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Driving in Los Angeles: A Survival Guide



Los Angeles is one of the most congested transit systems in the nation. Most people don’t know it is called the “deadliest city for traffic deaths” in the nation. We are legendary for our traffic, and we deserve our reputation. As anyone who lives here knows, it can easily take you an hour just to drive a few miles.

Staying smart can keep you out of most trouble when you’re navigating the roads of Los Angeles. Keep reading to learn how to survive driving in LA.

Watch Out For Passing Motorcycles

Every city suffers from motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic. LA is one of the most notorious cities for lane splitting. This is when a motorcycle drives on the dotted lines between two lanes. Motorcyclists do this to blow by traffic. You should keep an eye out for them because many daredevils do this.

Some motorcyclists like to pop wheelies while they do this dangerous maneuver. The good news is they typically modify their bikes to be extra loud. Drivers have learned to listen for the loud motorcycle sounds as an early warning system.

Take the Opportunity and Don’t Hesitate

The roads in LA do not favor those who hesitate. When you are trying to merge, it is vital to make your move. If you wait too long, you might get cut off or rear-ended. This is a normal part of LA driving culture. Other drivers expect it from each other. Don’t confuse this with being dangerous yourself.

Turning left is also a risky maneuver. In California, 221 of the 444 of the state’s most dangerous intersections are in LA. It will often take minutes for a chance to turn left. Make sure to take your time. Once there is an opening, do not slow down in the intersection. There is a fine line between cautious and timid. If you slow down or show hesitation, it can cause an accident. When in doubt, you should avoid taking the turn altogether.

It is safer to use intersections that give a green light arrow. These are arrows that stop all traffic except for those making a left-hand turn. Take advantage of having the right of way this traffic signal gives you. Be mindful of the other drivers even during a left turn. Some drivers will try to force their way into traffic without the right of way.

Avoid Bad Parts of Town

The roads in the bad parts of town have more potholes and issues because these areas receive less funding. City maintenance workers also avoid them due to their reputations. It’s always a good idea to steer clear of anywhere you don’t feel safe, as you don’t want to break down in them.

If you don’t know where you’re going and you end up in a bad area, you can also become the victim of crime. In 1995, one family made a wrong turn down a one-way street and their child was killed when gang members opened fire on their vehicle.

Plan Out Your Routes Ahead of Time

The maps feature on your phone will leave you disappointed in Los Angeles. Map apps don’t account for the crazy traffic. These apps typically just calculate the route by the shortest distance. It is better to plan out your route and stick to major roadways.

Left-hand turns get recommended by the map apps too often. Anyone who is a veteran of LA’s roads knows these are not a quicker way to get somewhere. Drivers should avoid places like the freeway. The freeway is filled with congestion and wild driving. More experienced residents of LA still hesitate to use the freeway for this reason.

Don’t Skimp on Good Insurance

Make sure to get proper insurance. Hundreds of people die every year in LA car accidents. Thousands more get seriously injured on LA’s streets.

Accidents are a common part of LA’s congestion. Many people even find themselves needing the help of an attorney. Follow this link if you need more information from a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

Surviving LA’s Roads

Those with experience driving in Los Angeles give a few common tips. Don’t take it personally that people seize every gap in traffic. This is to be expected. Plan your routes, and don’t hesitate to take your right of way. Drivers will take their chances to shave a few minutes off their travel time. Keep your head on a swivel so they don’t cost you more than that. Always stay alert if you’re traveling around Los Angeles.

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