that you were supposed to take it?” would not be “Slam on my brakes to get over, causing utter chaos behind me, and then decide that I waited too long and retain a speed of 30 miles per hour as I approach the next off-ramp, to guarantee that I don’t miss it.”

Bad drivers might also have difficulty answering questions like:

 

“You’re waiting to turn left and you believe you have an adequate amount of time to turn before the oncoming car arrives at the intersection, you:

a) Double check the crosswalk for pedestrians and turn

b)Turn really fast to ensure that you make it and swerve around the pedestrian you didn’t see

c)Check the crosswalk and inexplicably wait 15 more seconds before turning, barely escape a collision, and send the oncoming driver into a full blown panic attack.

 

“What do you use blinkers for?”

a) To signify that I am turning, changing lanes, or calling dibs on a parking spot

b) Not sure, I turn whenever I want. Maybe I’ll change lanes out of the blue and cause you to slam on your brakes, or maybe I’ll approach an intersection in which you’re checking for clearance to turn right and you’ll see me and think that you need to wait, but really I’m going to slow down at the last minute and have the light change to green, so you get to sit and watch 15 pedestrians crawl across the crosswalk before you turn.
“When is it appropriate to honk?”

a) To make my presence known to another driver who clearly does not see me

b) When I’m in traffic and no one, including me is moving and I’m angry about it

c) To let my friend know, every few seconds, that I have arrived at his house.

d) To curse at the universe whenever I see a Prius.

e) To ensure the person in front of me is aware that the light has been green for .0001 milliseconds.

(The answer to this one is D)

 

“How should you park your car in a parking space?”

a) Between the lines

b) All the way to one side of the spot with two of my wheels resting on top of a line

c) Straddling one of the lines

d) With my eyes closed, until it feels like I must be somewhere in the vicinity of the lines

e) Within centimeters of my neighbor’s door to make them regret eating their Cinnabon.

“If the speed limit on a city street is 40, what speed should you go?”

a) 40 (plus a little bit over because I’m not perfect)

b) 20, because I hate timeliness and want to ruin the schedule of everyone else’s day

c) 60, because rules don’t define me and I want everyone to know how important I am

d) I don’t know, I’m lost and I keep speeding up and slowing down

 

Yes, these drivers will always exist. No, there is nothing we can do about it. Except for wave your first and make your angry vocabulary more colorful.

Finally, a quick note to every driver, ever. Always, ALWAYS, give the thank you wave, you animals.