"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to Drive in the Rain in LA


Ha Ha! Okay, sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes you have to drive from the valley to Santa Monica at 3:30 in the rain. You can pretty much guess that this commute in dry weather takes about an hour and 20 minutes now, due to the road work on Sepulveda (why do I keep taking Sepulveda?!), but if it is raining, seriously, estimate another hour into your drive time.

I know, I know, but there's something Angelenos love to yell at one another while driving in the rain:

"It's Just WATER!!!"

To these distinguished gentlemen with their fingers extended, I would like to say, "Yes it is just water. Under a layer of oil."

When it rains in LA, you can be pretty sure that it is after several weeks of sunshine and possibly a wonderful heatwave of 80 degree temps in January.

The oils in the freeway are from cars slowly dripping them, and there are a lot of cars on the freeways at all times.

Fresh rainwater mixed with oil on the freeways make it very dangerous. It's not just water, dear sir, it's automobile salad dressing!

So if you're driving on the 101 in the rain, and you're at that part near Hollywood where the speed limit drops down to 55, really actually drive that slow, okay?

And when you're on side streets, and it's raining, and there are pedestrians waiting to cross, give em a break and let them pass. Like, if you're at the Target parking lot, even, these poor people are getting wet wile you're in your car, dry, with the heat turned on. Do em a solid and let them get to the store and their cars quickly.

Also, use your horn less. Your horn is loud. Really loud. And pedestrians, who are already wet and cold and irritated, have to listen to the eardrum busting blast. It's maddening. So if you can give the guy in front of you a full THREE SECONDS to look up and notice that the light is green (as opposed to the point three seconds we seem to give our fellow drivers) everyone will be happier. It's just nice.

If your car is not compact, do not park in a compact spot.

And remember, they are called blind spots for a reason. If someone changed lanes and cut you off, do not go ballistic on them. They probably honestly did not see you. They're not called on-purposes; they're called accidents. Try not to drive in anyone's blind spot. And if someone does something completely stupid, try to let it go. I know it's hard but retaliation is dangerous, no matter how awesome it may feel while you're doing it.

Don't tailgate. And if someone is tailgating you and you can move into another lane, do it. Douchnozzles also carry driver's licenses, no matter how unfair. If you can't get into another lane, you can do what I do (and it's rather effective!): I take my foot off the brake very slowly, so I'm slowing down a pinch, and I put my hazard lights on. That makes Douchnozzle believe something is wrong with my car, so he'll get into another lane to avoid being behind me.  Try it!

We have this entitlement in LA, where we believe if we are in a lane, that lane is now ours and no one else's! I spoke to a friend who learned how to drive in LA as a 15 year old, and her instructor told her to not even put on her blinkers until she was halfway through the lane already because otherwise, people will speed up to keep you from having a safe amount of distance to change lanes.
So, give people a break. Let them come into your lane. It's okay. Sharing is caring.

Be safe out there. Be friendly, be cautious, be awesome.