I have lived in Los Angeles for almost 20 years and it is a great city to live in. Having been brought up on the Northeast there is a certain bias about what people think about the west coast and LA in particular. However , whatever your geographic persuasion is, two items are very apparent when you move to the city of Angels.
Folks in LA have no clue in driving in bad weather conditions and driving in LA is a total mess.
Lets build on point one. Everyone talks about the car culture in this part of the world but what they do not say , this is based on great weather. Sure 300 days a year, this sun is out, the blue sky is stunning and it 80 degrees.
So what we see on TV, the news, movies and the like are cool cars being driven by cool people. They are heading to the beach, the mountains or cruising in Hollywood. If you want to fantasize this is the image you should choose. Here is the reality when bad weather hits.
*The major freeways flood like crazy. Poor design, poor flood control, poor drainage leads to massive puddles, potholes and lane markers that are impossible to see.
There are no or very few lights on the freeways so either no visibility or poor visibility is compounded by the dark. You basically point your car forward and follow the car in front of you hoping they know where they are going.
If you are traveling on local streets it is just as bad as they flood in just about every wet condition. The traffic lights are not synchronized so there is no pattern for stop and go traffic. Travel one block at a time and stop. For example the stretch on Sunset Blvd from the Pacific Palisades to the 405 freeway during rush hour can take one hour or more. This is about a 3 mile drive.
* LA car mavens do not change their driving patterns in inclement weather. Fog or rain, its still driving 70 miles an hour and up. Traffic jams drive fast , tailgate and change lanes without signaling.
School bus stops, drive through the flashing red lights on bus. Local streets, freeways it does not matter, the rule of thumb is you are in charge, courtesy is not a word in the dictionary.
* Now for a Boston guy driving west , you could make the trip to Western Massachusetts which boarders New York state is 2.5 to 3 hours. In LA , you could still be in LA and not make it the the outskirts in 2.5 to 3 hours. A trip to San Diego which is about 150 miles can take 4 hours. What this means is LA is massive, the freeways are massive, the traffic is massive and an north east driver does know this no matter what he reads. You have to experience the sheer vastness of the freeway system and streets just to appreciate it.
There is plenty more we can write about LA traffic but let’s end it by saying , bring a cigar if you inclined to smoke in your car and just enjoy it.