LA vs DC Traffic

Trip Start Jul 15, 2008
Trip End Jul 30, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We ventured out into LA traffic again today.  Once again we headed north toward Hollywood and Ventura County. 

I thought I would spend some time writing about LA traffic in comparison to DC traffic.  There are some subtle differences between the two that I believe are worth exploring.  So here we go:

Pat observed that in LA people seem to drive two speeds, fast and faster.  That is true in DC also with one very important difference.  The traffic here keeps moving.  In DC it stops in the middle of the highway for no apparent reason.  

In LA they use HOV and abide by the rules.  In DC they just use HOV.

In spite of all the traffic in LA they do not seem to tailgate the way the people do in DC.  However, there seems to be some kind of sport or contest in which you are driving in the far left lane and cut all the way across 4 lanes of traffic to exit the highway.  This happens in DC also but not as frequently and not at these speeds.  I will not be participating in that game.   

Motorcycles play by a whole different set of rules here.  I have seen motorcycles in DC weave between cars when the cars are stopped.  Here you can be driving along at 35mph with  cars to your left and right.  Here comes a motorcycle using the dotted white line as their own personal lane.  That can be somewhat un-nerving if you do not see it coming.

Speed limits here seem to be more of a recommendation than an actual rule.  Not that different from DC, with the exception of the volume of vehicles moving at speeds in excess of 70 mph.  Right lane to left lane everyone goes at least 5mph above the speed limit.  In DC there is always some one in the left lane going 10mph below the limit mucking up traffic.  I don't know how they keep those people off the road here, but I would like to find out and take the solution back east.

All in all I have been able to adapt to the driving.  It is difficult for me to drive above the speed limit since I never do that on highways back home.

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