About the Site | L.A. Can't Drive

About the Site

This is road rage gone digital. Los Angeles drivers can’t drive–plain and simple. Basic traffic laws and driving etiquette clearly do not apply in a town where the people seem to operate in their own little bubble, completely unaware or dismissive of others on the road. Call it what you will: self-entitlement, negligence, malaise, ignorance. My goal? To have mandatory driving tests randomly issued where drivers are eligible for selection after 6 years. Consider this jury duty for the road.

The author: A true bicoastalite who has driven all around the United States and has found that L.A. drivers are second only to New Jersey as to the worst drivers in this country.

Recently, L.A. Snark rated L.A. Can’t Drive #28 on a list of the top 50 L.A. blogs, and losangeles.about.com ranked us #5 on a list of 12. The site was also featured on various media outlets including KABC, CNN, KCAL9, L.A. Daily News, Seattle PI, The Marc Germain Show, Mancow, and most recently NBC.

Contact: mike at lacantdrive.com

Submissions: photos at lacantdrive.com

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Copyright (c) 2006 – 2010 L.A. Can’t Drive (lacantdrive.com)

79 Responses to “About the Site”

  1. Has anyone had the amazing difficulty of stopping at at 4-way stop? I must travel through 2 of these stops and it is so surprising how many times 2 cars will travel through the intersection, with other cars in all directions, or the blank stare of those in the other 3 directions when none move!?

  2. Mayleen, there are quite a few posts that deal with stop sign intersections. At one point, I used Charleville as a shortcut instead of traveling on Wilshire. That resulted in a myriad of encounters of people who have no clue or don’t care about how to navigate through stop sign intersections. Remembering that the person to your RIGHT has the RIGHT-of-way if both cars reach an intersection at the same time seems too much for a lot of these drivers to handle. As for two cars squeezing through at one time? That’s just typical L.A. impatience.

  3. I guess I get tired of telling people who complain about Californai drivers that the vast majority of those driving in California are transplants. To get two natives in the same room at the same time in an anomaly… that’s all

    a native californian

  4. I must say that I was amused by your nice blurb on the channel 4 news but I must echo what many have said about you…..YOU ARE NOT A NATIVE ANGELENO! The majority of people you are complaining about are NOT from here! Many people, like you are transplants. Yes, that means that you could have lived here for 21 years but did not grow up here which means you are NOT from here!

    If we were talking about the 70’s or even 80’s, that would be different, but when I meet a native Angeleno, we have a connection, a bond, we remember things before carpool lanes, cell phones, etc.

    The vast big group of people are from the entertainment field–wanna bees, studio workers, porn stars, people driving here illegally, etc. You yourself, are not from here, so before complaining about OUR driving, take a look at yourself, you did not grow up driving here as many Chicago natives, NYC natives did not grow up driving and thus are putting us Angelenos at risk!!!

  5. I’m not a native but I’ve been in cars with native drivers. I think LA drivers are hands down worse then NJ drivers. My all time favorite…the semi-circle turn. Does that make the car turn better?

  6. saw you on the news tonight. i actually did this a while back, taking pictures of bad drivers and blogging about them. that is, until this crazy guy followed me a few blocks pointing at my camera phone trying to pull me over. i can’t say i’m a perfect LA driver, but there are some pretty bad ones out there.

  7. To the chick above and others alike, stop with this “native angeleno” bullshit. Point is, there are still people home grown in LA that don’t know how to drive worth a damn.

    Your implied standard doesn’t account for the “native angeleno” 16-18 year old who tailgates or weaves in and out of lanes without signaling. Don’t act like you haven’t seen some.

    So get the fuck over yourselves. “Native angelenos” don’t know how to drive any better than transplants. As the guy said above, it’s about LA drivers. Whether transplant or native the point is there are fucks that don’t know how to drive and LA just so happens to be one of the worst places.

  8. Great site. Unfortunately, I learned about it from a friend who forwarded your site address to me along with the message about Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart being killed earlier today by someone running a red light.

    This shit has to stop. Perhaps instead of increasing City revenue through parking tickets a special task force should be assigned to crack down on people running red lights and stop signs. Do it once…$500. Twice…$1,000. Third time your license is suspended.

    I don’t agree that LA drivers can’t drive but I absolutely agree that many are unaware or dismissive.

  9. I am so glad you have this site.

    Even the police drive like crap. They don’t signal, they ride alone in the carpool lane, in and out of the double yellow lines to pass cars.
    Are they above the law ….They think so .
    They should be setting a good example not joining in on the problem but no they wear blue and that excuses them.And they wonder why they are disliked.

  10. If you want to get a good snapshot of LA driving, hang out at the corner of Lankershim and Magnolia in North Hollywood. This is probably the armpit of this entire area. Drivers constantly run the red light at that intersection. Crossing on the crosswalk, driver’s will yell at you to “hurry up %($*%!!” as they make a left or right turn – while talking or texting on their cellphone to the beat of music so loud that their entire car is shaking about to fall apart. Motorcyclists and cars like to go from 0-60 in 3 secs on Lankershim south past Magnolia till they hit the next light. Police? Well, there are these yellow-shirted ambasaddors who bike around looking important and empowered – totally useless in my opinion. The guys who drive around in black Escalades just laugh at them as they drive by talking on their cellphones. There’s a firestation a little ways north on Lankershim and one time I saw them come out with sirens and lights going, and this guy blocks them at the intersection of Magnolia and Lankershim cursing them out for “getting in his way”. I was crossing the crosswalk so I heard all this. Other than that “NoHo” is a lovely place!

  11. This blog is priceless. I’m moving to LA in two weeks and have never lived in the big city. I recently started making trips there to take care of a new apartment lease, and after four weekends of driving around LA, I feel like a new person. It’s like you’ve conquered a whole new level of existence after surviving LA highways and city streets. Kudos for an awesome blog. I’m subscribing for sure

  12. Lauren, congrats on the move out here, and best of luck with your endeavors. This blog definitely helped me deal with my frustrations with L.A. driving.

  13. HollywoodCommuter, I wouldn’t intentionally try to stop someone from passing me just to stop them from passing me, but if I’m in a 65-mph zone going consistently 65 mph in the left (or any) lane, I’m not going to go out of my way to change lanes just to allow someone who wants to go 80, 85, 90+ mph to pass me. The law says I have no obligation to do so (unless of course the other vehicle is a law enforcement or emergency vehicle with its emergency lights on, in which case I would have gotten out of its way long before it reached my position). LA freeways are not the German Autobahn and it is not necessary to yield the right of way to someone who thinks they have the right to ignore the speed limits based on the laws of physics, engineering, common sense, and the State of California due to their social status, lateness to an appointment, horsepower of their vehicle, belief they own the public roadways, or any other reason.

  14. I have to tell you, this blog is brilliant. I find myself totally dumbfounded by the parking/driving blunders of people in this city. I mean…common sense. Go fast in the fast lane. Go slow in the slow lane. Eyes on the road. Don’t merge into a busy lane at 15 MPH. You’d think it would be obvious. And I can’t say that I’m following the law when I blare my horn for 15 seconds straight, but someone’s gotta teach these people! Too bad they’re chatting on their cell phones and didn’t hear the honk…

    Anyway, keep it up, your commentary is hilarious, and I’m glad you’re catching these a-holes red handed!

  15. I have a question for you, now that I’ve perused the site a bit more…why do you blur the license plates? Surely it can’t be a legal issue, because other websites allow you to post the license plates of terrible drivers. Why not warn LA who these idiots are?

    Just wondering 😉

  16. Aubrey, we’ve actually vetted this issue pretty thoroughly. Until we find a lawyer that can draft a proposal that states that this site is a “newsworthy” site, it’s safer for us to protect private information (unless we’re dealing with commercial or municipal vehicles). We often do reveal some of the alphanumeric characters on select cases, but for the most part, we need to be conservative on what we show. Other sites may “allow” you to post license plates, but what they’re doing is probably illegal. Truth of the matter is very little case law exists for new media. If someone runs a red light and gets cited by a sworn officer, then that person gets fined, points on a license, etc. But what happens if that person somehow gets fired because his boss saw what happened on some random internet site? On top of that, this guy’s wife divorces him because she also finds out what happened on the internet and not from his own mouth. Lastly, this guy’s insurance premiums go through the roof because insurance agents see how reckless he is. Sure, the odds of all that happening is slim to none, but IF they happen, the courts could argue that the pain and suffering he endured didn’t equal the infraction committed. That opens the site in question to libel issues.

    Soo….this reply is a bit long-winded, but my wife got her masters in communication management with an emphasis on online communities, and she took a few classes that discussed these issues quite thoroughly. But if there are any lawyers out there that can draft a proposal that allows us to post license plates, videos (harder to blur), etc., then let us know!

  17. You are way off the mark if you think native California people can not drive. Overall, people in California drive much better then most other states. I live in North eastern PA now and the drivers here are horrible. People here do not stay in their lanes (or even on their own side of the road. They blow through recently changed red lights (red light cameras would make a fortune here). They do not know how to merge (drive 35 to the end of the merge lane then put on your brakes, stop and wait for a hole in traffic). Do not park between lines anywhere (this is the only place I have seen signs in parking structures that say “please park between the lines”). New York, New Jersey, and most of New England is not much better than here. I was a native Californian who had zero tickets and one chargeable accident in over 35 years and 700,000 miles of driving (80,000 miles of that on a motorcycle). Does that mean I do not speed? Nope, I have driven over 150 MPH on California roads (try living in the Antelope Valley for a while). It means I am aware of what is happening around me when I drive.

  18. Gerry, kudos to your fine driving record! Care to create a spin-off blog where you live now? Let us know :).

  19. Well hello fellow drivers,glad to see a place for people to vent there anger/frustraction we all feel driving in LA.
    I started driving in London,it took almost a year to get my driving license there and one day here-anyone can drive with no training starts out a bad driver.
    I live and drive almost every corner of LA each year for 30 yrs now–i used to love driving at first as a service tech,it was a game avoiding the rush-hour traffic,now its all day and will get worst.
    I decided to change my attitude a few years ago,it got me scared when i got upset and crazy with people-it just builds up if you let it.
    Iam just happy to get home now,it just might help if we all relaxed a bit and thought about our actions first.
    drive safe PD

  20. PD thank you for sharing your thoughts…to add to this, you don’t even know how to speak our country’s language to get a driver’s license! Heck, who needs a license anyway?!

  21. If you think LA city drivers are awful, you should try driving in Antelope Valley (Northern LA county). State Route 138 in Antelope Valley is rated 21st on the worlds most dangerous roads list. I believe the reason for this is mostly due to the lack of law enforcement available here. Lancaster California doesn’t even have city police. We only have 1 sheriff station and a small CHP station. Palmdale only has 1 sheriff station and a very small city police station. Days pass by without seeing law enforcement vehicles on the roads here, especially on the outskirts of these towns. Over 75 percent of the drivers here are uninsured. Last year I decided to include uninsured motorist on my auto insurance because every day for over 2 weeks I had to avoid being hit by careless drivers. I drive a 1988 Toyota and my insurance broker laughed at me when I asked him to include this on my policy.

  22. Hey, this is a reply to Paul, on October 22nd, 2007 at 7:34 pm… Hey f–k y-u, dude!!! (1) the website talks about people living in LA can’t drive… and for the majority of people in LA… they can’t drive (or you can say that they don’t give a f–k about other people) (2) Do you ride a bike to work? mofo, you live in LA or what? There is not enough effective public transportation and/or the distance between the places that most people want to go to, are too far apart. People have to drive… Now, people should carpool whenever possible, yes. Plus, how the f–k do you know that Mike does not a ride a bike to work sometimes!!! (3) Exactly, people living in LA are mostly from different parts of the country… The website talks about this… And you are making assumptions about people’s driving skills based on what??? That they are Mexicans, Asians, New Yorkers, Midwesterners, etc… F–k y-u a–hole!!!

    By away, I was born in Hong Kong SAR, China… Paul, do you want to take in driving test over there??? ‘Cause, it is really, really, really hard to pass the driving test over there… Why don’t you fly yourself over there and pass the driving test there first, and then you can talk about other people driving skills!!!

  23. Hi I found your website a few weeks ago. I moved here from NYC about 4 years ago and I agree with everything you say. My wife is from Orange County, and the first time we were in a car together when she drove, I could not believe what I was experiencing, both in what I saw AND her driving. She had these habits of stopping if she missed a turn as if she were merely walking down the sidewalk, or changing from a turn only lane into the lane she wanted, which is illegal. Fortunately, I’ve managed to convince her how dangerous these moves are.

    I drove a yellow cab in NYC for several years, learned a lot about driving, and got very good at being able to tell what another driver was about to do (which is very useful here). Between then and moving to CA there were quite a number of years with hardly any driving. So when I ended up here, it was pretty stressful at first. I mean, it was just like getting back on a bike, but everyone here was doing things sooo differently (or indifferently) than back east.

    I could go on and on with the war stories, but you get it.

    Sometimes I have to consciously decide nothing I experience on a CA road will bother me that day and I’ll just let everyone do their thing because *clearly* they have much more important things to do than I. I manage score an 8 on the 1-10 peace of mind meter when I do that.

  24. Hi. I stumbled across your site by accident and everything stated here is true.

    To the people quick to jump on the “native Angeleno” bandwagan, this applies to natives and transplants alike. Stop being so sensitive. The road rage thing is true–one of my friends carries a baseball bat in the back seat for protection after she was almost attacked.

    I’ve lived in three cities. Originally, I’m from Baltimore (of course they have crazy drivers there as well–the DC commute crowd are the worst), but lived in Philly and NYC. When I lived in NYC, I thought they were bad but after moving to L.A., L.A. takes the title (I’m sure someone will give me the “native Angeleno” speech for stating this). I say this because as a pedestrian, I’ve never had a fear for my life until I came out here.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gotten hit from an impatient driver or someone just not paying attention. I’m not one of those entitled pedestrians..i.e. when I see someone that wants to turn, I usually hurry up instead of walking like a snail as I’ve seen people do.

    This has happened to me a number of times this week. The walk sign gives me the go ahead and I always look before I cross. Just the other day while I’m already CROSSING–I’m halfway across the street and this turning idiot who must have appeared in my blind side (I didn’t see him when I started crossing) almost hits me. The jerk had the nerve to honk at me.

    Also whenever I walk in front of garage exits of apartment buildings I’m particularly cautious because drivers usually just shoot out without stopping first. I’ve seen people almost get hit, including myelf. Usually, I’ve noticed that the driver is looking in the direction that they want to go instead of looking at their surroundings.

    My friend told me that she and possibly many others, I believe, only look for cars. Sometimes she forgets about pedestrians. I told her that’s not a smart move. As the driver, YOU need to be aware of what’s going on around you. Granted, you’ll have some careless pedestrians as well. As a driver myself, I look out for not only cars, but people also.

    I now understand why people hardly walk in this town. It’s because they value their legs and life like I do.

  25. Mike just a brief note to let you know what a great site you have created. I moved to LA a year ago after having lived and been a heavy drive in CT/NYC/NJ for 25 years. I grew up and learned to drive in Boston. Before I moved to LA I have heard my whole life that drivers in Boston and NY City were the worst in the U.S. – I believed this, that is until I moved here. I have never witnessed more rude, uncourteous and entitled driving in my whole life than in LA. LA the place where you are what you drive. LA the place where I would much rather be car rich and car poor. LA the place where the light turns red and that means that 2 to 3 more cars are allowed to proceed. LA only place where motorcycle drives are allowed to pass you on the left at high speeds inches away from your driver’s door.

    Something needs to be done about this problem. Your website is an excellent start. Why not publish the full license plates of offending cars? Why not let LAPD get access to the list of these offenders? If enough people complain maybe in my lifetime LA will allocate money to do a real crackdown of these offenders and revoke their licenses. Perhaps that will get entitled LA drivers to rethink their aggressive driving habits. Driving is a privilege and never a right. Keep up the great work.

  26. Hi Tony, Thanks for your words of support. The northeast certainly has its share of bad drivers, but the drivers in the Tri-State area tend to be fueled by a more focused aggression. Consequently, they also tend to be more attentive behind the wheel. When you have self-centered, entitled, aggressive yet distracted behavior you see so prevalent in L.A., then what you have is a recipe for disaster.

    As far as license plates go, only a sworn officer can really report the license plate of a law-breaker with any validity. Otherwise, the site could open itself up to libel in the event, say, someone loses a job for an infraction reported on this site. I do treat commercial and municipal vehicles as fair game, though, and I do not blur those license plates. However, until there’s more case law or a pro bono lawyer can make an airtight argument that this is a “newsworthy” site, then we have to keep license plates blurred for now in photo and video submissions.

  27. When you say “LA Can’t Drive” it seems like you’re not taking into account the other side of the equation after reading many postings. What about inconsiderate drivers who intentionally keep people from passing or drive slow in the passing lane without any idea of the traffic they’re holding up? What about poorly timed stop lights!? If I’m at a stop light and the next light down is green where no traffic is and opposing traffic is waiting for a green light that could be green while we’re stopped, giving us a green light by the time we get there, that is a poorly timed light and one of the several reasons traffic is so dense and why you see so many treat them with such disdain. Don’t get me wrong, I am not for running them, but it is something that rarely gets talked about. I agree with many of your opinions. I think you kinda get OCD about every law like turn signals. It is a necessity if you are in heavy traffic or need to let someone else know your move, but otherwise it’s pointless. There are also many stop signs that should be yield signs, but because of jackass drivers that would never happen because they would just abuse them. And what about rubberneckers slowing down traffic to look at an accident on the other side of the highway? The freeway system would be much better around LA were it not for activists who fought planners decades ago and subsequently set the ground for higher levels of pollution, stress and neighborhood disparity by concentrating the traffic on certain parts of the city rather than having a broad outlay, which would have had a lesser overal impact. But, until they perfect teleportation or we switch over to little pods that travel along magnets imbedded in the ground I guess we’ll have to make do.

  28. Chris, oblivious drivers or those who stubbornly drive slowly in the passing lane are discussed in great detail in many posts on this blog. Feel free to search or filter through the tag cloud. Not as widely discussed, but perfectly valid, is poor city planning. I completely agree that traffic lights are poorly timed or poorly placed all around Los Angeles. There is also a serious dearth of left turn arrows. As for signaling, it’s the law, plain and simple…nothing OCD about it at all. And each time I bring it up on this blog, it is coupled with a litany of other bad driving habits. Aside from one of my first 10 posts (back in 2006), I never featured a driver simply for not signaling. As I discussed with Marc Germain a few years back on Progressive Talk, I would end up having 100 posts a day (and they would quite frankly be boring). You bring up a great point about stop signs, but a solution around this would be creating rotaries, like the ones we see on Santa Monica…26th St. comes to mind. Plenty of studies have shown that rotaries work in reducing traffic congestion. Lastly, regarding the freeways, lookie loos annoy the hell out of me, but that’s the case in any city nationwide. Nothing L.A. specific about that, other than maybe how those accidents occurred in the first place. Personally, I don’t think bigger highways are the answer. We just end up filling the lanes with more cars. What we need to do is revive the public transportation sector…create more light rail, buses, and subway lines. A PSA campaign to remove the stigma many here have of public transportation would do wonders. If public transportation was more convenient, I guarantee we would see a decrease in our gridlock.

  29. For a progressive, this site is pretty entertaining (although your 2012 voter’s guide probably sheds light on your knee-jerk aversion to luxury car owners).

    Driving in San Diego, where I live, is more peaceful than driving in L.A., but I’ve had my share of close calls. Once I was merging from I-5 South to Clairemont Drive. I had plenty of space in the lane to my right, except for the jerk behind me who was also merging right. And then in front of me. And then back in lane I was originally in. Completely illogical and aggressive. If I drove an older car, I would have nicked him on purpose. That would probably make me a six-star asshole, too.

    Then today, a motorcycle tried to pass one of my co-workers immediately before she made a right turn into our company parking lot. Predictably, they collided. The legality of the accident is vague; the motorcyclist claims right of way via lane splitting (and my co-worker may not have used her turn signal), but legal or not, it’s not bright for motorcycles to pass someone on the right on a two-lane road in a business district.

    That’s my rant. Keep adding to the blog, Buddy!

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