L.A. Can't Drive » Tales from a San Diego Commuter

Tales from a San Diego Commuter

Here’s a little anecdote that someone e-mailed me regarding his experiences commuting to and from L.A. from San Diego. Justice was served in one, though the second tid-bit was what we would all agree as being a close call:

I was born and raised in San Diego, recently got a job up here in
Santa Monica as a 3D animator. Now, I have visited LA many times
before I had this job, but I never really had to LIVE here and
experience it. It was almost a culture shock when I first got here
seeing the difference in driving quality, even in the same state!

I commute to San Diego every weekend, and thanks to my job and my
relatives, I seem to find 90% of my time on the road. And boy have I
seen some crooked sh*t.

My personal favorite being this lady clearly bound for something
important. On my way up to LA, on the 5 near the San Onofre inspection
facility, this dumb biatch gets 3 inches from rear-ending me and
flashing high-beams to get me out of the way. Of course this wouldn't
have made any difference, since the entire freeway was packed. So of
course, she veers 3 lanes to the right, nearly hitting 4 other people.
Only to find herself 2 cars behind me when she got back over. She
ended up behind me a few miles later and tried to pass me in a carpool
lane that was labeled by one of those big bright LED signs as being
closed... plus there were those bendy reflectors to keep people from
getting in. But this dumb sh*t plows right through several of them
before trying to switch back into my lane! But there's a happy ending,
a CHP officer was waiting in that lane just a few hundred feet up.

Oh and of course this other time driving up there this guy in a really
really torn up car driving like a maniac blows by me in the far right
lane at maybe 120 or so. I said to myself "of anyone I've seen do
wreckless shit he scares me the most because his car is torn up which
means he's probably a terribly underskilled driver to boot. I bet he's
gonna hit someone". Of course, about 30 minutes later I see that same
freakin car and another car on the side of the freeway. Luckily nobody
was hurt, but damn I called that one. Was in such a hurry and only
ended up probably hours behind where he could have been.

5 Responses to “Tales from a San Diego Commuter”

  1. I have to disagree with you when you say LA can’t drive, especially someone who’s from San Diego. I, myself, am a native San Diegan…and let me tell you, and believe me, I hate to admit this, but San Diegan’s are the rudest drivers I’ve come across…It is in San Diego and not in LA where putting your signal to turn for some reason means “scoot up and don’t let him/her get in your lane” for the driver who’s on the lane next to you…this was even observed by a peace officer who was teaching the traffic school class I had to attend for the (ONLY) ticket I’ve ever had (yes, BEFORE I moved to LA and had that San Diego mentality- speed like a mother, don’t signal, cut off people…etc). It’s very easy to go off on LA drivers but you have to understand one thing: LA is a HUGEEEEEEEEEEE county and you have all kinds of drivers in it…good, bad, considerate, and non-considerate. In west-LA, such as Santa Monica, I do have to agree w/ you that the yuppies there think they own the roads. I guess driving mercedes and beemers make empower them…whatever…but not all over it’s that way and in the freeway..I have to tell you that I see a hell of a lot more people signaling or letting other drivers get in the lane when someone signals up here in LA than I have EVER seen in San Diego.

    In addition, it’s kind of unfair to point out all the tailgaiting b/c unfortunately, LA is so DAMN crowded that sometimes, you can’t help but tailgate! Remember, angelenos do not have the luxury that us San Diegans have had up to now with SPACE on the road. Furthermore, b/c San Diegans aren’t used to driving “w/ traffic” as it’s said 24/7, they CAN’T drive with traffic! So many times have I come close to slamming into someone’s rear b/c they suddenly slam on the breaks when they see someone slow down in front of them…100 feet ahead!!!! And no, I don’t tailgate, which is why I’ve been able avoid rear-ending anybody.

    Furthermore, all the issues you’ve described I can honestly say I’ve experienced them ALL in SAN DIEGO. But does that make ALL san diegans sh*tty drivers?… No! So let’s stop generalizing and saying that LA drivers can’t drive. That is simply NOT true. Like anywhere else, you find all-types of drivers here…But you know (laughing) somehow I’m not surprised by your generalization since in San Diego, we live to hate LA. I’m just glad I’ve had the opportunity to live up here and learn that LA isn’t so bad after all.
    I’m sorry for all your bad experiences, but even you have to admit, you’ve seen sh*tty drivers in our beloved San Diego as well 😉

  2. I appreciate the feedback :). Yes, all generalizations are false, including this one. And yes, L.A. is so huge that if you go all the way out to Claremont, you will tend to get more considerate drivers…I’ll agree with that. There are quite a few readers from San Diego who complain about bad drivers in their city/county. I can only go by my limited experience down south as well as what I’ve seen from living in New York City for 10 years. Now THAT’s a city that’s more crowded with narrower roads than L.A., AND the drivers, though more erratic, certainly don’t tailgate as much….and believe it or not, they even signal more. Read my post about New York City drivers for more on my theory on why they have better drivers there than we do here in L.A. Nevertheless, it’s true that bad drivers exist everywhere. Perhaps a nationwide mandatory driving test should go into effect.

  3. San Diegans are the dumbest and most inconsiderate drivers ever when compare to OC and LA. For la drivers…have you ever got stuck behind that one person driving in the far left lane (commonly referred to as THE FAST LANE)? Well guess what…San Diegans never got the memo. San Diego is full of people that drive on the far left lane going 65-70 mph. This is the most irritating thing ever.

    If you don’t believe me…drive north to OC or LA from San Diego…you will see a San Diegan doing this and wonder why everyone giving them dirty looks as they get passed.

    Or drive down to San Diego from OC or LA and once u hit San Diego…you will notice these idiots driving on the left going the same speed as the other 3 cars to their right. So irritating…

  4. I try not to take it personal. Lets face it; the traffic sucks and it is crowded. People are victims of their circumstances and act according to the situation. I try to give people a pass…and we all should. Getting mad about tail-gating during rush hour is “hamster wheel” thinking as far as i’m concerned.


    Going south on I-5 and and the back up, waiting to get on the 52 is a great example. People fly around the outside lanes and then “cut in line”; which drives me crazy.

    Coming off the split; people insist on staying in the outside lane and driving parallel to the cars on their right. Then they wonder why they get the finger by other commuters.

  5. Yep, we call that leapfrogging. If everyone waited their turn, there would be less congestion and certainly less vindictive behavior. But we can dream, right?

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