Bad driving isn't endemic to a specific location, but there's no arguing that poor drivers tend to congregate on the coasts. This selection of ten horrible Los Angeles drivers comes courtesy of Mike at L.A. Can't Drive. —Ed.
Everyone hates bad drivers, right? We asked the man behind one of L.A.'s most infamous traffic blogs to share some of his better stories with us. Warning: This is a toned-down version of what is normally published on L.A. Can't Drive. The unfiltered text can be a little angry ("City of Angels, my ass — more like a city of selfish, smog-munching hemhorroids (sic)"), and while it's often entertaining, it's not for everyone. It also contains something called the Asshole Meter, which features a Volkswagen Bus. Don't ask.
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Photo Credit: Brian Weed/Shutterstock
1. Tool With Headphones Nearly Runs Down Entire Family
It's been awhile since I've seen a Chevy Prizm on the streets. I hope most of the current owners of this once-popular sedan are better drivers than this scruffy dirtbag in his 40s with an unkempt beard and mustache cruising around Burbank. I was sitting behind him at the intersection of Victory and Magnolia. He was slowly creeping into the intersection in an attempt to gauge when it was safe to make a right turn onto Magnolia. No problem there — we all do that. However, he must have been so impatient and frustrated that, when his light turned green, he executed his right turn directly in front of a young couple and their stroller-bound toddler. Whatever happened to yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks? Paying attention to road conditions clearly isn't this guy's forte; at another red light, I noticed that he was wearing earbud headphones in both ears.
2. Morons (There Are Many) Repeatedly Tailgating and Speeding in Heavy Rain
This photos were taken on the I-5 North near El Toro in Orange County in January. The gold Buick — and most of traffic — was easily going 70 mph in heavy rain. They should've been satisfied with the fact that there weren't any accidents and that cars were moving along at a nice, steady pace. Still, old habits die hard, and these tailgating, speeding, weaving jackasses apparently believe that conditions don't matter. Even if they didn't care about the well-being of other commuters, these ignoramuses are too dense to realize that they're putting their own lives in danger. And for what? For the insatiable need to pass other cars on the freeway at all costs?
3. The Senseless, Tailgating Semi
This semi that belongs to C&J Trucking had an out-of-state license plate. Since truckers often cross state lines, and this one was driving like an illogical prick on a California freeway, I thought he was fair game. I'm sure many of you heard of motorists "drafting" behind tractor-trailers on the freeway, a dangerous way of increasing your fuel economy by traveling in a big rig's slipstream. But how about the other way around? This trucker was hanging out six to ten feet behind the van in this photo on the 405 Fwy North at around 65 to 70 MPH. Commercial drivers tend to be some of the most skilled, safe, and considerate drivers on the road, especially if you take into account the number of miles they travel annually. Too bad you have a handful of bad apples like this guy.
4. Aggressive, Bullheaded Drivers Come In Threes
This silver Lexus ES350 was one of three — three — cars that flat-out ignored the right-turn-only lane at Barham and Forest Lawn. This guy, along with an out-of-towner and a native in an old red pickup truck, selfishly refused to wait in evening rush-hour traffic, skipping over cars by using the empty right-turn-only lane (which takes you to Universal City) as a passing lane. As the traffic light turned green, all three drivers jammed the accelerator and cut over without signaling. How often do you have what appears to be a native Angeleno, a recent transplant, and an out-of-towner pulling the same dumb stunt at the same intersection within seconds of each other? And what did this particular driver actually achieve by breaking the law? The answer appears to be "nothing," as we were able to eventually pull alongside and pass the guy soon after. I guess this town has a tendency to both breed and attract a certain type of thickheaded individual.
5. Rampant Handicapped Placard Abuse
This one was submitted in January. Could this person truly be disabled? Could this person be taking grandma, who happens to have a handicap placard, to Home Depot to pick out some supplies for home repairs? Either one is possible, but that doesn't mean that they're equally likely.
This sort of thing happens a lot in L.A. If you're guilty of this, ask yourself if walking a few extra feet to the door of the supermarket is going to kill you. Who knows — you might actually enjoy the exercise, not just, you know, pretend to enjoy it in time-honored L.A. fashion.
6. Light Drive, Aggressive Drivers
For Christmas last year, a family friend gave us a year's membership to the Santa Barbara Zoo. We took advantage of it early in January and hopped on the 101. We were making great time and didn't hit a single spot of sticky traffic, but we still came across people who felt like they needed to move faster than the 85-mph flow. The bushy-haired bozo in this Chevy Silverado fit this bill to a tee. We couldn't help but notice his incessant huffing and puffing as he changed lanes back and forth without signaling, arbitrarily tailgating whoever was in front of him. On one occasion, I noticed that he saw us casually pass him and recognized us as a car that he had purposely tailgated and passed a couple of miles earlier (he turned his head and did a double take). This pissed him off so much that he jammed on the accelerator and nearly rear-ended the car that was in front of him. Nice move, jughead.
This dude wasn't the sole bad apple on this drive. We saw quite a few native or long-time Southern California drivers (license plates starting with a 3 and 4) pulling these same stunts. Though they all had differing levels of aggression, the one thing they had in common was that they never signaled. Oh, and to the pencil-necked tool in the white Prius who nearly shaved off our bumper while we were going south on the 101 (in L.A. County) to return home, rest assured that no one is fooled into thinking that you actually care about the environment. And based on the way you were driving on the freeway, you're not exactly saving money on gas, either.
7. Beware of Aggressive, Young, Straight-Haired, Brunette Posse
For the past week, I've been encountering extremely aggressive brunette drivers in their 20s. Oddly, each girl I can remember has straight, shoulder-length hair. The thin, long-faced, sunglass-wearing brunette in this Toyota Corolla was no exception. And what did she want the other driver to do here? Move over onto the shoulder and let her pass? At one point, our cars were next to each other, and I looked over to see what she was all about. What did I see? She was texting, staring at her phone, when the driver in front of her began to brake. In the short amount of time I spent on the 101 that day, she nearly rear-ended half of the county. Thankfully, she exited at Van Nuys, though she was so impatient to do so that the driver in front of her actually looked like he was towing her off the freeway.
8. Crossing Directly in Front of a Fire Truck With Her Kids
Here's the question of the week: What are you supposed to do when you hear the sirens and horns of emergency vehicles? The answer is to pull over as close to the curb as possible and stop. If you're a pedestrian, you absolutely should not run across the street with a big stupid grin on your face, frantically gesturing your kids to hurry up and cross directly in front of a fire truck.
All the other parents and adult escorts correctly stopped at the corner to wait for the fire truck to pass, and all the cars were stopped on the road. However, this mom was looking at the blinking Do Not Walk sign and thought the best idea was to rush her children across the street while everyone else stopped in their tracks. Needless to say, the fire truck was forced to slow up even more while it was in the intersection — the driver deliberately honked at the mom, and the firemen gawked at the selfish stupidity on display.
9. Stopping on the Freeway
This photo, along with one just like it that focused on another driver, was taken on the 101 near the 405 interchange. Make no mistake: The delivery truck is stopped dead in its tracks in the through lane that continues north. Those fat dotted white lines that indicate that a lane is about to end (and in this case a freeway interchange) are on the road for a good quarter of a mile before the solid white line (and eventual concrete median) you see in both photos. Furthermore, these guys had plenty of time to merge safely at an earlier point.
I don't buy the argument that they just got lost. What, the numerous signs you passed miles before this juncture wasn't enough?
10. It is Illegal to Wear Headphones While Driving, People
Here's a submission I got the other day regarding headphones:
"I have to ask, have you seen any drivers wearing earbuds/earphones while on the road? I was at a stoplight at Fair Oaks Ave/Huntington Drive in South Pasadena when I took this picture of my rear-view mirror. It shows the driver behind me singing and bopping behind the wheel (apologies for the poor quality photograph). The photo doesn't show it, but the driver behind me was wearing earbuds - I could clearly see two white wires leading up to her ears."
Yes, it is illegal in California — and most states in the union — for anyone operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle to wear a headset or earplugs in both ears. (California v.c. 27400) People operating emergency vehicles, the hearing impaired, and certain construction and maintenance personnel are exempt. Given that this person was dancing behind the wheel with headphones in her ears, I doubt she was hearing impaired.