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Los Angeles, CA Driving Tips and Experiences

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Is a car necessary in Los Angeles?
Must have
Nice to have
You can get by without
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Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA Driving Tips
Los Angeles is known for its mind-boggling stop and go traffic. It seems that no matter what time of day it is, or what day or the week it is, the traffic is mind-numbing. The best way to deal with driving in the Los Angeles traffic is audio books. A good, gripping mystery by an author like John Grisham or Mary Higgins Clark can be entertaining, makes the time go faster and the traffic at least a teeny bit more tolerable. Another useful suggestion is to keep the radio tuned to an AM news station for regular traffic updates, particularly if you are driving during the rush hours of Monday through Friday. Road improvement works are frequent so check on the Internet for news of those, too. Most important thing to know about driving in the Los Angeles area is stay off your cell phone! Talking and/or texting while driving is illegal and California and the fines are steep. Truly not worth it!
Los Angeles, CA Buying Tips
If you are going to buy a car in Los Angeles, first check and compare car insurance rates for the make and model you want to buy or lease. Car insurance is notoriously expensive in this traffic-clogged, massive city. And, unfortunately, this is a city where a car is absolutely necessary. Los Angeles is huge and sprawling and public transportation is seriously lacking. This isn't like Boston, Chicago or New York with subways zipping everywhere - it is miles and miles and miles of intense traffic and multiple-land highways. Driving distances can be lengthy so a car with good gas mileage should be a major point of consideration when looking at a car to buy or lease. And, with the huge amounts of time you could be spending sitting in your car in traffic, driver comfort is another thing to look at.
Favorite driving memory
My favorite memory of a driving experience in the greater Los Angeles area was of having a very early dinner at a nice restaurant in Santa Monica then getting in the car and driving along Pacific Coast Highway (101) from Santa Monica to north of Malibu. Our car is a Maserati Ghibli and it is an insanely fun car to drive. Without all the usual Los Angeles heavy stop-and-go traffic, it was good to let the car "stretch its legs" on a relatively quiet Sunday evening. Since it the end of a weekend and, for California, a cold-ish winter day, there was not much traffic. Once we rounded the curve from Santa Monica, we were able to have a cruisey drive along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. It was fun looking at the fancy neighborhood and posh houses of Malibu and then the gorgeous stretches of open beach along the ocean. As the sun began to set, it was one of those absolutely blissful drives that stays in your mind.
Favorite road
Pacific Coast Highway (101) from Santa Monica north. The Pacific Coast Highway (101) is one of California's iconic drives, running along the coast for miles. During the weekend, Pacific Coast Highway can be absolutely clogged with slow-moving traffic, tourists, surfers, beach-goers, residents and people just wanting a drive along the coast. Find a quiet time, like an early weekend afternoon or early evening, and the drive can actually be a bit relaxing. As you leave Santa Monica and head north, the houses on the left (the coast side) become grander and grander until you reach the famous Malibu Beach area and the Malibu Colony, home of countless movie stars and celebrities. Continue driving north beyond Malibu and the coast opens up with wide, wild open stretches of the ocean pounding the shore. Find a way to make the drive on a full-moon night and it is a drive you will never forget!
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA Driving Tips
I would tell other drivers in this city that there exists an unwritten rule in this city; "Two on Red." Because we live in antiquated times without left turn signals, or roundabouts for that matter, we are left with the daunting task of turning left on a single green light. Here, to manage this gap in city management and planning, we overcome the tragedy by insisting that two cars turn left when the green light turns red.
Los Angeles, CA Buying Tips
The best advice on the matter of car purchasing in Los Angeles is that you should probably move. Here, it is necessary to own a vehicle that is compact, otherwise you'll waist the years that remain of your youth attempting to parallel park on Runyon Canyon while a Vegan CrossFitter throws cage-free eggs at your car for your selfish and immoral decision to own a vehicle that requires gas. However, if you decide to purchase a compact car, remember that fuel/moral-efficient choice comes at a cost. Remember the reason you came to this city? It doesn't matter what for, you've got to be an Uber driver now. If you can't fit drunk kids in, you can't get paid. This didn't make any sense, you should just go with the compact car. Go ahead, trade-in your dreams.
Favorite driving memory
Driving in Los Angeles is often compared to combat, where survival and attention are paramount. In this type of environment, it would be difficult to recall "my favorite memory from driving in this city" other than one where I am actually leaving the city. However, without resting too much on cynicism, the Pacific Coast Highway offers some of the most wonderful and exquisite views in the world. It just takes three hours to go two miles on it. We Los Angelinos are mocked for our lack of Public Transportation, and our city government desperately attempts to convince its residents to use what form of it that does exist. Yet, we are the bastion of car culture! How could we forego the classical sun-soaked breezy journey that most, if not all of us, or are forefathers, came to this city for in the first place. If I am to put up with the tourists, the aggressive police force, the traffic, the smog, the prohibition against grills on patios, then why in God's name would I submit to public transportation as well? For the modern LA resident, the car is our second home. Like the returning Veteran who yearns for combat, my favorite memory from driving in this city is sitting on the 10/110/405 interchange, cursing all who surround me, and sweating from my sun-soaked and breezy life.
Favorite road
Wilshire. Wilshire is my favorite road to drive on because I love the scenery of the furious and the frustrated. See, only on Wilshire can you combine the majestic views in Santa Monica, with the putrid odor of Downtown LA.